Posted on Jan 02, 2013 by Sonali Chhabra, Taakjhaak Editorial

She was a student par excellence, the life of the house, pride of her parents and all she ever dreamt of is to make a fortune for her and yes, the right to live a dignified life. Alas, her dreams fell apart like a house of cards! Nobody knew her name, although, the unfortunate and the ill-starred course of events and her indomitable spirit to fight all odds pronounced her as the Delhi’s BRAVEHEART!

As I read the morning newspapers and browse the news channels, suddenly, I am constantly reminded of the fact that being a girl, I need to be more watchful and on my guard all the time. “Start carrying a pepper spray”, so says my mother and my dad’s heart just sinks whenever I am late from work – even if that means by just 5 minutes! And, I was thinking to myself that even if I start carrying that pepper spray or be home on time…am I still safe?

Gang Rape India ProtestsThis fear is not irrational. It is the result of a series of instances where young girls, women and even minors have been victimised to the savage crime of rape. Many a times, or should I say almost every day, girls have been at the receiving end of the men’s unsolicited behaviour, be it the inappropriate staring, groping, whistling or the lewd comments belittling the dignity of a woman in public. Flash mobs and candle marches have been done in the past too. But, a muted New Year celebration across the country, the incessant cry for justice and a mass condemnation for such acts is only reflection of the fact that there is zero tolerance and a dire need for a wave of change to set in.

Every day when I step out of the house, I want the right to be able to walk without the fear of getting raped or even molested (people in power do not even consider it as a ‘crime’) by some roadside romeos. Even an inappropriate stare is unacceptable to me. I refuse to be demeaned as a sex object or a ‘pleasure-to-the-ugly-eye’. What I wear, where do I go and with whom, whether I booze or not; it is nobody’s business and definitely not an excuse to lay your hands on me! For all the men out there, if you see us as your meat for the day… you better be caged in your homes. Because, that’s what we do when animals go all berserk.

a prayer for a Change, no rape in 2013I don’t know if there will be any revolutionary change to ensure safety for women, though I hope for a change in the mindset. A short dress is not a “YES”; it’s not an invitation! I am neither going to stop living my life the way I do nor I will give in to the society’s version of “ideal” lifestyle for women (by that they mean stay indoors and stop giving a chance to the men to resort to such acts).

Instead of telling your daughters to come home early, tell your sons to behave. I refuse to be a ‘victim’ of their brutality and horrendous acts. And, I certainly refuse to pay for their actions. I have a right to my dignity and I am not allowing anyone to take that away from me.


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Sonali Chhabra

About Sonali Chhabra, Taakjhaak Editorial

If A Girl At The Coffee Table were to be summed up into two words, it would by all accounts be 'Sonali Chhabra'. She is the naturally bubbly and happy-go-lucky girl you fall madly in love with for being just her. She is a master of Public Relations by profession, a writer by passion and a sweet tooth by confession. At age sixteen, she decided she would skip the corporate rat-race and work only for chocolates. Since then, a lot has changed - she now also accepts cake. After Sonali earned her Master's in Mass-Media Communication from Panjab University, she worked as a content writer and a guest blogger specialising in health, wellness and relationships - a holistic approach to helping all the lost souls of the universe. Though she'll forever be a girl from Kanpur at heart, she now lives in Chandigarh, the city beautiful with a feel good circle of friends and the endless memories attached to them all. When she's not out promoting or writing, you can find her at one of her favorite cafes, watching people, as only A Girl at the Coffee Table would.

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