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Only Because I Am A Girl? #Personal Experience

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By Rose Caroline:

It was one summer afternoon when our energy faded after a sequence of depressing lectures and ceaseless writing in college. Sonia and I decided to refill our empty stomachs and so we headed towards the canteen, dragging each foot in exhaustion.

Before we even entered into the canteen premises we were greeted by the aroma of chole bhature and samosas and that made us even more eager to relish the delicious varieties of junks. We took our seats and attacked on the meal, discussing everything from our pending Philosophy notes to the custom made shoes worn by one of our class mates. Girls are proficient in multitasking.

It was 4 p.m by then and even though the sun was expected to hide a little, it welcomed us with arms wide open. We directed our steps till the bus stop and waited till we could have a glimpse of the 479 route number. There were lots of other college students as well, who, under the scorching heat were lingering for the bus.

After 25 minutes or so, we boarded our bus and helped ourselves to occupy the window seats gleefully. Sonia sat right behind me and as always she plugged in her earphones and submerged into her own planet of fantasy. I pulled out my half read novel — ‘Aruna’s story’ and continued reading as how the sweeper had gruesomely raped the nurse, not even once thinking of the residual reactions followed by it. I wonder what drives men so maniacal to find pleasure in such monstrous act. Awful indeed..!

I looked outside the pane to distract myself into a place where a woman is treated with equal respect and dignity and where on no occasion is she made to feel insecure and helpless. I sighed and chose not to read further for some time. All I knew was that I was safe, seated perfectly in the bus (I couldn’t be pushed or fingered as I was near the window). No harm could befall me and why would it? After all, I was wearing decent clothes, I wasn’t laughing aloud and neither was I checking out guys. I was content and assured.

Sonia tapped my shoulders rapidly and I could sense it was not normal. I turned back and enquired what had happened. “Stay calm and listen. I doubt the guy standing near the driver’s seat is capturing a picture of yours”. Like the cold breeze of a grave, her words seemed to cut my very soul. I took my position and tried noticing him. His cell phone pointed exactly on me. A ghastly whiteness spread over my face. His eyes detected my alertness. He put his phone down and turned his back. I witnessed the phone still being in camera mode. My stomach turned ice. I couldn’t sum up the courage to stand and fight for myself. I was weak and scared. Sonia wanted my agreement to catch him red handed but I was unsure if we could succeed.

I was frightened out of my wits but decided to scuffle for my own sake. We both managed to move through the crowd and reach the conductor. He was informed about everything by Sonia in a short while. He along with some other men moved so silently that the villain was caught unawares. We snatched the phone and analyzed it extensively. I was traumatized to see innumerable pictures of mine and other girls and some dirty pictures of third grade heroines. It feels terror to even presume what he could have done. The bus was parked near a Police Station that came on our way. He was asked several times why he did so but nothing came out of him.

The crowd watched us as we fought tooth and nail not with him as a person but against the injuries executed on us unnecessarily. He was beaten black and blue and handed over to the inspector.
Amidst all the fights and arguments, I conceived the fact that I had become a victim and that was not because of my attire or behavior, that was because I was a girl.

You must be to comment.
  1. Jay

    Can the readers be honest?
    Most of the readers are today’s youth – Can the reader confess if they have taken photos of strangers (girls) without their permission?

    My heart goes out to so many unaware girls (both in cities and villages) who are being captured on mobile cameras. Is this why we need technology? tsk tsk

  2. Ajay

    This is very complicated question to answer….. Neither this society nor we are intellectual enough to understand this problem..

  3. soumya

    It happens all the time.. every SOB who has a mobile phone worth a few bucks angles his camera towards us. I faced a similar incident when I was parking my bike.. I just looked at him eye to eye and he kept his phone in his pocket and walked away. When I told this incident to one of my male friends, he was like, you should be more careful.
    I mean, what more should I do, cover myself with robes and a face mask?

    Whoever is doing the mistake, they should be punished. Why is everything told to girls?

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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