A textual conversation from last night (11 December 2017) left me with a number of disturbing thoughts. I was being asked why do I keep posting about women empowerment and other related issues if I couldn’t stand for the number of sexual assaults or harassments that I have been through. Indeed I have no right to write on such topics if I did not stand up for my own self.
Since these words have come from a man, I take the privilege to say something over here and I feel this might get across him. Anyway, last night I was being blamed for not standing up against the atrocities that I have been through. And this is where I see patriarchy slowly creeping in. I have few points to make. Any and every woman, of different shapes and sizes, have been through one kind or another of sexual assault/ harassment/rape. Some had been severe, some had been less severe. But the impact that these experiences leave on a woman cannot be measured with a scale or cannot be compared to the lines of intensity. We want to speak it out. Ask for people to support us. What happens in turn? If you speak up the stigma of being a victim is attached to us. While our harassers/rapists can enter freely into your tea stall with a cigarette in hand, he is a macho man. If I enter into your tea stall and you know that I had been through some kind of sexual harassment, you wouldn’t be able to keep your eyes away from my breasts. Yes, breasts. And if I have a cigarette in hand. Well. And then the patriarchy expects us to speak up.
And if we don’t speak up then you term me a sinner. Saying that I have let loose a criminal. You say you don’t have sympathy for women who do not stand up. Patriarchy, my dear friend, stop blaming me for what I am. It is your systematic society that silences women. And when we break the silence we are a bitch. Well, bitch is a female dog. She gives birth to several puppies at a time and feeds them too. In patriarchy, bitch is derogatory because bitch doesn’t know who is the father of the life that breathes inside her. Well, patriarchy, the dogs do not recognize you. They recognize instinct and the freedom of choice I guess. Nevertheless, you call me a bitch or a sinner. But do not recognize the fault in you.
Rape is a serious word, patriarchy says shouldn’t be used often like I do. But it’s okay to hear women getting raped every day. Ask your wife/mother/sister/or even a friend would do. If they trust you, they would tell you about their nightmares and days they want to forget. Anyway. For your kind information, rape or assault indifferently is sexual harassment. To all these issues police is not the solution always. Learn to behave patriarchy. Police are your creation. Go and see what’s happening with the Rohingya women. My smooth reply to why I write and speak about such issues:
Because I couldn’t stand up when I had to. I am learning so that I can stand up when I have to.
I did not complain because I don’t trust you, I do not trust the society.
I am learning to stand up on my own so that tomorrow I don’t have to lay my trust on someone else.
I am learning to trust myself.
At the end of the conversation, I told patriarchy that I love him.
Patriarchy just left the conversation.
The writer is currently doing Masters in Sociology from South Asian University, New Delhi, India. Writing is her passion.