The Nirbhaya incident changed something inside many of us. I think it shook up our hopes and belief in an equal opportunity world. I remember feeling so angry yet so helpless as violations seemed to surface all around me.
Violation of one person by another. Of space, of body, of mind, of respect, of identity. On screen – off screen – everywhere.
Now as another woman braves her experience, I am a mute witness once again. For every such incident that is reported, thousands of violating moments remain unreported every day. How many girls have bitten back anger and tears even as they have been touched or commented upon in public spaces by strangers? Isn’t molestation, rape and sexual assault an extension of such violating behavior? If one is condoned, the other is bound to follow.
After the heinous acts, further violation comes from individuals who shamelessly air on media their chauvinistic perspectives about the incidents. They puke all over on social media staining public thought with their yellowed insides. Equal rights, gender sensitivity and bias awareness seem beyond their grey cells but what about basic humaneness?
And finally when it comes to solutions – most advice is about how women should behave, dress, act, speak, react, or not react to such situations. Most families tell their girls not to react for fear of stigma – families who are supposed to nurture children and help them grow. So what are we really telling our future generations about courage & cowardice? Amongst all this am thankful for men & women who speak up against bias and call for corrective action.
But isn’t it time to look at WHO is committing the violations? Are these aliens who are violating our vulnerable ones? NO. They are persons who are born among us, live among us, look like us and are in many ways like us. We need to recognize the problem lies with us. We need to recognize that it is not about just targeting one gender as both genders have played roles in the creation of this monster. We may have inherited an unequal world but as long as we haven’t done anything to change it, we are part of the problem.
The latest report of such violation is yet another slap in our faces. She has faced it with real courage and done her part to report the perpetrators. But even with all this anger and desperation for change, what have we done?
Are we going to sit as spectators to the ensuing discussion circus?
Are we going to rant & rave on social media and then simply… sign out?
Or are we going to do something to make a difference?
Some of us are getting together to make a small start in Kerala. A start from the root of the problem. A start that involves bringing empowerment to girls and empathy to boys. School by school, family by family. If you would like to be part of the change, write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Social Volunteer”.
If we don’t find the courage now, we will remain among those cowards.