Sunday, December 13, 2009

No More Silence!


As I write this in the middle of the night, I feel strange and lonely. My parents and sister had been over for the weekend from Chennai and I've just left them at the railway station. Perhaps it is the parting that is taking me time to adjust to. No.! It's not that.! I've been away from home quite often and I know that feeling. This is not that.!

As I headed back home after leaving them at the station, I had the unfortunate experience of witnessing something. I was walking back from the bus stop, when there appeared opposite me, a fat unruly man and in his tight grip a girl of not more than thirty years of age. I could sense some tension between them, but I decided to turn away lest I be invading upon someone else's privacy. But then suddenly he stopped and wildly slapped her across the face, pulling her hair, asking her to walk ahead. I stopped in my tracks and kept watching. He then suddenly pushed her down and as she fell down and winced in pain, I turned back and slowly advanced towards them, trying to muster some courage and frame some sentence in Kannada, which I'm not yet fully comfortable with, to protest. But then, he picked her up and kept walking into the night, into the dark, while I turned back and kept walking with anguish in my heart, hoping and praying that the girl is relieved of her ordeal. What really made it all the more difficult for me to intervene was the silent admission with which the girl bore the brunt of it all.

We hear a lot about domestic abuse of women, trafficking, sex slavery and what not ?. I've never really understood the actual pain and trauma, but today when I stood witness to that inhuman act of violence, it really dawned upon me how humiliating it must have been for that woman. It disturbs me to think of how such physical abuse would be within the confines of an house. There is totally no escape route. The sheer trauma and stark horror of it all just numbs my mind.

How will this problem be addressed ? Is it through education of the masses? Is it through education of women ? But then have there not been instances of such abuse even in well-educated and well to do families.? Perhaps it is due to this whole male-dominated Indian society where we still follow dated assumptions and meaningless conventions of how a woman must be.? But then are there not such incidents witnessed even in the most developed countries.

I will have a disturbed sleep tonight. I am making a resolve today. I should not and will not keep quiet, if god forbid there is a next time. I will make my protest heard loud and clear. I also hope that no woman tolerates this silently. Women, of the world, I hope and pray that you remain safe, that you never will remain a silent victim. You have the right to stop it! In such circumstances, silence is not the key, silence is not golden!