i realised i am lucky.
this isn't something that just sprang up and hit me. this is something i realised piece by piece over many years.
i am lucky...
...because i have a father who instilled in me values such as self-respect, determination and integrity. not fear or shame.
some fathers are the reason their daughters can never look a man in the eye.
...because i have a mother who taught her daughter that her body was not something to be embarassed of.
some mothers have no choice.
...because i have a small but close-knit extended family. because i have a brother and male cousins who wouldn't let anyone harm a hair on my head, and yet were cool enough to always allow me to join in on whatever crazy adventure they had planned. because i have an uncle who would do anything for me if i only ask.
some cousins and uncles will do to you whatever they want. no amount of asking, pleading or crying will make them stop.
...because i lived close enough to school and college for my parents to drop me off almost every day that i lived with them. because we could afford a car of our own that inadvertantly served as my armor against the world outside.
many girls have to wage a constant losing battle against the multitude of hands coming at them from every side while they try to balance in a crowded bus.
...because i have spent my adult years in a country where i don't get gawked at and groped by every man i meet, if i choose to step out of the house in a short skirt.
not everyone has the resources to leave.
but in spite of all this; in spite of every possible safeguard against it, i have faced harassment. nothing can save you. nothing. then why do i feel lucky?
...because unlike jyotsna, i wasn't dragged to a police station by the very men i had dared to lodge a complaint against, where the policemen calmly watched as i rescinded my complaint.
...because unlike kamini, i wasn't molested at gunpoint in a public place in the middle of the afternoon in one of the largest cities in the world.
...because unlike priyanka, my boyfriend never spent a month in traction for trying to stand up to men who were groping me in a deserted bus.
...because unlike devi, i wasn't held down and violated, while i screamed for my boyfriend to stay back or they would kill me.
...because unlike the hundreds of women like them, and more, i don't have to face ritual public humiliation every moment of every waking day.
...because my experiences pale in comparison to those of the other, braver women who are participating in this blogathon.
it shouldn't be this way.
i should be able to feel angry at evey single lewd remark, at every single unwanted wolf whistle, at every single man who tried to strip me with his eyes.
i shouldn't have to hear people tell me to relax. tell me i'm overreacting, that these things happen, and that i need to get real.
i have no experiences to talk about that would shock you into silence. maybe you have been desensitized. the fault is not mine. in a perfect world, you would share my outrage.
until then, i will keep reminding myself how lucky i am.please go and look at the main page of the blank noise project. please take note. if they can make you feel outraged, then they have been successful.
ps: all names have been changed. everything else is true.