I with my younger brother was walking across the service lane of District Centre Janakpuri to reach the Parking area, while we were discussing about the growing rape incidences in the capital and the fearless behavior of such callous people around. He was telling how one of his friends’ friend escaped from an attack on the main road of Laxmi Nagar amidst the passersby when an Omni tried to grab her suddenly, she just pushed the man and jerked herself towards the divider. The famous capital is today a place where you never know when you are the victim of this heinous crime while you are talking about it. I suddenly realized, I am actually walking closer to the main road when I pushed myself inside, if in case any such incidence happens. I am fear-stricken today and so do many women in the capital or in other cities are. Can you dare to experience the fear? Ah men!
“The attacker was released after serving a 7-year jail term” is the only sentence that boggles me today. The man behind the brutal physical & sexual assault of KEM Staff Nurse Aruna Shanbaug was accused of robbery and attempt to murder but not rape. Sohanlal Valmiki, convicted for attempted murder, imprisoned for 7 years, released and is a disappeared figure now. Might be dead or alive, but made a life to get imprisoned in uncountable trauma and sufferings since 42 years. She faces a conventional death today but was dead years before when, in 1973, she was being strangled with a dog chain and sodomized because she was menstruating and was left to die in the hospital basement. The crime that followed many controversies, collected many news till today and became the sole mother of the birth of euthanasia in India amidst the miscarriage of “her” faith, is still perverting the minds and bodies of many women.
Aruna is free today of all those miseries, sufferings, pain and trauma; but I can see the psychological fear and trauma of the word- “rape” in every women. The fear of getting raped or physically abused starts beating beneath the breast when I am out into the world. Here is my routine fear (Me, the Woman) in my city when every day I read all those headlines stuffed with the varieties of female molestation and dare to discuss (sometimes forced too) among my friends and colleagues:
I usually avoid going in a crowd, even if I am getting late. I know how my boss/senior reacts when I am late. If in any case I struggle to find a place amidst lots of men, I have to insulate myself with my bag in front of my breast and also have to assure if anyone is not pushing me from back by repeatedly looking behind. Sometimes I toppled too. I protested, I cried, I screamed and even slapped people who tried to grope me. Nobody came to protect me or favored me in the public when I was teased. I hated myself when somebody pressed my waist or my breast and just disappeared. I wanted to scratch my face when a guy kissed me in a moving auto. I can see and feel the savagely hunger in the eyes of those uncles who protest by saying- “you are like my child dear”. Damn! Their wicked elbows are still giving me the pain of such wickedness. And I stopped respecting elders; so what if he is like my father.
I fear- to sleep in the metro, train or a bus. I have heard about the incidences when the girls are raped in a moving bus and train and are being thrown out of it. I do not dare to go for late night movies with my boy-friend, not even with my husband (so what if I am legally married to him). I may be raped even in front of him. I fear- when I am in an auto or a cab, late at night. I doubt when I am returning home with my brother at night, will be reached safely or not. If we are attacked!!!
I can see all those husbands and brothers in public, protecting their wives and sisters respectively, while peeping into the cleavage of other women sitting or standing next to them. I see the worst cunning gesture a man can make to me by carefully saving himself from the eyes of their wife or girl-friend. I wanted to tell her how the man standing next to you is cheating on you. But then, I can see her holding his hand with confidence and love. I fear, if my men around me are the same. I think twice, thrice before wearing any dress if I am disobeying the rules of patriarchy- to dress well so I may not attract any men and if being raped or groped will myself be the responsible. I feared to tell the truth of any eve-teasing incidence at home. I know, only I will be blamed and will be prohibited to go outside and meet my friends, especially my male friends. I had to keep mum even when I was physically humiliated and groped by a known uncle when I was a teenager. I knew, no one would believe. I suffered that humiliation quietly, I cried but secretly. I still remember the panic when I first encountered the disgusting erection on my bottom in a bus.
I hated that man who said he loved me immensely and will kill himself if I will not accept his love. I never loved him, but have heard of acid attacks. I did not want to get my face ruined of those dreadful chemicals and I accepted. I also feared of proving my virginity on the marriage night (if in case, I fail) as it is only he who can demand for it but hardly bothers to prove his own virginity and loyalty towards me. Even if I used to be a “superwoman” somewhere in my group or in the home, I fear not to convulse with people, especially men in public or at workplace. I don’t know if I will be attacked or being victimized for revenge and have to keep mum, sacrifice my ego, sometimes suffer from things around just to save my modesty.
I am not living in this society. Factually, I am saving myself every day from daily harassments. I pity on me if I am safe today but am uncertain about tomorrow. I love riding bike late at night, hanging out with friends and walk freely in an open road. But I cannot do so, I am panicked, I am terribly scared.