Over the years, your support has made Women’s Web the leading resource for women in India. Now, it is our turn to ask, how can we make this even more useful for you? Please take our short 5 minute questionnaire – your feedback is important to us!

Wear A Saree And No One Will Rape You, They Said [Poem]

Society tells women to wear a Saree and be a good girl so that no one can rape you. But the truth is- dress has nothing to do with any form of sexual abuse.

Society tells women to wear a Saree and be a good girl, so that no one can rape you. But the truth is- dress has nothing to do with any form of sexual abuse.

I scrub, I re-scrub, I soap.
I soap, I scrub, I wash again.
Repeating,
Till I feel I’m squeaky clean.

The groping in the rain.
Must come off.
I towel myself.
Stop midway and scrub again.

The indecent brush of fingers over my Saree clad navel.
I must scrub again.
Scrub. Scrub. Wash.
Soap. Scrub. Clean again.
Rid my body,
Of bad grime.

Wear a Saree, they said.
Like a woman should,
They said.
Not jeans, not tees.
A decent Saree.

I wore a Saree, as decently
As possible.
I was rewarded with stares,
And incredulous glances.

No Saree could change the already seasoned mind.
I stooped, and their eyes stopped with me.
I stopped and their eyes raped me.
Undressing me.
Harassing me.
Clawing me.
Pawing me in between flesh,
Between the folds of my Saree.

Scrub. Scrub. Scrub.
Wash. Soap. Scrub.
It lathers well and washes clean,
Says the label.

Never miss real stories from India's women.

Register Now

No miracle soap can wash my skin from the grime that has settled on,
Like second skin almost.
I wonder if I should use a body wash.
Snaking hands in between the cottony,
Thinness.
Groping,
Hungrily waiting,
To gather flesh.
What pleasure?
What love?
What did my saree show?

Didn’t it wrap me up in good girl light?
Like a girl who wears Kum Kum and goes to temples like all good girls?
Didn’t it conceal my flesh?
A rush of bile to my mouth.
Poison spitting vampire stares.
Snake venom.
Poisoned minds.
Know not to treat a good saree wearing woman.
A saree wearing good girl.

Why was I touched in places that made me cringe?
Was I not human underneath my Saree?
Was I not human enough to wish for pride,
Of being a woman and not a zombie.
Underneath my good girl saree?

I’m ashamed of my saree, actually.

It failed to conceal my sex,
Like a good black burqa.
It failed to mask my body,
My hidden lush, my beauty.
It failed to protect me like they all said it would.
It failed to be my saviour in disguise.

My saree.
Showed my curves,
Showed my naked vulnerability,
And put me prey before hungry hunting eyes.
But they said it would project me in good light.
With a saree, I’d be spared.
A saree would be my saving grace they said.
They promised.

All of them.
With their wide cheshire cat grins.
A Saree.
Can it change seasoned minds to not sin?
My Saree.
Burnt and shredded.
Lies in the kindling embers of a growing garbage pile.

Cover image via Shutterstock

Comments

About the Author

Fiona Kezia Winston

Poet. Published Writer. Spoken Word Artist. Entrepreneur. Avid Reader. Amateur Boxer. Wannabe Motivational Speaker. Dog Lover. Dreamer. I’m the hurricane that does not bow to your circus whips. 2nd Book out on Amazon: www. read more...

17 Posts | 45,253 Views

Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!

Doing Good is #BeautifulInDeed

""
All Categories