In a recent series of conversations at home, it came out clearly how insecure my parents have been with the idea of girls staying out. More than being a measure of safety, to them it was a measure of character in the eyes of the society which gradually had also become theirs, how, I am yet to comprehend.
I have often seen families restricting girls from going out of the house, stay out late, let alone go ahead with the plans that involve staying out at night.
They think that home is the safest place as nothing can go wrong here. An accident or a mishap can’t happen. In a 2014 report, I read that girls who have been sexually harassed, 98% of the times it’s a relative, friend or someone they have known.
It was 2014, one night when I was asleep I felt a hand on my waist, right at the edge of my shirt, I woke up trying to understand if it was real or a figment of my imagination. My brothers were sleeping next to me. I thought it must have been his hand that woke me up. A few days later this happened again, this time, I was sleeping alone when I felt someone touching me, I woke up scared again.
Only this time I found my cousin standing beside me in the dark who on my waking up said, “I just came to ask if you want to go to the park in the morning.” This time, I realised that it was something else, but I didn’t know whom to talk to.
From then on, I started living carefully and at a distance, in my own house. As irritated I found myself in my cousin’s presence, there was nothing I could do.
Almost a year back I shared this with my parents who dismissed the issue. My mother said that it was common, as she too had faced this when she was growing up. My father asked me to move ahead in life and not think about all this.
Since then I have found myself questioning all the time. What difference do these orthodox and shallow restrictions make when I am not safe in my own home?