I laughed at the word ‘balatkar’ when I was watching the movies ‘3 idiots’. I can’t be blamed; I was a nine-year-old child and had no idea that the word I was laughing at holds a consequential meaning. And like every other nine-year-old child I was curious to know what the word means. So, I asked my mom and she replied that I would understand the meaning when time comes. The time came after four years.
I got to know the meaning from news, friends and eventually my mom also gave me a brief introduction to the word rape. Along with the introduction she advised me to be safe, not to get too close with my ‘boy-friends’ and to take care while wearing shorts or singlet dresses. After that I rarely wore those dresses because the society found it unsafe.
It took me two more years to realise that you don’t need naked legs or cleavage to be harassed or abused. If you are a girl, that’s enough for you to be targeted. There also came a day when I was done with being touched in crowded bus, papers that were thrown at me by trucks drivers, and whistling and comments that were directed towards me. What else can a sixteen-year-old girl do other than to be silent when she was yelled at even after her explaining how uncomfortable she was and wanted to take some actions. If you shout back, they might come after you and do worse, society said.
My mom and dad are supportive. Be strong, do what you want, wear what you desire, speak freely and fight back, they say. I try, really hard, to stand up to their sayings but somewhere within me there is fear. Fear of what society might think of me, where my life will lead me, if I take some actions. These fears also make me ponder on a question, a question that makes me tremble from time to time; ‘what will I do if I become the victim?’
When this question came in my mind for the very first time, I, without hesitating even for a second, answered that I will stand and fight for myself. This decision remained constant for quite a time, but after contemplating for days my decision started to quiver and society played a major role in this. Let’s suppose I get justice but what about the aftermath? My parents will support me but what about the society? They might smile in front of me but what about the whispers in corridors which will blame me and mock me with thousands of names? I might live with all of those, my head held high but what will I do when my age turns 30 and along with supportive smiles, I see fear and worry in my parent’s eyes?
Everybody wants justice; everybody wants to be treated right. But its society and their deep rooted belief and mindset that just makes us question the steps we are about to take. We will fight for ourselves and all we want is to be braced and it’s fine if the society can’t do that, just don’t use another dragger to wound the already wounded souls.