Raising Your Voice

A girl aged 11, on her way to attend her cousin’s wedding, sat next to the driver in an overcrowded jeep. The driver drove the jeep with his right hand while keeping the left one on her thighs. She felt uneasy but didn’t know what was wrong. It was only when she grew up she realized what he did  and she hated herself for letting that happen, for not raising her voice. Memories of that day still haunt her.

She turned 18, and was on her way to college in a bus, when a man nearly in his fifties, sat next to her and started asking her about the city. She politely answered his questions. But after few minutes, the same man kept his hand on her thighs. Memories of the jeep driver came seeping into her mind. She was scared, while he kept touching her. In a low voice she asked him to take his hand away but he didn’t  A lady standing nearby saw him and asked him to vacate the seat as it was reserved for ladies. She must have seen him harassing her. She was relieved but hated herself for not raising her voice again. Memories of that day still haunt her.

Last Friday, this same girl aged 22 now went to the market along with her mom and took a rickshaw to the post office. A man sat in front of her. She felt uncomfortable in his presence but as it was only a matter of a few minutes, she thought to adjust. The man touched her leg but she ignored it thinking it would have happened accidentally. But in a few seconds, the man kept his hand over her thighs. The last two incidents came flashing into her mind and she screamed and asked the rickshaw puller to stop. She shouted at him, abused and warned him and he looked at her as if nothing happened. She decided not to give him the benefit of doubt this time. She had to raise her voice, she couldn’t live with one more regret. She had to do this, otherwise she would have hated her again, for letting that happen. She kept shouting at him, taking out all her rage, for the day she was just 11 and didn’t know why she felt uncomfortable with that man’s touch, for the day she was an innocent scared teenager, for the countless days, she was reminded that she was a girl who was bound to feel unsafe, who was bound to be raped with those indecent gestures of shameful men.

And it was that day, when she stopped hating herself for letting something happen. Instead she hated those men who made her feel this way. She raised her voice and found solace. For once, she felt powerful, she felt better. She felt okay to be a woman…

P.S. I am back. I can’t stay away from writing for long, its the only thing that keeps me sane.

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30 thoughts on “Raising Your Voice

  1. Good to see you again… 🙂 welcome back sweety 🙂 Hope you are doing well n are as fresh n new as your new look of Blog 🙂

    A nice article on a bitter reality… it happens… it happens with all girls.. until n unless we speak n rebel without any fear, nothing is going to happen.. as it goes saying, the person who accepts the wrong things happening to him/her is more guilty than who does… but the problem is with us…even if someone does anything like this in public places, at an organizational level*… (yes it happens…) or anywhere else 😥 we feel so uncomfy to raise our voices… somewhere something pulls our voice back… why I don’t understand.. what makes us not to scream.. not to raise our voice… we think… we think all stupid things- “what will happen if I shout?*#^@%%&*^% 😦 that guy can harm me again^$&*@^&*%$ 😦 should I or should I not&#%^@$^%^$^ 😦 :'(”

    Honestly speaking n accepting the fact that yes… even I’ve faced eve teasing, those scary glued eyes on my body.. yes… I have faced all such bloody stuff… 😦 n while responding to your post, all those incidents were moving in front of my eyes…. 😦 to some incidents, I couldn’t raise my voice.. coz I was scared…:( to some.. yes, I did raise my voice…

    Luckily I live in a city where you can least face such kinds of stuff, n after spending 4 years here I find myself safe (a bit as compared to any other northern cities) which has brought carefree feeling in my subconscious mind but when I think of such incidents happening I find myself scared to settle back in those cities…

    The question is when… when all such bloody things will stop? Who will bring a halt to these incidents… 😦 a question with no answer… but again my mind asks me- why? why therz no answer to this question? I ask this question to God, why the hell all such things happen…? n no wonder.. no answer again 😦 :X $*(#^$&^#&*%^&#%&*^&*$%@^#$^@

    Initially people used to abort the girl child because they didn’t want to give dowry… not people will abort the girl child to protect her from RAPE, Eve-Teasing… 😦

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    • It happens with everyone and all the time we are asked to be silent. This is what happened to me, I was scared to speak up, to object. this time, i couldn’t keep mum. And I felt better this time, I wasn’t filled with the guilt that I didn’t say anything.
      Bangalore is a place to be. I miss that place. It was really safe there. I can recall only 2-3 incidents like this when I was in bangalore. In north India, we would face 2 incidents a day. You are lucky to be there.
      I am myself scared for the future generations, with all these increasing rape incidents. And as you said, we don’t really know when this is gonna stop. I so want to be a guy you know, I want to live freely, breathe freely. I loved being a girl but now, I fear being one. Its difficult to thrive in this world.

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  2. Firstly welcome back 🙂

    It happens to all of us….and many a times you are guilty of letting it happen to you. So glad that you took charge this time. Proud of you Mona 🙂

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    • Thanks..i couldn’t stay away for long and its great to find readers welcoming me like this.
      Well, i just feel relived that i could speak up this time. We have to take charge to protect ourselves. We really can;t rely on anyone else in these tough times.

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  3. Welcome back!
    And good article.
    Following the incidences of the recent times, I feel really ashamed of the moral deterioration which has surfaced among men in India. There was a time when young men sexually abused young women; but it is extremely pitiful that nowadays ‘just rape’ seems ‘out of fashion’. People have gone out of senses. Just thinking of the 5 year old or the 3 year old raped by her father (who had adopted her). Lunatics… Dangerous Lunatics…

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    • You are right. We had all heard of rapes, but this has taken an entirely different form these days. Its devilish, people are behaving like monsters. There are some mentally retarded people in the society. We have to get rid of them.

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  4. Raising your voice and taking strong steps against people like these is the need of the hour. The society needs to put in collective efforts to fight against Rape, harassment and discrimination.
    A very powerful article.

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    • I wish you had found some support then..I hope you are fine now. Its never too late. If it happened to you, don’t let it happen to someone else. No one helped you, or encouraged you to raise your voice, but you can help someone to fight against it.
      Hugs back to you. Take care…

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  5. Just raising the voice wont do, slap them across the face or hit them as hard as you can. These in-human creatures are the cowards of the society. Don’t of scared of them, we need to make them feel scared of their own actions.

    More than a decade ago, it was few months before our wedding and me and Abha had gone to CP, New Delhi for a Dinner, as we got out of the restaurant and picked up the bike from the parking lot, some guys started following us and making lewd comments, when we asked them to stop it, an argument ensued and their group started growing, we thought it is prudent to get out of that dark parking lot safely and quickly made a move. The guys followed us on their vehicle, shouting abuses, till the time we saw a police PCR van on the road, when we approached the police, rather than pursuing the rowdies, the police guys started investigating us, why were are out late in the night, and suggested us to forget it and reach our homes quickly and safely.

    Few years down the line, we were recently married now and Abha, my wife for vegetable shopping. Some one touched her and she ignored the first time because it was a crowded market and impossible to keep physical distance, but the next time he repeated the act, she screamed and have him one tight slap, initially he tried to be a bit aggressive, but when he got started getting a good thrashing from others as well, he apologized ran off.

    Just about a year back, we had gone to a movie theater nearby along with our two kids, it was a winter night and the roads were less crowded. My wife was started walking along the road with our daughter in hand as I was getting the vehicle from the parking lot. An SUV slows down and the low-life of our society makes some obscene comments, my wife starts shouting but she is scared for our daughter and picks her up, as soon as the guy see me coming they speed away in their car.

    I am talking about these incidence just to re-emphasis that has been happening across India, and only we have the power to stop it by standing up to these criminals. We as mango people of India do get scared and do not want to escalate the issue, that is considered as our weakness by these assholes. We have no other way but to stand up to them now or we will be leaving a very sad & ugly society for our next generation,

    As for the current situation, be brave and understand clearly that safety is in our own hand, there are people around us with a sick mind, the police is not going to do anything, it is only a matter of time that some vigilante groups will start handing out justice on their own in India.

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    • He ran off, before I could take any more action and I was quite satisfied with the way I handled it this time..kind of okay for the first time. 😦
      I have heard a lot many stories like this, we all have faced them at some point of our lives and I am quite sure we’ll have to face a lot more incidents like this. But there’s a limit to endurance..we can’t just sit back now.
      As you said, we have to take these matters on our own hands. We have to deal with these situations ourselves. That is the need of this hour.

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  6. Prodigious ! Outstanding ! Bravo !

    Everything we do ripples over ages. So this one act of this ‘little’ girl, will inspire so many more. No one can help women other than themselves. Of course, a few men can stand alongside but it has to be a woman taking the lead.
    Really heartening.

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  7. I hope everyone does that. Believe me, a lot of men who harass women are scared shitless when a woman raises her voice. I have seen men run away like horses with just one scream.

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    • Yup I know…even this man ran away. But sometimes, its really hard to do something, specially when there is a whole group of boys harassing a girl, trust me its so horrifying, the only thing we can think of that time is to run to a safer place. Its tough being a girl… 😦

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