I went out with my father and we stopped to get some groceries. Due to lack of parking space, he stayed back in the car. After buying the things I needed, while at the billing line, an old man came and stood behind me. The first time I felt it, I moved a step ahead believing it to be a mistake. The second time, I had my doubts and the third time, I felt disgusted.
I assume there are a minimum of 100 women that are groped on public transport everyday, just in my city. With almost every complaint, there comes a statement
“What did you do that provoked the man to touch you inappropriately?”
Every time I hear that question, I want to scream “Yeah, she walked up to him, smiled and told him she wants to get a room and so he touched her and she’s an idiot for standing here and complaining !” Am I the only person that finds that question so insanely ridiculous?
There was a recent article I read about rapes and a woman had commented “Women shouldn’t be told how to dress. Men should be taught to keep their pants zipped up.” I cannot quite agree with her. It is so easy to argue with that statement and talk about how groping doesn’t mean he has his pants down. Does that make it ok? And also, you’ll be surprised at just how many male rape victims there are in this world. Just because it’s not flashing on the news or being printed in big, bold letters in the front page of the paper, does not make it non-existent.
That old man’s hand brushing against my back made me question myself because for a minute I wondered whether my dress was too tight in the back or something was too flashy. Then I stopped and told myself that it wasn’t my fault that he didn’t have the basic decency or common knowledge that he shouldn’t be touching what belongs to someone else without their permission. Because here’s the thing :
I CAN CHOOSE TO WEAR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BUT MY UNDERWEAR AND WALK AROUND TOWN AND YOU STILL CANNOT TOUCH ME BECAUSE IT IS MY BODY. HEAR ME LOUD AND CLEAR WHEN I SAY, MY BODY ! NO MATTER HOW APPEALING OR UNAPPEALING IT LOOKS, IT BELONGS TO ME AND THERE IS NO EXCUSE YOU CAN GIVE FOR TOUCHING IT WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.
No man or woman would like for me to walk into their house and randomly throw their stuff and break their valuable things and say “Oh well” and walk out. My body is valuable to me. You cannot touch it, feel it or use it without my permission and when you do that and the world finds a reason to blame me for it, I find it ridiculous, absurd and unacceptable !
I keep thinking, what if instead of the old man trying to feel up a girl who is young enough to be his great granddaughter, we both stood in line and I just turned around and slapped him and said ‘Well, your face was annoying me. I needed to hurt it.’ ?!
I’m pretty sure the store would have thrown me out, the general public would have cursed me, cooed to the old man and told him I was a bitch. A gentleman in the corner might even call the cops. “How could you hurt someone for no reason?” But when he did what he did, the woman in the next counter just looked and turned her head away like nothing was happening. Here’s the thing. Even if I’d hit him till he bled, the physical scar would have faded but when someone violates you in a very personal way, the mental scar they leave stays with you.
We have gotten to a point where, when you read “Rape” on the newspaper, you say “Oh again” and turn to the next page. It is so common because the abusers and rapists are never fully blamed. There’s always that small part that questions what the victim did to deserve it. The victims hide their faces in shame and some of them never tell anyone about it in fear of the humiliation they might face through all the nonsense questions.
There are still places in this world where the people around the rape victim say “How will you ever show your face to the world again? You must be so ashamed.” To those people I’d like to say, FUCK YOU ! Not just for being so stupid but for killing any courage that poor human being might have when it wasn’t her or his fault and the one who should be ashamed is walking around like nothing ever happened because of people like you.
To the idiots that say “Yeah, a lot of people get groped on public transport. You have to live with it,” you are empowering the criminals and letting them get away with crimes such as stealing (a person’s feeling of safety), trespassing (a person’s private, personal space), hurting (a person’s emotions) and killing (a person’s self-respect). I think, you, dear asshole, are more to blame than the rapists and gropers.
Once we got home from the store, I told my dad what happened and he looked at me and said, “The next time someone does that, turn around and scream. Don’t let him get away with something like this. These are the people that slowly grow confident that the person on the receiving end isn’t reacting and will someday end up raping some innocent girl that goes his way.”
I couldn’t agree more. Stop their behavior when you still can. Teach the douchebags a lesson they won’t forget. One doesn’t have to be raped to feel violated. Even a brushing hand in a crowded bus feels like a blow to one’s emotions and feeling of security. Scream, shout and drag him to the cops. If someone questions you about how you provoked the groper/rapist, shove their name in there too. Let them all sit together and learn how to respect an individual.
Because the world might find a million reasons to blame you for it or tell you you’ll get over it, but at the end of the day, it’s YOUR BODY, YOUR RULES.