I lived through being known as the “sexual harassment victim”. I wonder if my harasser got this much recognition. But, who cares? He got away.
Holi has become a premier festival for socially sanctioned sexual harassment. It gives a free pass in the name of celebration to harass.
You know the trope of the helpless victim of stalking and harassment? I didn’t fit the bill. At every point, I knew what was happening.
It is difficult to come out as a survivor of sexual abuse in a society where blaming the victim is the norm. In this light, child sexual abuse is an issue which is usually not paid much attention to.
I’m not here to give a solution to that problem. But I’ve been waiting for a long time, scared of telling anyone what I went through, for the fear of being judged, for the fear of my trauma being invalidated. For the fear of me again being denied my voice, like that night when I felt compelled to say “yes” because I couldn’t say “no.” I’m here to reclaim my voice as a survivor of cyber-rape.
Sometimes it feels like someone else is wearing my body.
Let's recognise the disparity between men and women's experiences of public spaces and work on dismantling that. A woman has the right to occupy public spaces without fearing for her safety, no matter the time of the day or her choice of clothing. Eleven-year-old dreamers have the right to dawdle on their way to school, watching for cracks in the pavements without a care in the world.
Rape is not just a delimited event in the victim's past. The trauma insidiously penetrates the deeper layers of her personality and of her fears. It instils a long-lasting feeling of insecurity.
When I realized how humiliating it was for me to actually do a dance and get the job, to leave my hair open to show that I am still interested in the job; I also realized the uncertainty of the very moment in which I agreed to do it. It only becomes more difficult to comprehend because in the larger framework of work ethics and modern day cultures, this kind of harassment is still difficult to name.
All it takes though, is one woman. One woman who speaks up, giving strength to thousands more who are facing similar, if not worse situations. One woman who speaks up, thus making it that much easier for others to do the same.