Society Magazine

An Act of Violence

Posted on the 05 March 2015 by Yamini
Ankita was watching "India'a Daughter", she would usually keep away from things which are being talked about in news, but something compelled her watch this. "She shouldn't have been on the road at that hour" "We wanted to teach them a lesson.." "It is not Indian culture, men and women can't be friends" "A woman is like food, she shouldn't be put on the street" gunshots, tear gas, burn the girl it wen't on. Ankita's stomach started churning, she felt pukish. She wanted to stop watching it, but she didn't. It was a series of images that moved infront of her eyes, it was uncontrollable.
She remembered the first time when she was molested on the road, the first time when she was scared, the time from when she had started watching in all directions when she walked on the road. She had wondered if she should curtail her walks on the road, which she loved somuch she decided against it, she couldn't let someone else decide what she should do and what she shouldn't. She decided she wouldn't relinquish her rights to her roads, never. And it had happened again, this time the assault was from the front, she was shocked, shaken, she ran behind the assaulter but couldn't catch him. She still was shaken, for a moment she cursed herself for being a woman. A friend told her, she shouldn't be walking alone, she should take a male friend along. That's when she decided, she would go back to the roads, with vengeance, with love, alone. She was a human being, with all the faculties working and capable to live an independent life and she would do that irrespective of what. Life went on and violence became an integral part of it.
She remembered the mail from a friend, written in anguish trying to describe what her brother had attempted to do to her. She was assaulted, but she couldn't speak up against it, nobody would have believed her for she was a girl. She had to be as if nothing had happened. She moved out of her house and it took her a lot of courage to write the mail. Finally her nightmares would stop.
She remembered how her friend had made advances on her, someone who she had trusted blindly, someone who spoke of equal rights. It was breach of trust, she had began to blame herself for not seeing it coming, she thought something must have been wrong from her side. She did all that she condemned, the shame, the self blame, she wen't through all of it. That's when she realized how much she was entrenched in the rape culture, how much she had to constantly re-educate herself.
She remembered the time when she complained her HR about sexism at work place and was told it is Indian culture and can't be helped.
She remembered the folk singer who used the name Nirbhaya to get a wider audience to her song about a girl, she had wondered if she should be happy that this was being talked in every corner of the country or that it had just become a name.
She remembered the TV soap which talks about women's liberation and shows women learning self defense, nothing wrong with self defense but again it is the woman who has to do everything whether it is not going out in the dark or learning martial arts, somehow the victim has to make the change, while the perpetrator doesn't.
She suddenly jolted out of her thoughts, it was not about her, she couldn't hijack someone else's sorrow but yet it was about her. For the fear of rape was taught to her before she realized she was a girl, for she learnt she was a woman through an act of violence, for she lived violence every moment. It was about every woman, it was also about every man who were victim to the sickness called patriarchy, sexism, gender bias, homophobia..... But they are all different things, aren't they? Like Stacey Ann Chin says all oppression is connected and there is no heirarchy of oppression. Ankita got up from her corner and puked, there had to be closure and that's all she could do. 

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