I did a stupid thing today. I made the mistake of thinking that I’m brave enough to watch the Guwahati molestation video that’s up on Youtube.
I’m sure you’ve noticed this, or maybe not- I’ve never really written about any such ‘sensitive’ issues on my blog. Main reason being, I’ve always felt, if I can’t do anything about it, I probably shouldn’t rant about it and blame others for not finding a solution. But also because, with time, I’ve become one of those who thinks “If it hasn’t happened to me, it’s none of my business. Such kind of things only happen to others”. Sad. Shameful. I know.
The other day, I was returning home from work. It was pretty late, around 9:30. The road connecting the railway station (I travel by the local train) to the main road- from where I have to take an auto to my colony- was poorly lit. Or rather, no street-light at all. The only light was from a few shops on the sidewalk. So I’m walking to the main road. It’s a familiar road, I walk it every day. So the lack of light doesn’t scare me. I’m not the only one walking anyway. These two guys come from the opposite direction on a bike, flash their headlights bright at me for a few seconds, yell ‘I love you’, and drive away.
Surely, I should have been flattered that a guy said ‘I love you’ to me, right? I mean, isn’t that what every girl wants to hear from a guy? Those three words. Right? Wrong. We want to hear it from somebody who knows us, gets us, and actually loves us. Not from somebody who only saw me for two seconds in the dark and said it only because I’m a girl and have boobs. Sorry, I’m not so easily flattered. Na-ah.
How is this connected in any way to the Guwahati molestation, you wonder? It’s not, really. What happened to me is nowhere close in magnitude to what that girl was subjected to. I’ve been commented on and stared at before too, not the first time. And I’ve learnt to turn a deaf ear to it and walk on. Maybe that’s the mistake most of us girls make. Ignore. Pretend that it didn’t happen. Pretend that some random bastard’s dirty hands didn’t graze your boobs and ass. Pretend that you don’t feel dirty and violated at being commented on.
But the basis of both these incidents are the same, right? That some men think they have the right to comment on and letch at and touch a girl without her permission. That they have the right to have sex with her just because she has a vagina, be it of a six-year-old girl or a 25-year-old woman. That rape is their way of establishing the power equation. That if a girl wears a short skirt and strapless top, it means she wants to be raped. Believe me, dear men, no woman WANTS to be raped. Do you have any idea how much it hurts? And I mean physically.
Let me get one thing very straight here. I’m not doing any male-bashing. I know plenty of men who are good, kind-hearted people with whom I’ve gone out late at night and have felt perfectly safe with. I have more male friends than female friends, and they have all been perfect gentlemen with me. They’ve taken really good care of the women with them and made sure that they’re deposited back home safely. I have oodles of respect for these men and have absolute faith that they will never rape a woman ever. So this is NOT about ALL men.
So who ARE these men, who rape and molest? Are they wired differently? Is their genetic engineering different? Were they born that way? Is it hereditary, this tendency to rape? Were they given lessons as children, how to rape? Do they set out every morning, in search of potential victims? Are they proud of what they do? Is rape the only way they enjoy sex?
Really, who ARE they?
To say that the video really disturbed me is an understatement. That could’ve been anyone. That could’ve been me, you, your friend, your sister. The next time I walk on that dark road, I’ll be cautious (which is good) till I reach the main road. Because it doesn’t always happen to just others. It can happen to me too. And there’s no way I can avoid it. Unless I decide to quit my job and sit at home. Or find a job that’ll have me home before it’s dark.
But I don’t think any of that will matter. Because for a rapist, none of that matters. Not the clothes, not the time of the day, not the age of the girl, not even whether the girl is pretty or not. All that matters is that he has a hard-on and he has to do something about it. All that matters is that the girl’s screams and struggling give him a high. Isn’t that what it’s all about? The feeling of power.
And it's not just the women who get raped. Men get molested too. Mostly BY men. And it's an equally gruesome thing.
If the moral police say that wearing ‘proper’ clothes is the most effective way to prevent rape, then isn’t castration an equally effective measure or justifiable punishment? And if clothes are what provoked the rape, then what was the provocation to rape a six-year-old? Her frock was too short and skimpy, is it?
What can be done about this? Is there anything that we can do, other than writing blog posts expressing our outrage and putting up FB status updates? Is there any solution to this?
I sure hope there is… because I don’t want to live in constant fear of being groped by strange filthy men...