Why girls often do not rise up to protest against sexual assualt?
Nitya was happy! After all, it was her birthday, and her dad gifted her that pencil skirt she has been eyeing for so long. As she took the bus, she was excited to show off her prized gift to her friends. It took her just a few seconds to enter her dream world as she settled down on a window seat never noticing that the person who sat beside her gave multiple hungry looks towards her visible legs. Her trail of thoughts hit a bumper when she felt something brushing against her leg. For the moment, she thought it is an accident. Soon she realized, the 'accident' was intentional. She wanted to protest and scream at the guy, but something rather many things were pulling her back. Ultimately, she left her seat and got down from the bus. This is something she always does when facing with any sexual assault or eve-teasing, escape.
Do you think Nitya is a cowed? Do you think she is making it harder for the others by not protesting? Maybe yes, but the question is why? No one likes their personal space violated, then why this strong well-educated girl is pulled back that leads to overlooking of 'small' sexual assaults?
The first thing that fills the mind of a person is a shame. Why? It is because our society leads us to believe that it is shameful to speak about the act when someone inappropriately touches us. True, it is indeed shameful that many in our society still support the notion.
Guilt is another feeling that embraces just at the moment of the incident. Thoughts like 'I should have taken an auto' or 'could have I worn something else?' strike. Yes, we should feel guilty! We should feel guilty that we are not taking any step so that our next generation won't be pulled back before protesting.
Have you ever noticed what most of the people do when someone protests for being assaulted? They look away, they suddenly find their Smartphone irresistible, or they enjoy the ongoing show. There are very few who actually stand beside the one protesting. Yes, it is utterly embarrassing to know that we stay in a society that has tied us in a way that we feel it is better to let go of the attack than standing up.
'Not again! Why does it happen with me?' Why can't we be more alert so no one can take advantage? This feeling of self-criticizing will try to pin down even the slightest bit of desire or protest that keeps bubbling inside.
The past memories and the present incident mingle together to strengthen the fear we all feel inside. Yes, being fearful is right when the threat is both inside and outside the house.
There will hardly be any woman who will not relate to one or all of the feelings. How sad is it that we have to think and be cautious of the fact that no one touches us in an inappropriate way.
Is it only the men of the society who are to be blamed? NO! Women also play an equal part. The change will never come unless we change our mentality and also pass it on to the next generation.
P.S. Nitya is a fictional character that was used to narrate a problem that every other girl in the society is facing.
How many times have you held yourself back from protesting? Share your story in the comment below.