Friday, March 10, 2006

A Voluntary Donation to a Good Cause

I would have liked to be a part of the Blank Noise Project. Harrassment is something we often talk about, me and the whatever women happen to be around me. And it's always the same sad story.

What's the worst ever happened to me? In terms of extreme behaviour I've come across far worse, but the incident I reacted to the most strongly was perhaps something that happened near the end of my first year of graduation. I was living by myself for the first time and thinking I wasn't coping too badly, when one evening while returning from the Uni I was molested in the crowded bus. I was standing near the gate, waiting for my stop to arrive when I felt a hand over my breast; it moved lightly and then withdrew. I was so shocked (though I was no shrinking virgin at that age) that I could barely stand, far less speak. I remember silently starting to cry and then stumbling back to the place where I was staying in a daze. My mother, calling up a little later to ask how I was doing, found me unable to talk.

They moved me to my aunt's place, in another, quieter part of town and after a while, I was able to relax in buses.

Any woman would know that what happened was not only nothing very unusual, nor was it anything big enough to react so strongly to. And I would agree. But the fact remains it was the first time in my life I had been molested and the shock of such a thing actually happening to me made me hate my body for a while. I wasn't comfortable being even held by my boyfriend.

And there are so many women who go through so much worse. I should know, I've helped many of my friends through it. The thing is, till we band together, mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and cousins and aunts and uncles and friends, and stand up to these people who misbehave in public, they will get away with it. Think of it the next time you watch a woman being molested in front of you and are waiting for her to say something because it's none of your business -- that same man will be at it when your little sister is sitting in that seat. He will only get bolder by the time your daughter gets into that seat. And the day will very likely come when he will try to shove his crotch into your terrified young son's face. You could have taught him a lesson much earlier in his perverted career.

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