Past, Present and the Future
Today I woke up feeling inexplicably sad. I ignored it and went about my business. The sadness persisted and was getting worse. I had to examine the reason/s for this and this was a trip down memory lane.
I grew up in India in a middle class family. I have no wish that my family was different in any way. But the sum total of one’s experience in life does not come from one’s family alone…here’s what I came up with at the end of some introspection.
I walked to school everyday and then took public transportation such as buses for college and trains for long distance..
One evening, at dusk as darkness set in, I remember walking down a street in my neighborhood with my brother. I remember feeling scared for some reason, I am not sure if I even said anything..he held my hand, we walked home safely. I have never thanked him..until today..thank you!
Fast forward to teen years and early 20's..walking the neighborhood streets and using public transportation, when “things” happen..to any number of girls and women.
These are the questions on my mind today
1. “Was I ever groped in my life?” Yes, more than once is my answer
2. “Did I even once expect it or see it coming? No
3. “Did I do something to “invite” this assault upon myself? Never
4. Did I enjoy being groped? Never
5. Did I ever talk to anyone about it? Never, not until today
6. Did I deserve to be groped, even once? No
7. What did I feel then, upon this assault?Shock, revulsion, fear, unclean
8. What do I feel today, as these memories, unbidden, pop into my head? Revulsion, and wishful thinking, that I didn’t have this happen to me long time ago in my life.
9. Is my story unique? Hell no-not by any measure..this is very common place..sadly
I came to this country over 20 years ago..for the longest time I felt safe and secure, particularly about sexual assault or predatory behavior.. I have realized for a long while now that I have been incredibly naive and stupid..human psychology and behavior are the same any place on earth..
So today, the notion that all this awfulness is just “locker room banter” is what got me thinking..I have never been in a locker room-they don’t appear to be pretty places, if you go by what some say..but many others say this is indeed not any locker rooms they have been in.
And then the notion that there are men and women (especially women) who are willing to give this banter a pass, is sickening.
Thoughts of sexual assault are bad in itself, and definitely worse when it leads to action..it’s terrible..I felt violated then, and feel violated now, when I experienced it and remember what one might say was “mere groping.” So for a moment imagine what a woman feels when she is relentlessly, boldly, and brazenly sexually (or other ways) harassed and brutally raped…
Today I challenge everyone-men and women, to come out strongly, and on the right side of this issue.
Sexual assault is sexual assault-words are important, as are actions..because our words are a reflection of our thoughts and lead to actions. This is one issue where words should be nipped and should never lead to actions, not one single time. We are a long way off from this future, and it is imperative that we try harder than ever to prevent it.