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The next time you decide that a woman must have "done something" to be harassed or abused in any way - think again. The truth is that no woman asks for suffering.
The next time you decide that a woman must have “done something” to be harassed or abused in any way – think again. The truth is that no woman asks for suffering.
Sia was very excited, it was Holi. The festival of colours was always a very happy and fun one in their household. Sia, had just turned twelve, and this was special because she had permission to go and play Holi all by her self with her friends, away from the family. It was a big deal to have earned the trust of her family like this.
She was walking down the road to meet her friends, and “thwak”, something hit her on her near her neck; it hurt like hell. So much so, that she could not move. She looked down and saw pieces of stones lying on the ground along with a burst bag and some water. She had just walked out of the gate of her building and she thought it wise to go back home – now, the pain was much more than her excitement.
The boys in her area were known to be notorious, her mother said. “I should never have let you go alone, today of all days,” her father said. She never went anywhere alone after that. She was scared that another bag of stones would make her parents feel guilty.
Sia moved on and grew up to be a bright and beautiful teenager. She had learned to be afraid of being alone, and going out alone, so she surrounded herself with a lot of people. ‘Friends” she called them, and they were the best part of her life, her escape from the cage so to say. One day one of the guys professed his love for her. She was shocked. She told her mom, and her mom said, “It had to be something you had done. You must have given him the impression. Why would someone say that otherwise?” Sia knew she would never find friends again; she did not know how to behave with them. So she started pushing them away. A few stayed, and secretly, she was thankful.
Sia had become lonely and it did not help that she did not like to do the things that were thought to be girly. She always got along with guys better, and got called names – whore, bitch, slut were just some of them. So she stopped,;one day she just stopped being friends and standing up for herself and defending herself. She just stopped living. She had one agenda, do whatever is expected of her by her family. She was the good girl, studying hard and working towards a goal she did not want. She did whatever the family and society asked of her, and she did it quite well.
Sia had no job; well, how could she? She just did what was expected of her, things she she never wanted to in the first place. Her parents decided that it was ‘time to get her married’. She obliged and there was a big show put up for the wedding. After all there were people judging her parents and her based on the wedding expenses. Sia would have liked a small intimate wedding. But then, by now, Sia had stopped to matter to anyone.
She was tortured through her marriage; her husband had an affair, and he abused her in every way possible. It is said, ‘When you are down and at your worst, is when you begin to rediscover yourself.’ And Sia could not get any lower than this. All her life she had been bending, and accepting accusations. She decided, “No more.” She decided to stand up, and raise herself above all this. People still blamed her. It had to be her fault – her husband’s behavior, her parents’ disappointment – all her fault. But Sia needed only one person to believe that it wasn’t Sia’s fault, and that one and only person was Sia, and for now Sia was enough.
Sia had always told that it was her fault, that she was asking for the pain, the harassment and the torture, when all Sia did was obey the rules all her life. Have we as a society become so used to blaming the girl that everything and anything automatically becomes her fault? Have we forgotten to see wih our eyes, hear with our ears and think with our brains?
Remember to question whether the opinion you express is your own or someone else’s when you blame a girl for standing up on social media to a man who harasses her, or a put a lady down when she is threatened for expressing her opinions.
Woman running free image via Shutterstock
Jaibala Rao is a Writer and a Poet whose life revolves around the people she loves, her family, her friends and her toddler. She says that words define her, and writing and reading compete to read more...
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She would serve everyone fresh food and serve herself the stale rice and curries from the previous meal. Some days after finishing the leftovers she was so full she would not even be able to even taste the fresh food.
When I married the first time, my MIL told me that during the Navratri the lady of the house should not eat stale food. ‘Gharatlya bai ni shila khau naye’ — in refined upper caste Marathi.
I was just 26, eager to please, not versed in patriarchy or feminism, and it seemed like a positive thing — respect for the goddess in woman.
But soon I realised she spent the remaining 356 days of her year finishing leftovers. And that I was expected to do the same.
In an unequal world with fewer women in the workforce, and facing gender pay gaps everywhere, negotiating salary can be an essential skill.
The thought of negotiating salary can be daunting, especially for women. Here are the six steps to achieve favourable outcomes from salary negotiations.
*Names changed on request to protect privacy.
I stared at the offer letter. The company had offered me a 20% increase over my current compensation – the lower end of the range I had conveyed after two gruelling interview rounds. There was a further devil in the details; they had included gratuity in the compensation offered, whereas I had not considered this component in my take-home calculations.