Took me years to peel off your words from my skin. Took me years to rub the roses off my eyes and see the red flags as they were. Took me years to learn oral sex isn't terrible, rape is. And that is what it was.
What happens when the person that you trust & care for, rapes you? Rape, consent – neither can be a grey. They are, nonetheless, made to be.
Staring can make people extremely uncomfortable. It's incredibly violating and often leads to the awkward dupatta adjustment. It's also difficult to report because it can never be proven. But staring, like street harassment, is also a form of sexual harassment.
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.