Thoughts that linger

Sometimes you read things that stay with you. Stuff that strikes you at once, you relate to it and then file it at the back of your mind to process later. One of those things happens to be an essay Neha linked to in her post yesterday. I read it. I felt upset. I forgot about it for a while and then it kept hovering in my subconscious again today.

Growing up in a time and place where six grade meant you moved from skirt and shirt to a salwar at school with neatly pinned dupattas and walking home from school after six PM meant there was safety in groups, my friends and I had our own experiences with road side romeos and unpleasant experiences that were hardly shared let alone discussed.

I distinctly remember being very careful when entering and exiting crowded buses. Using my bag or a file as shield to protect myself from groping. Learning to stamp or shove people who made unwelcome moves when standing in a tightly packed bus. Getting into an auto making it a point to remember the licence plate number and sitting on edge at the very corner in readiness to jump off should the auto driver take unfamiliar roads. The feeling of paranoia is to this date very familiar.

Reading that essay however far removed from the culture I grew up in still brought back the same feelings of fear and distaste. I was lucky in that I did not experience anything that could have scarred me for life but I shudder to think of the countless kids/teenagers experiencing things they cannot protect themselves from and facing a lifetime of trauma and internalized guilt simply because they cannot talk about it. Or even if they did to be blamed for being the victim.

It is one of those things that affect me deeply. The unnamed fear and the nature of the crime.

Updated to add the link to Blank Noise Project. Seems like a great initiative happening to bring awareness about eve teasing and harrassment. Hats off to them! Thanks Manchus for the tip.

4 comments

  1. I think,Each one of us experienced it in some form or other while growing up. This is a constant worry for me for my children.Wish I could guard them and warn them enough, of the evil out there. May God protect us and all.
    shy

    @Shy: Yes! makes me mad when I think of it. Wish we were brought up with a little more courage and self esteem to put those perverts in their place. I worry too for the next gen with danger lurking in real and virtual worlds.

  2. Gosh…i so agree with you. Just a day back me and my friend had this really horrible experience! I mean its so disgusting. Every time i hear about any such incident, i can do nothing but just sit and crib about it. I feel so helpless…

    @Shalu: Hope you and your friend are doing OK. Be safe please. Hugs!

  3. This post really touches the nerve and what not. I remember the feeling more distinctly while I was in college in Trichy more than anywhere I have lived.
    I don’t know how I turned so gutsy in life that I actually poked a guy with ‘SAFETY’-pin and punched him on his face. Eventually he got thrashed by the mob in the bus. The said person was actually groping a little girl about 10-13 years and she was cringing. I couldn’t bear the sight. I guess that was then when I was in college and I never thought much of the consequences….

    Hey you can link this to ‘Blank Noise Project’.

    @Manchus: Sadly these kinds of things happen way too often and rarely do you see anyone doing anything about it. I think as a society we have too much of tolerance and apathy.

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