Tuesday, March 07, 2006

In the still of the night and the noise of the day...

This is for my little daughter. Or son.

I didn't give my name for the Blank Noise Project coz I never wanted to write about it. Writing, talking, reading about IT meant dealing with skeletons in the closet; Handling truths I'd rather not remember. Realising I never really forgot them. But some ghosts need closure. In some way.

One can no longer argue that the girl invites such harassment with her attire and attitude. If no, then please tell me what did a 10 year old girl in pigtails and school uniform have that his wife couldn't offer? Dammit! I didn't even have breasts. So what was he groping and searching for? And why was he panting in my ears and trying to push himself onto me? And why didn't my mom ever tell me that it was wrong even for old men to touch me? Even if they looked like Grandpa coz Grandpa would never, ever do such a thing.

If strangers touching you is bad, then what is worse is when someone you know, someone your family trusts, gropes you. When he gives your mother more work and makes her stay late in office and comes home early in his old scooter and sends you out to buy biscuits for him, only to wait by the dark staircase and grope you. And you don't know what to tell your mother about her Manager and stay quiet. Till that day when you grow up and realise what he did was wrong but it's too late to scream or shout.

And you want to know the worst? When a 13 year old boy accosts you in your silent neighbourhood on your way home and flashes his organ and asks you to taste it. Fuck you! I am 1o years older to you. You are like my kid brother and why do you have such raging hormones? And you go home and cry nonstop and all your parents can ever say to your tormented 23 year old self is, "Don't walk alone by that road. Appa will come and pick you up from the bus stop."

In fact that incident only made my father more protective. More restrictions on movies seen at Sathyam Theatre coz girls get assaulted there and not a soul would come to help. In fact, i went out only if I was picked up and dropped back home by my friends. Else i made conversation with my 4 walls.

But what do you do when you're stranded in a bus stop in another city? Why wasn't Appa around when strange men asked me how much i charge for the night? Why didn't they go away even after i glared and swore at them? Why didn't my auto-driver show up early to pick me up? Why do i feel responsible for that night? Since when did 7pm become late night?

It isn't easy to pick yourself up and make it whole again. It was never easy. It took me years to learn to trust men. I can't say I trust them now, except for the few I have in my life. There was a stage in my life when I didn't want to marry. And if I did, i wanted to keep my husband away from my child coz my little heart felt that it was the sight of young girls in pretty frocks and rabbit teeth that corrupted older men. Even if they are good.

For every ~A who will walk by my side in crowded streets, with his arm two inches behind my shoulder so no one would dare fall 'unintentionally' on me, there was an Asshole to undo the strength I built up.

For every ~K who walked an extra mile just to drop me home safely even if it was only 8pm, there was a married Slimeball who sat smiling across the table, in bright offices telling me how my butt doesn't shake when i walk. How my lips are good and pretty. And he hadn't yet celebrated his first wedding anniversary.

For all the ~Rs who stood up for me when a fellow 'friend' looked down my blouse, there were a million others trying to put their hands down it.

You can live with all this, you can survive every single painful past, if at that soft moment when a loved one touches you, you melt just like the heroine in those romantic novels you so diligently read but instead your body stiffens and you want to scream. Scream for all those moments when you didn't shout. Scream for all those little girls and little boys. Scream for yourself. And then you hate yourself coz you are being denied something becoz some other fool took away something that wasn't his. That never was. Your innocence and your trust.

There are days when i scrub myself hard hoping I would never see those invisible marks. I would gladly forgive those demented souls if only I can forget. But I can't and hence i won't.

I don't know how this post can change men. Maybe it won't.
But this I promise, my little son will never touch your little girl in a manner he shouldn't.

Here are more excellent and poignant posts that continue to shed light on this menace.

Yes, it took me courage to write this.
No, I am not fishing for sympathy.
Yes, I would like it if you understand what I am trying to convey and pass on the wisdom you gained.
No, i don't hate you but you still have to sit 2 feet away from my kid.


Blogger Manchus said...

Amazing post!! It takes true courage to come up with such a post.

I guess most of the girls from India/Asia can identify with this post.

We sure will wait for a better world! Happy Women's day!

7:14 PM  
Blogger RS said...

Yes, it took me courage to write this.

Absolutely girl. You deserve a resounding pat on your back for this stark and powerful bit of writing.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Me said...

Yes forgiveness is not meant for monsters who claim what it not theirs and leave wounds that wont wash away. Kudos PonC. Amazing post!!

10:08 PM  
Blogger Ducking Giraffe said...

you are among the very few gutsy girls that i know ! noone will match u on the frank and in your face writing front .. a coupla stories i have heard before and it looks like this damn shit is more common than i had known and more real than what people choose to believe! Anways, u said it out loud and disturbing or not none of the girls i know could have done that...

11:33 PM  
Blogger Ducking Giraffe said...

Dear Griz,
Thanks so much for coming up with this. This may not make any difference to all those creepy creatures but it makes to me, every line I read I found myself nodding, cos everyone of them seemed so similar to an ugly past of mine and several of my friends. Our present and future is/will be no different, as hopeless as that sounds, but nevertheless, thanks for bringing this up... We owe you one big hug!

11:56 PM  
Blogger Primalsoup said...

Wonderfully written K. Na this won't change men, but its a start. Scarily enough, most of the times the focus is on ensuring that men don't have the 'opportunity' to abuse women and not so much to ensure that the 'intent' doesn't exist to begin with.

12:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic post...
I too promise that if I have a son... I would do anything to make sure that he dosent turn up like this...

1:13 AM  
Blogger RT said...

Very well written. We all have such stories to share, dont we? And such posts to change men? Well, sadly, the ones to be reading them are busy with their acts.

1:23 AM  
Blogger Madhooo said...

Amazing post with very powerful words. Kudos to your courage and candidness.
Wish you a very happy women's day.

2:49 AM  
Blogger KoPoS said...

Reading this leaves me with a sense of nausea, shame and a lingering feeling of incredulity. Looking through this feels like this is more real and more traumatic than i can ever fathom, not to speak of the true insidious nature of the idiots...

3:10 AM  
Blogger shub said...

i dunno why..but I thought I'd become thickskinned after reading endless posts like this...but I'm throat is lumping up after reading yours....n I'm feeling down down downnnnn
damn right, all we can do is hope our lil girls won't face the same....
so damn hard to write bout it no?! *hugs*

4:06 AM  
Blogger jax said...

Reading so many posts on this topic has made me all the more disgusted about people of my gender.Men are bastards of the first order. I hope atleast the educated bunch learn to mend their ways.

4:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi I am shaiksulaiman(shaiksulaiman331@yahoo.com).

When I see these topics, I used to remember the following verse from Qur'an

"Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! God is aware of what they do."
(Al-Qur'an -24.30 An-Nur: The Light).

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said :

"Whenever a man is alone with a woman, Satan is the third among them"

Shaik Sulaiman

6:43 AM  
Blogger Madhu said...

Extremely disturbing... and honestly, I am hoping this is purely fiction.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Kumari said...

@All: Thanks a ton for all your kind words. It took me 18 years to break my silence. And I hope it makes a difference somewhere.

@Manchus: Welcome back! I was looking for a mail id to contact you and find out how you are doing. Esp since i saw your 'new avatar' :D Thanks a lot and Happy women's day to you too.

@Rs: Thank you.

@Me: Thanks but unless one forgives/forgets, the issue gets no closure :(

@Dee: You're a sweetheart.I am glad I did it atleast now.

@Gif:Hugs to you too, my girl. We've come so far, I am sure we will go further and make it a better place for our kids.

@Soups: Oh don't start me on the 'intent' issue at all. Most times, I've been told that men are 'built' that way and they can't control their urges. Made me want to slap every single guy who uses that as an excuse.

@Anon: Thank you Anon. It does make a difference.

@Rt: Yeah but I hope the ones reading this will stand up for the girl should the situation arise. We've had enough mute spectators inour lives. We need some mentally strong men too.

@Madhooo: Thank you and wish u the same too :)

@kopos: Don't be hard on yourself, just make sure you don't just stand mute. That makes all the difference.

@Shub: Extremely hard, trust me. But we've survived that and we'll survive the rest of our lives to. Hopefully, our girls should be spared this trauma. Take care, girl.

@Jax: Here's to hope.

@Shaik: Sometimes i feel, Satan is there even when a man is alone by himself.

@Madhu: Sadly, it is not.

11:01 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

You said you were not going to write this. I'm glad you did. I know it takes a lot of courage to come out and say this. After all we live in denial and never talk about it. But this one really made me relive everything that has ever happened to me. And it made me cry. we try to change the world in our little ways. You probably just did that. Thanks for writing this one.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Shiva said...

freaking disturbing post.
people like these fill me with an almost murderous rage. Who says violence doesnt solve things? I dont see how a shotgun to the nuts wont solve this. bastards.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Kumari said...

@M(TSU): I am glad i did too. In a bizarre manner, it helped me come to terms with my past.

@Shiva: If only shotguns were the answers to all life's problems:( But it makes one feel extremely happy that there is a 'kid bro' who can stand up for you anytime. Thanks Cuz :)

4:15 PM  
Blogger Ratna said...

I always wonder if these culprits ever realize in life? Ever?

12:01 AM  
Blogger Kumari said...

@Ratna: I doubt. Maybe a few.

2:02 AM  
Blogger moonlit rainbows said...

oh god! how well I understand...

12:02 AM  
Blogger Yash said...

This was one phenomenal post... i'm sure it would make a difference.

this one struck me:-
"my little son will never touch your little girl in a manner he shouldn't".
We all have little boys in our lives whether our own children or those of our relatives. sensitizing them i believe is a way in which each of us can help.

i'm curious: is this an account of your life in the US or in India (or both)?

2:13 AM  
Blogger Swetha Balla said...

My heart pounded with rage and I felt nauseated when I read this story. I just don't understand why people behave in such a way leaving life-long scars for the victims. In a country where we speak of karma, culture, values etc; I wonder why people behave as if they can get away with their crime and that God isn't watching them do so.

I wonder if it'll change any real pervert because if their core values were intact they wouldn't have even done something so loathing. But I really hope that the other sensible men out there who respect women will actually take a step to protect their family, friends and the young kids around them. I really really hope so.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Taras said...

Excellent post! You have hit the nail on its head and looks like your effort has already made a difference. With the right kind of education lets hope that Indian men of next generation will cease to be hypocritical.

3:28 PM  

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