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I’m raging at the man who simply groped and strode away, confident that I would not do anything. I was 16.
I have been a daughter and a woman on Indian soil.
When I began my own trauma work, I uncovered my suppressed memory of a morning on the railway platform. This man whizzed past me so fast with one hand on his ‘Topla’ on his head, one free hand adroitly, deftly moved to my left breast, pinched it really hard, and before I could react strode away very fast.
The pain was excruciating enough for me to begin sobbing. There were very few people on the station who even noticed, but my body did, and does so even today.
Trauma imprints the body so deeply that it interferes in all long term intimacy aspects.
I have the gentlest of spouses, and yet when the trauma triggers resurface, I find myself raging at nothing in particular.
I’m raging perhaps at that man who simply groped and strode away. Not ran away, or fumbled away. Strode with sure, long strides, as if it was his everyday business. It must have been. He knew he would get away.
If I could, I would have reflexively pushed him on the railway tracks and seen him being pulped into nothingness, such was the rage and pain.
I had suppressed this memory from age 16 to until a few months ago, as I turned into my trauma spaces.
Till date, I wonder what I could have done to invite this or avoid this.
I could not take this to my womenfolk, for I knew the answer, “Happens to all, forget it!”
In that, these pervert men enjoy safety. They know they have the sanction to all their malicious actions and intentions.
Today as I got up, I read this covert sanction converted into a legal sanction.
I read and re-read several times to understand any detail that would not fit or was misread by me, due to the personal trigger.
No, the minor was taken by this man to his house. He pressed/pulled her breasts. He fondled her. Groped her.
Our court rules that he only outraged her modesty, and that he did not sexually assault her.
I would like to tell the judge what indeed would have transpired in the year 2016 till now, and after today what might be the precedent for women who already feel unsafe. Now they will feel downright terrorised.
Dear Honourable High Court Judge, the girl has already been imprinted by an irreversible trauma in her body.
Her body will always remember the shock, the breach of trust, the sudden shame and helplessness.
She will be shamed by her own people with questions like, “Why did you go there with him? What did you want to eat so desperately?”
She would ask herself, why did she go there.
She will never be able to accept friendly invites from anyone ever, without remembering this incident. She will hesitate without knowing why. She will put herself down each time she thinks of this incident.
That moment will become a frozen moment in trauma. Her spontaneity will be gone forever.
Everything about that day will fill her with dread. The colour of clothes she was wearing, the statements she spoke, the food that was used as a lure, the time of the day.
Her body and her heart will never be able to shake off the lecherous look she must have witnessed up close.
The best of a spouse’s intimate glances may hurt her, for in every male gaze she may see that vitriolic look. Her experience intimacy is clouded forever.
She may never enjoy the art of finding sexual pleasure from her breasts being touched. Something fragile something tender has been crushed here!
Hon. Judge, in interpreting the law and the nitty-gritty, you had to take into account the psychological and long term damage.
You gave sanction to every perversion to cloak themselves, conduct themselves heinously, and stride away, for they took care to avoid skin to skin contact!
The ultimate control is in the hands of us women, the mothers and the teachers, and whoever cares to never allow the above story to unfold in this way.
Forbid your daughters from cowering. Let us have fierce conversations with sons and daughters on why this is so unhealthy. Sexual intent is in the eye, in the words, in the touch whatever level it may be.
Women do complain that men undress them with their eyes. Don’t just complain. When it happens simply call it out fearlessly. Make noise even if you are manipulated with guilt and shame.
This is simply not permissible. Stop it. Forbid it. Scream at it.
Even if one wiggle makes you uncomfortable, it is time to say it, not shift uncomfortably and let it pass.
I did that once with a relative who tried to sleep on my lap. I yelled hard enough to let him know, my lap is a space for my spouse and children, not anyone else.
I want to tell every woman to broadcast this in word and behaviour.
Your body is not an experimental laboratory for them to use it as a sexual outlet. Stem it.
If you see it happening to someone, storm in.
As a parent, let your girls and boys know boundaries.
Boundaries others must not cross
Finally, I want Honourable Supreme Court to take suo moto cognisance, call out the judge for her literal and insensitive interpretation of the law. and set a precedent with a statement that ‘groping’ is an assault too. It is traumatizing, and that minor girl did not deserve to see her predator go scot-free!
Supreme Court please step in.
Let us share our rage so that this incident gives voice to countless women who shift uncomfortably when groped and wriggled at, but keep mum because everyone opines ‘Happens to all!’
Our Courts must definitely change this stance!
Published here first.
Image source: Mikoto-Raw on pexels
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