So here I am, joining the bandwagon of #MeToo.
I was a 7-year-old when a monster found me all alone. He was a driver who was cleaning his car and called me to look at the car from inside. He tried to pull my pants down and suddenly, I felt disgusted of my own body. Even though I was a kid, the voice of a woman inside me said that this was wrong. So I pushed him back and ran away from there.
That day I realised that I was different from my male cousin. I couldn’t just roam around and play. Maybe I should not step out of my house since it was the safest place on earth.
When I was 12-years-old, I went to a famous fair at a temple with my male cousin. It was crowded everywhere and it was Rakshabandhan that day. I had money with me, so I wanted to buy some things from the fair. I was walking along with my cousin when I felt somebody pinch my breast hard. I even bled because of it and had scars for a long time.
I cursed myself for growing up into a woman’s body and for going to that crowded place. I hid myself behind my cousin so that no other pervert could touch me. I held his hand tightly and swore to never go to any other crowded place.
Then, I was 18 and in college. I was rushing to catch a bus when suddenly, a man roped my breast. I was numb and stopped right there. My world came to a standstill and my tears could not find a way out of my eyes. But then, I cried so loudly that a passerby heard me and said, “Saale, ladki ko kahan haath lagata hai? Teri maa aur behen nahi hai? (Where all are you touching the girl? Don’t you have a mother and sisters?)”
I wanted to ask him the same thing.
The harassment followed me to work too. When I was 25 and got a new job, a drunk man came into my office with a pornographic video playing on his phone which he placed in front of me. I was dumbfounded and felt like a helpless bird in a cage, crying for breath. I complained of the harassment four months after suffering some more. But I was disgraced and rumors were spreading. I had to quit my job instead.
Was it my fault that every time I tried to do something, some pervert would come and shatter my courage?
I understand now that I need to be the one to take a stand for myself and not run away from it as if nothing ever happened. I am a woman and have immense power bestowed upon me. I may be a mother, daughter or sister. But when it comes to my dignity, I am no less than goddess Durga.