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Good men out there (we know you exist), don’t give knee jerk reactions to our troubles and do worse by restricting or disbelieving us; be our allies by unmasking the wolves.
First, understand this: when a woman is raped,
or murdered, or beaten, her pain echoes in her sisters.
our rage is a tidal wave; our fear a blue flame;
and our grief, a knife through the heart
we all have flashbacks, and for a little while, we are unable
to pretend that the roaring fear we live with is a mere whisper.
it is amazing how lonely dark roads, or burgeoning crowds
can both, set our hearts racing the wrong way.
at this point, I think this fear is coded into our DNA;
our daughters are born knowing this fear.
I flashback to all the times I was so close to the edge
not by choice, but by fate, and how I survived.
I was saved every time by good men like you,
who intervened, who got me home safely.
for that, I am truly thankful.
it is what comes after that makes me angry
all the rules, all the protection, all the good intentions
all the boundaries that good men like you draw around me
for fear that the bad men will cut my wings off, you bind them,
and the effect is the same – I cannot fly
I am the one who is blameless and yet I am the one in prison
and this makes me unbearably furious
so come brother, come father, come son, come friend
don’t defend our honour, because you think it is your property
go on the offensive instead,
if you say you’re on our side
be on our side completely
don’t laugh anymore, at the crude jokes
that reduce us to our vaginas
and when we say #MeToo,
don’t cocoon yourself in silence or worse, doubt.
speak up instead and tell the world
the things you heard in the locker room, the bar, the “bro” club.
be willing to bear the burden of every name we’ve ever been called
–hag, witch, pisachini, “bore,” “depressing,” rabid feminist,
be willing to be unpopular, be willing to go against “friends”,
be willing to do what is right.
tell your brothers, to do better and be better,
and show us the wolves who refuse to listen
we know that you know who they are.
this time, instead of “protecting” us to protect them
unmask them, and set us free.
or else, get out of the way, as we set things right.
because we’re nursing our wounds for now
but soon we will heal, and soon we will rise.
Image source: a still from the movie Badhaai Ho
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Vijayalakshmi Harish is a book blogger and writer. To paraphrase her librarian, she is a
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