It could have been Me!It could have been You!

I was just 15 then. It had already got dark so as soon as the class finished, I rushed back home. Somewhere I felt, I was being followed. I quickened my pace. He too matched my steps. Just before my house, there was a turn which was not well lit. That was crossroads. He didn’t guess that I had to turn uphill and not go straight. As soon as I turned, he tried to grab me from behind. That became my only defence. I pushed my elbow into his balls, and shrieking with pain, he loosened his grip. I managed to be free and just ran without even looking back. Fortunately, my house was just a minute from there, and before he could grasp what had happened, I was safe inside my house.

So many such incidents happen daily. Yet we keep mum for fear of saving our so called honour. Of course, I must have done something on a winter day tucked in a salwar suit and long coat.

Over the years rather than reduction, the problem has increased manifold. Even after the widespread protests over Nirbhaya incident, the rapists still are alive, and pleading in courts.

What happened with Unnao rape victim was humanity at it’s worst.

Rape, the word itself makes you shudder.It just numbs you. Brave are the girls who have survived and come out in open in the hope of Justice.

Why India is so unsafe for females ? Why the country can’t protect it’s sisters, daughters and mothers? Why even today woman is a commodity?

Inspite of education reaching far and wide, there is still a great divide. Things have changed in the past 20 years, but still there are segments where patriarchy and glorification of sons is deeply ingrained.

In Dubai, I’m used to early morning or late night walks. Last year in October, I was in India with my son. We were staying at chanakyapuri. My son wanted to grab a bite, and the Google maps showed a mall with eating places at a distance of around 1k. We decided to walk. Once we started, I realized it was 9 which is late by indian standards. The area in between was pretty deserted. I knew I had made a folly, yet I acted brave and thanked God once we landed in.

Living in one of the most safest places in the world, whenever I go back I wonder how difficult it is to live with a constant fear. A fear of it could have been me every time we feel ourselves in such surroundings.

“Be home in time, don’t wear anything inviting, don’t draw attention towards you” The list of instructions for the woman are endless, yet it’s a scary world out there where every day 5 women are raped in the capital city itself. I wish each boy was instructed to be home in time if they couldn’t control their instincts, to not look at a girl if they couldn’t control their hormones and so on.

I’m trying to raise my son and instill in him compassion and respect for everyone. I know change would be slow, and unless that sick mentality can be done away with, such incidents would continue.

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