I was in class 8. He was my dentist. He was known to our family. I called him bhaiya. Initially, papa used to go along. I used to visit him every Saturday. At times, when papa was stuck, I would go alone for my RCT. And then I left that treatment midway, as I use to feel uncomfortable every time he would put his hand on my chest while checking my teeth. That was 1993.
That was the first incident. I did not like that touch. Though I wasn’t aware of the abuse then. Many more big/ small incidents happened after that, but I never left quietly, like I left my treatment that time. I was infamously known as a ‘Dabang’ (Bold/ Dictatorial ) and ‘ Bigdi hui ladki’ (Brat/ Spoiled) amongst relatives. As I ‘voiced my discomfort’ for certain ‘uncle/ ‘Bhaiya’/mama/ chacha/ jija’ right there in the public, which was not acceptable by the ‘cultured people’ around. Yes, I have slapped, kicked, beaten up many people. While in school, on the roads and even in family functions. Picking up a verbal fight in crowded places like temples, fairs or market with violators; is still normal for me like it used to be 25 years ago.
I had the support of both my brothers and my father then. I am grooming my daughters to be more vocal than I was. Looking at the horrible incidents around, we need warriors perhaps. Can daddy’s princess and mumma’s baby stay safe somewhere under the sun??
The way crime against women is increasing, I am worried about their safety. I don’t want to cage them in the house. I don’t want to clip their wings, but how to ensure their safety. is there a place where they are safe?? In school? in College? at workplace?? or at home!?
I teach young students; most of my students fall in the age bracket of 19 to 25. I see their relationships. Love blossoms for many and gets abusive for some. Girls getting beaten up by possessive boyfriends in the cafeteria and parking. Public spats and insults. Attempts of suicide over harassment and break-ups. Don’t know what I should train my kids on, to handle these relationships pressure for their future.
I am almost 40 years old now, I still face different kind of harassments at different places. From metro to the workplace to a mall, and where not? Creepy people and cheesy lines. People, don’t leave you alone on the internet as well…. From love poems to Lousy messages in the inbox. I know how to tackle that, at this age, but as a mother at times, I get scared. Is there a #safe place for women, anywhere in the world?