Ode to those Brave Ones…

A couple of months ago, there was an “explosion” of the #MeToo movement on social media… and the number of women who have come out and related their horrific experiences, really took me into a space where I am began to question EVERYTHING. I think what got to me is the fact that people I never imagined (in my wildest dreams) took advantage of their positions and those women!

And the fact those women came out and shared their most traumatic experiences, been courageous enough to show their vulnerabilities, at the risk of being judged, criticised and slandered, is truly commendable. I salute those brave women who came out and told their truth. There are very few who can muster courage and come out of traumatic experiences, call those SOBs out and tell the world what they want closure to.

I have always been the average, middle class, family-protected first born and still continue to be. And thus, even when I lived in New Delhi for a couple of years when I got my first job, I remained lucky enough not to have experienced sexual harassment. However, I was not devoid of the ‘eve teasing’ or the ‘cat calling’ by the group of unemployed, uninhibited men who sat outside the apartment building I lived in. My immediate defensive mechanism would be to pretend that I could not hear what they said or yelled out and keep walking till I got to the main gate of the building; or I would wear my earphones and turn up the volume of whatever song I was listening to at the time.

Before moving to New Delhi for work, I had absolutely NO idea that the city was already christened to be the “rape capital of India”. I, however, was faced with this paradox about India itself. On one hand, the female is worshipped in the form of the mythical Goddess Durga or Kaali; seen as the innate power that conquered the world, but on the other hand, the female is also suppressed in the name of tradition that has shaped the notion of the ideal Indian woman.

Being of Indian origin, but born and brought up in Kenya, I have been blessed with the best of both worlds; my grandmother teaches me a lot in terms of traditional values and codes of conduct, in the way she was taught by her grandmother in India, and at the same time, I am thrust into a modern world that teaches me to be self-sufficient and an independent thinker.

I guess what I’m ranting about today is the fact that there are a few of us who are very privileged as women. The least we can do is to hate on our own kind; especially those who have the guts — that we don’t — to tell their truths to the world at the risk of losing it all.