Rape – Is it the Only Problem?

Jan 17th, 2013 | By | Category: Articles, Uncategorized

Is Rape the Only Problem? These days it is impossible to watch any news channel for more than fifteen minutes without watching a gruesome rape story unfold.  This makes me wonder how we, as a society, are going to handle this issue, and more importantly is rape the only issue to be tackled?

Let me share a story with you. This is the first time I am penning this down or even talking about it in public.  I am sure after reading it every girl living in India will be able to relate to my story.

I was 13 then. Like most South Indian tam-brahm girls, I was into classical music and dance. But my journey to and from the class was hell; every time without fail.  A group of local boys living nearby used to wait on bikes to eve tease me.

I was always dressed in salwar-kameez with my dupatta fully covering me. I liked salwars, but I liked wearing short kurtis and jeans too. However, I was too scared to wear them to class. On my way to the classes, I ensured that except for my feet and face, not an inch of my body was visible.

My parents also advised to dress carefully to avoid such street side rogues. I did it all. But I faced fear every time. The boys, dotting the entire way to the classes, chased me sometimes. Once, they threw a bucket of water at me, drenching me completely, and I went back home crying all the way. They did different things each time – shouting vulgar comments about my body, or dress; describing my figure, walking alongside me trying to get close and, of course, trying something nasty; holding my hand, pulling me towards them, touching my body parts, and making me feel completely helpless.

I told my parents about everything. They felt bad. They were angry, but they felt just as helpless as I did. They warned me to be extra cautious and take a different route to my class. I knew that was not THE solution.  I know now that even my parents knew it. But like most middle class Indian parents with a girl child, they didn’t want to go to the cops or make a big issue out of it.

For a while, I felt like I should stop going to the singing and dancing classes, but I decided not to stop them, especially due to fear of being teased. I continued and so did these activities.

Be it traveling by bus, or even waiting for one, I was a victim of abuse almost every day. Every time I tried to resist in my own way. I shouted at the perpetrators, I gave them angry looks, I yelled at them but it was all in vain.

This went on till probably I was 21. Yes, nearly 8 years.

The first time things changed was when a guy stopped me on the street, asking for my name as he held me. I gathered all the courage I could and refused. He didn’t like the instant rejection and tried to manhandle me. I had had enough and it was years of frustration and anger that triggered me to do what I did next. I somehow freed myself from his grip, removed my footwear (the famous Indian sandal) and started beating him up. Even today, I don’t know why and how I did what I did. Maybe it was all the frustration and helpless anger pent up inside me all these years that made me take this step. Seeing me hit a guy, the other people gathered around to come to my rescue.

All these people did not appear magically.

They were watching that guy harassing me but had chosen to remain silent and kept minding their own business.  Only when I took action, did they act too. That day I realized that ‘self defense is the best defense’.

My parents were furious when they found out about what had happened. But, they were more scared than furious.

“What if that guy gets a group of men tomorrow to rape you? What if he kidnaps you?”

These kinds of questions were thrown at me again and again. I was tired. Tired of being silent. Tired of staying in fear. Tired of being unable to fight back. Tired of losing my self-respect and watching nothing change.

Today I am 25. I went on to pursue a successful career in America. But even today when I come to visit my parents, I see the same spineless goons on the same street. And they still try to make a pass at me or something when they see me.  It seems strange to me, and I wonder how some things never change.

So the real question is where do we start? Rape is surely a priority. But it all starts on a smaller scale. The things that I have described is how I feel these men really get the courage to do what they ultimately do – shatter a girl’s life and dreams. The change needs to be right at the grassroots level.  Change needs to happen in the well-lit and well-populated streets that we walk on every day, and the dark corners and shady lanes might just take care of themselves. The next time you watch someone in distress, don’t just stand there hoping and thinking it’s nothing serious. Intervene. Make a better world.

(Image Courtesy: binababy12 from sxc.hu)

Tags: , ,


This post has been viewed by 7402 unique visitors.

Janani is a 25-year-old supply chain professional by profession, and a singer and writer by passion. Janani is very random with her thoughts and in her writings. She loves watching drama, and unfolding drama in real life as well. She is keen on taking her passions to the next level. If you want to know more about her, you can follow her on her blog or Twitter.

Janani Karthik has written 1 articles on The MAG. View all articles by

One comment
Leave a comment »

  1. Thanks for sharing your honest story, I need say, those goons also have families & are leading a double standard life, so does we while walking on the street fearfully.

    We need to muster the courage to do the right thing because its right.

    So the real answer is – Magic lies in living our life with integrity & if you refused loudly someone will hopefully help you.

    I liked most – Change needs to happen in the well-lit and well-populated streets that we walk on every day, and the dark corners and shady lanes might just take care of themselves.

Leave Comment