Denying women their right to dignity, irrespective of an intact hymen or not, is rape. Pic for representational purpose only.
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On being raped, everyday

So what is rape, you ask me. I will tell you, if you care to listen.

Denying women their right to dignity, irrespective of an intact hymen or not, is rape. Pic for representational purpose only.
Denying women their right to dignity, irrespective of an intact hymen or not, is rape. Pic for representational purpose only.

“Looking goooood.”

Thank you very much, you naughty, creepy, lecherous stranger on the road. Going out is such an ego boost for me when every other day, a man tells me how ‘bootiful’ I am. On one instance, it was the pinnacle of originality when a young man with yellow teeth and dirt-caked brown hair yelled ‘Pretty Zinta.’ 

A few days ago, we observed the death anniversary of Nirbhaya. We contemplated, debated and yelled out opinions on whether security for women in our country has improved. I, forgive me, did not have a chance to do anything of that sort. 

Nobody wants to hear what I have to say any which way, because I haven’t been raped, in the medical sense of the term. I am just another Indian naari in jeans, or a skirt, carrying a cellphone or eating chowmein – all the criteria of a woman asking to be raped, as said by our illustrious politicians. Apparently, even mannequins aren’t safe from the lascivious nature of men. And I am just a living, breathing woman.

So what is rape, you ask me. I will tell you, if you care to listen.

You calling me sexy, but making me feel un-beautiful inside, is rape.

My neighbour’s grandfather groping my breasts in the staircase, when I was 14 and he 62, is rape.

Palming my behind in a crowded local when I can’t even turn around to see the offender, is rape.

Looking at my body like it is your possession, is rape.

My ex-boyfriend getting me drunk in a car in the hope of sex, is rape.

Constantly falling over me in a packed bar, shoving your penis into my clothes, is rape.

Every woman in India – rich, poor or middle-class, fair, ugly or average – has faced sexual abuse. Most deal with it every day, like eating, sleeping and working. It becomes a part of life, a monotonous aspect of the ugliness that just doesn’t disappear. A part of growing up, a part of the lessons we learn. To be felt up, groped or touched is ok, because it is not a man forcing his penis into my vagina. It is only then, will the rest pity me, fight for me, light candles for me. Maybe. If the rape is gruesome enough, the newspapers may even report it. Until that happens, such incidents of abuse are just something to deal with, like a bad-hair day.

Few are lucky to have been subjected to it once, or twice. Fewer are luckier to have access to help. Because let’s face it, forget politicians and the society, our very own families think it is our fault. Not only our mothers, sisters, brothers and neighbours, we ourselves have come to believe that living like this, dodging and elbowing our way, is the norm.

Denying women their right to dignity, irrespective of an intact hymen or not, is rape.

Penetration, by intention or accident, is not the only type of rape we face. Roving eyes and groping hands can rape us too. Careless words can rape us too. Anything against my conscious and clear agreement is rape.

But then, I am just a woman.

This blog was published here by DNA on Dec 19, 2015

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