This story is part of the 16 Days Of Activism campaign against sexual harassment. People are invited to share their experiences and shift the onus from the survivor to the perpetrator. To know more and take part in the campaign click here.

You see me walking on the street,
What do you see ?
A woman, a human, a person
Who simply passes by?

No second glance from you
And I’m safe,
I hurry,
Lest my luck run out and you come back
My molester, my groper, my brother,
You male citizen of this vast country of mine.

Shouldn’t be out this late,
Say the voices in my head,
Mom’s voice reprimanding,
You should be home by now.

And that early morning run
In the park,
You sedate looking Uncleji
Cool as a surgically placed scalpel,
Your hand slides
Past my behind.

I’m too shocked to react
Certain I must be mistaken,
That couldn’t have been on intent ?
When next day you remove all doubt
And sure again, we have a rerun.

The template repeats
Over and over all of my life:

A twelve-year-old in a temple,
A youth in a bus,
Shopping in a market,
Walking up to college
Minding my business.

But it never lets up,
The assault on my senses,
The groping eyes,
Shorn of all pretence.
The grabbing hands,
The bodies shoved
In my face.

All you brothers, lovers mine.
Fathers, uncles too,
All you husbands and friends
Not to forget
The few grandparents:

Yes it’s easy to pretend
We are only meat,
But you must be human
I know, at the core of your being.
See me as human too.

Featured Image Credit: Martina (Used under a Creative Commons license)

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