Walk a mile in a woman’s shoes and then tell me that the tales of abuse and molestation are not true, are rare or are mere overreactions.
I take an Uber home every evening from M’s crèche. Now some context here. Since I travel with M alone carrying at least 2 bags, the security guards at my apartment always let my cab pass without making me get down at the gate. Normal human decency, you see. But this Monday, when I reached the gate of my apartment, one of the security guards slammed it shut. When I pulled the windows down to ask him why he did that when he had clearly seen me in the cab, he started yelling at me. He then flung open the gates and howled at the driver to make an entry all the while staring fiercely at me. Yes, he not only kept yelling but he didn’t care that I would probably complain about him to the association.
What gave him the courage to do that? Probably because he saw I was a woman. What harm could I do to him?
He didn’t stop in spite of the intervention by other security guards. They let the cab pass, apologised to me but not him. I, of course, didn’t say anything more to him. Not that I didn’t want to or that I couldn’t. I just thought that maybe I shouldn’t because he could harm me later. And now that I have a daughter, I needed to be more careful. (Papa if you are reading this, don’t worry, I’m fine.)
Walk a mile in a woman's shoes and then tell me that the tales of abuse and molestation are not… Click To Tweet
It’s very demeaning when someone behaves the way the security guard behaved with me that day. It is a kind of abuse because now I’m worried and anxious every time I go home in the evening. I hate confrontations (in spite of what S and my sister think) and the thought of him being there makes me uneasy.
He had the audacity to yell at me. He didn’t care that I was one of the owners in the apartment complex that employed him. He was rude, uncouth and even managed to scare me. He wouldn’t dare do that to a man. I can vouch on that.
Every woman faces one form of abuse or the other every other day. #Women Click To Tweet
I don’t usually admit that I get scared. I tend to put on a brave face. And most of the times, I do that in spite of the fear. The fear that the man I argue with might end up hurting me physically. This is a kind of passive exploitation that we women learn to live with. Sometimes we don’t even realise that we do.
I remember my friend telling me how an auto rickshaw driver almost came to slap her when she asked him about charging too much. Would he have dared to do that if she was a man? At least, he would have thought ten times before doing it if that were the case, I think.
Being yelled at by the security guard at your own apartment complex is not only demeaning but scary,… Click To Tweet
In every step we take, we need to be careful. We need to do so many calculations before taking that cab or going somewhere. Sometimes even wearing a particular dress. Sometimes these things happen consciously but most of the times it’s so ingrained in us that we do it subconsciously. I don’t think a man ever has to face this. And so it angers me when the incidents of abuse or molestation are brushed under the hashtag #NotAllMen or ignored as a feminist conspiracy to bash men.
Some years back, I was in a queue at Gorakhpur Railway station with my friends. We had gone to book tickets for going home. After an hour of standing in the queue, it would finally be our turn. But just then a burly man came up with all authority and started to put his reservation slip through the window. Do you know how much I had to calculate and contemplate before asking him to go at the end of the queue? Do you know how scared I was on the inside till I reached my hostel? That is what we live with.
I think every man, every woman should be a feminist to ensure that our human experiences are not… Click To Tweet
So, you know what, as much as it is a systematic issue, men are a part of that issue, even if not all men. As much as it is an issue fanned by the apathy of law and order establishments and this society’s thinking (which includes women), the ones making life difficult for women on the streets are also men. You cannot deny that. Some men but still men. So you cannot separate the cause, the enabler and the enforcer from the effect.
It is a gender issue. People dare to mistreat us women because we are women, because of our gender which they consider weak and for their enjoyment.
I don’t want my daughter to inherit such a society where men can’t keep it in their pants. I want her to talk and mix with people as uninhibitedly as she does now. And that’s why the feminist movement has become all the more important. I think every man, every woman should be a feminist to ensure that our human experiences are not hindered because of our gender.
The incidents like the ones which happened in Bangalore this New Years Eve go on to show that for a woman the fight is still on for safety, for respect and an equal and rightful place in society. That is what feminism is for. And it is a gender issue. People dare to mistreat us women because we are women, because of our gender which they consider weak and for their enjoyment.
It angers me when the incidents of abuse or molestation are brushed under the hashtag #NotAllMen or ignored as a feminist conspiracy to bash men.
Please do not mock these cases of abuse and molestation of women. Every woman faces one form of it or the other at least once in her life. And it is almost always more than once. If being yelled at by a security guard can make me feel so disturbed, imagine what happens to women who go through far more.
Think about it.