It’s been almost a month since we flinched at our TV screens and shrank at the sheer atrocities women of this nation face.


We know how 2017 started off. The initial uproar has died down, but let’s recall what happened anyway.

On 31/12, thousands of people gathered in two central streets in Bangalore to welcome the New Year. The day was as traumatic as 26/11 was to us Indians. Intended to be a night filled with fun and frolic, it was anything but. A celebration instantly turned into something that resembled a Dothraki siege. Hundreds of molesters clustered around women and grabbed anything they could get their hands on. Children were scarred for life, while families and friends tried protecting all those who felt violated.

We know what happened and yet, we don’t take responsibility for it. Nobody does. We’re pros at playing blame games, remember?

A total of 1600 policemen were on duty that night, and the security arrangements were supposedly elaborate. These women were youngsters who were too scared to even report the crime, and hence the official records called it a case of ‘alleged’ mass molestation.

But this was just one incident that caught our attention. In other news, The NHRC found that 16 women were victims of sexual abuse by Chattisgarh police personnel in October 2015. A girl’s ears were chopped off in UP for resisting rape. Rape incidents in Delhi alone, have tripled since the Nirbhaya case.

What’s there to blame, this time? What’s the cause of the blatant sexism and misogyny prevalent in Indian men? How are a woman’s character and safety directly proportional to the length of her hemline? Who gave all these hooligans the power to think that women were at their disposal?

When I was fifteen, my parents took me out to witness the biggest Ganesh Visarjan in town. Since Mumbai is known for its grand processions, I was transfixed by its colossal beauty. Colorful lights, frenzied chants, saffron flags, the streets were as lively as they could ever be. But to every story, there usually is a rogue, and I always found it difficult to understand who the villain in my story was. I lost my virtue in a crowd that was praying to a God who was supposed to protect me. I was groped that day. My screams were concealed by those chants I was so mesmerized by, merely seconds ago.

Who was to be blamed? Those pair of red, old, leering eyes that still haunt me at night? My parents, for taking me to witness something beautiful? The God I trusted in? Or me, just because I was in the ‘wrong place’ at the ‘wrong time’?

I cried myself to sleep that night. Even though I panicked after the realization hit me, I remember kicking, thrashing and stubbing his toe until he gave up. I had the courage to fight back, and I’m proud I did.

But the incident did leave me traumatized, and the people I confided in kept trivializing the matter.

Since then, I had been at constant war with myself, to lengths where I questioned my sexuality and my belief in God, for I felt betrayed by him. The guy responsible for all this walked just with a bleeding foot and probably has no memory of this incident today. But those memories haunt me even to this day—I was barely a teen, I didn’t wear anything provocative. I sure as hell didn’t want him to touch me the way he did. I never gave him hints. I didn’t ask for it. I wasn’t drunk, I was praying! What gave him the nerve to even think of approaching me that way?

We live in a country where our women, irrespective of age, are overwhelmed with unwarranted attention every day. Wolf whistlers, obsessed stalkers, rapists, and murderers, we have them all.

I was relentlessly stalked by a friend of mine last year. We used to attend the same dance class every day. He seemed cool the first day I met him, gentlemanly even. We talked, exchanged numbers and even became Facebook friends. Little did I know, he would be a nightmare to me? It all started when he asked me out to which I said no. I was tortured with around 30 missed calls a day, some even on my office number. Every time I heard my phone ring, I was haunted by the possibility of him being on the other end of the line. I had blocked him on every social media platform possible. There had been days when I got lewd messages from unknown numbers. Horns blared outside my house at 11 in the night. I used to live with a friend of mine and I knew if I would tell my parents about him, they would ask me to shift in with them.

I googled about stalkers, and the stories I read made me extremely paranoid. Somehow, I was grateful that this guy wasn’t as brutal as the others were. But the possibility of him becoming one of them petrified me. As scared as I was, I wasn’t willing to let him take away my peace of mind and freedom.

I finally went and lodged a complaint against him, after telling my parents about it. I was fortunate that they understood I wasn’t in the wrong here. The stalking stopped but the incident disturbed me so much that I had to seek therapy. There are some days when I think he’s still lurking around in the shadows somewhere, knowing about every move I make, and the thought still makes me anxious.

We are morally tattered. It’s high time we accepted that. We live in a society where half our race feels oppressed by the other half. To us, consent is just another line destined to be crossed. Sexual crimes are the only crimes where the victim somehow becomes the accused. Her character is questioned, her freedom taken away. No amount of words can capture the humiliation she is made to face in front of narrow ignorant fools while the guilty smirks and gets himself a bail. This isn’t a fight between a man and a woman, it’s a never-ending battle between patriarchy and equality.

The next time you meet any female friend of yours, why don’t you ask her if she ever was groped, molested, stalked or even leered at? You’d be shaken by the number of stories pouring in. Mocking words like feminism and using #NotAllMen as a shield is never the solution.


#YesAllWomen, because each time I talk about gender equality, it doesn’t mean I hate men.

#YesAllWomen, because a glass of wine and a pair of ripped jeans don’t shout consent in any way.

#YesAllWomen, because it’s sad that every woman I know has already thought of escape routes when she’s out in the dark.

#YesAllWomen, for men being victims isn’t proof of no misogyny—it’s evidence that misogyny hurts men too.

#YesAllWomen, because this is how I finally get my voice.

-Srikriti Dahagam for MTTN

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