I got hit by an unknown man on the street a few of days ago.
My mistake- Sheer existence of female parts. And a penchant for righteousness, fueled by adrenalin.
It was around 12am and my friends had stopped the car by the road (Indiranagar 100ft Rd. Bangalore) to go to a store. I was with four other girls and three boys between two cars, all of whom were sitting inside.
I was walking back to the car with a guy friend by my right side, while i walked on the extreme side. That is when i felt this hand feel me up from behind. It took me a moment to register the act when i saw the goon cross me by casually, walking beside another guy.
I was in shocked rage, After all the recent incidents, protests and constant wave of feminist activity on social media, i didn’t understand the gall of this man to take that liberty to to touch me, while i was walking with my friend!
On instinct, i ran up to the guy, flung him around from the shoulder and slapped him straight across the face.. but sadly i didn’t anticipate his next move. He swung around and punched my ear. A deafening sound, legs kicking and arms swirling.. i just lashed out, all taking place in seconds. By then another guy (a friends friend) saw this man hitting me and ran in to intervene. The goon took flight at that moment, and man did he run. two guys followed him down the long street but lost him. The man had scooted and i was left with a bleeding ear.
My friends were in as much shock as i was; especially my guy friends, who aren’t really exposed to this first hand. Rape and harassment is as much of a tale to most men as the plight of the unfortunate souls in Gaza. Most would talk of world news and incidents like midday gossip. But what happens with just small talk and strikes. Is it really helping us? Or is it fueling the cowardice inside us because NOW we KNOW of the existence of the dark side? I have many educated girlfriends who are still terrified of travelling by cabs and have altogether changed their lifestyle to not stay out late or travel alone. Is this right? I agree that caution and awareness is necessary but what the media is doing is essentially hyping situations that keep people all the more scared. These are not solutions to the problem. Its feeding it like how water helps combust large fires instead of putting it out.
How do I make it stop? No matter how I don my tomboy look, I get treated like a sex slave or a street dog. As you’ve surely witnessed, females encounter a barrage of catcalls, wolf whistles, creepy whispers, sleazy gestures, prolonged stares, and the occasional penis pull-out. Harassment makes me feel hurt and powerless. It makes me want to do all kinds of non-sexual, violent things. How inconspicuous can i make myself? I am and will be, at the end of the day, a woman trying to make it in the world just as much as the other men are. And NOTHING can change that.
I am tired of people telling me to:
-not be conspicuous
-not wear attractive clothes
-not attract attention in public
-not walk on the street
-not take a cab
-not take an auto
-surround myself with bodyguards
-not stay out at night
-not drive at night unless i have a convoy
-not agitate or take things in my own hands
-let a man handle it
Well, basically give up on life, self respect and freedom. All i hear are the different ways to encourage weakness and dependencies in women, Because how many people are actually fighting back? Empowering themselves or teaching men (even the educated ones) on how to respect women, instead of pointing out the flaws and mistakes of being a woman? Why should we take more precaution than men when we have the same rights over our freedom?
Many would go on to question why i hit the man in the first place, that i wouldn’t have been hit if i didn’t hit him first and how i should let a man friend handle it. They don’t understand the depth of the problem. If i hadn’t acted myself that day, this passive reaction would’ve boosted the goons confidence and he would’ve moved on to worse acts than pinching and feeling. I can guarantee that after the slap from me, he would definitely resist and think twice. I had deterred him and perhaps saved another innocent soul.
Since we all know it’s about power and not about seduction (as no one I know has ever been compelled to fuck anyone who verbally assaults them, unless you have S&M tendencies), we must unite together to push back this cowardly display of “power.” We must speak up when they yell. Encourage our female friends, lovers, mothers, and others not to be silent, humiliated recipients to this bizarre, manipulative bullying. Men harass only as a display of power over the inferiority of a women, which he is made to believe by improper upbringing (and even more so with these useless protests and strikes) Act and do something when faced with it, because we aren’t victims. This is not an earthquake or a flood. Its something we can help.
Call me stubborn or call me brave- i am not sitting on the sidelines, being scared of what is essentially a silent war between the sexes. It is no different than the war going on between countries all over the world. If this means that i have to put on an armor and carry a shied, then i would step out suited up, like a Xena warrior princess or Goddesss Durga. you see, we are essentially being forced into being women soldiers. reduced to behave like warriors and treat each day like a battlefield. But if this is what it takes, then i am ready for war. Because im ready to fight my own battles and not be scared. I am not going to compromise on my freedom.
Women, suit up.