Friday, November 29, 2013


The more I read about it, the more I admire and respect the young girl's courage and grit. It takes a lot to stand up to someone powerful, someone you have known, someone you trust. As an aftermath of this incident, many more cases are coming out, most of them talk about harassment at work and at home, by men who are known and trusted by the victim.

While I do think its unfortunate that the misdoings of some men end up maligning all of them, I would have to admit that women no longer have an option, they don't know who to trust, especially when the trusted ends up being the perpetrator.

As a young girl, I was always told to watch out as was every other girl around me. We had to be careful while travelling, while at school and college, while going out, while staying over at a friend's but rarely were we advised to watch out for people we knew -- family, extended family, family friends, teachers, doctors.

Until some years ago, I would never talked about being harassed or violated, for some reason I always saw it as my own shortcoming. Today however, I am not ashamed to admit that I too have, on numerous occasions, been subjected to some or the other kind of sexual advance -- a touch, a brush, remarks and gestures, occasional groping -- the list is endless. And almost always it has been someone I knew, in places I was supposed to be safest. Fortunately, I never had to face it at work, strange, since for ten years I worked in one of the most infamous industries, travelled alone late at night and spent time with unknown people.

I have known of women from so called respectable families going through sexual assaults all their lives by someone as close as their father. I have known of girls being frightened of their uncles and cousins, I have known of women being touched and felt up by their teachers and doctors. But, I have not known women who have come out and talked about it -- I have not known any women who has confronted the man, I have known no woman who confided in her parents or teachers.  

As a young girl neither did I nor those around me reported any such violation, for a long time we did not even know if it was a violation, all we knew is: it felt wrong. We would talk among ourselves and find solace in the fact that everyone went through it, slowly it became a part of our system as did pretending to be normal after any such incident. Confronting was always more difficult.

But things have changed since. While earlier such incidents were not as grave and frequent, today, the danger to our children and our women is much greater. Sexual advances are no longer limited to a touch or a brush, they have transformed into full fledged assaults and rapes. The society is degenerating at every level and even toddlers are not spared.

In such a scenario it is only fair that we trust no one, for we never know how soon it will be breached.

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