A woman is a goddess; she has the power to bring a new life into the world literally by experiencing one of the worst known pains by humankind. She is a daughter, sister, friend, wife, and mother. She’s the backbone of a family even if people fail to see her importance sometimes. From being a caring homemaker to a successful businesswoman or an actual rocket scientist— she is capable of donning many hats and even multitask brilliantly. Her poise and power are preached and prayed to by millions in this country; a society that worships at least a thousand goddesses almost every day. And even though a woman is a goddess, how does she feel? Well, if you’re a woman reading this article, you already know the answer. And you know it for sure; not even a speck of doubt or uncertainty.
It’s sad that almost every single girl in this world would have experienced something traumatizing just because she was born a girl. While some of us try to dig a deep hole into our minds and bury it all inside, it comes rushing back at times. And while we seldom share these memories with people, here are a few brave women sharing their anecdotes with our readers and encouraging them to recognize, react, and become more empowered.
Note: The following content can be sensitive and may be disturbing to some readers. Please go ahead only if you’re sure.
“I had once gone to buy milk. I was about 15 years of age and was living in Delhi at the time. When I reached the shop, there were two tall guys who had come to buy some stuff. I was standing just at the entrance of the shop, and the shopkeeper was an old man. I bought the milk, he went inside to get the change. Since the time I had come to the shop, I had already noticed them staring at me and smiling at each other. And then one of them stood behind me, trying to come closer and touch me. I could literally feel his crotch. Having no other option, I stupidly moved deeper into the inside of the shop. The guy followed and stood next to me. I was almost panicking but didn’t even know how to react. I was wearing a top and shorts. Just two minutes into the shop, he groped me. I could have peed in my shorts for sure. I chucked his hand; the man gave me a weird smile. And he tried to do it another time. But before he could, I fled from the shop without even taking the change even though I knew my mom would scold me for not getting the change. At that age, it was traumatic for me. I have never discussed this with anyone except my partner!”
– Pooja Saxena
“I’m 27 years old and this happened when I was attending a friend’s wedding quite recently. We were outside the hall where they served the food and it was quite crowded. There were a few men behind us who looked like they were drunk and just barged into the place uninvited. I kept talking to my friends who were with me when one of the men grabbed me from behind. At first I thought it was by mistake as it was crowded. I felt very uncomfortable then and it happened for a second time. This time, I was furious and I asked the man, “what the hell are you doing”? He said he wasn’t doing anything and I repeated the question louder this time. When people came in asking what’s wrong, the man and his friends fled from the place. Since that day, I’ve felt very uncomfortable and scared being in crowded areas where there are too many men.”
“When I was in 10th grade, I had an experience that still haunts me. I was returning home in the evening after school in a govt bus and was sitting in a 3-seater ladies’ seat. Suddenly a man came and sat next to me and took out his phone and shoved it in front of my face. He was showing me a pornographic video and I trembled. I froze to my seat not knowing what to do. I was just a child. I looked out the window, still not knowing how to react. The man left soon after that and the incident scarred me for life.”
– Anit Mathew
“This happened when I was living in Bangalore with my two other girl friends in a 1bhk apartment. It was around Christmas and both my flatmates had gone out of the city at the time. Even though I’m quite okay living by myself, that night I somehow felt intuitive about something bad that may happen. So, I locked the door in the hall, checked all the bolts and went to the bedroom and locked the bedroom door as well. I even wondered why I was being worried unnecessarily. It must have been around 1 AM, someone rang the doorbell. I woke up and looked at the time on my phone and froze. After ringing the bell for 2-3 times, it stopped. Then, I slowly opened the bedroom door and walked towards the main door to check outside through the peephole. Since it was dark outside I couldn’t make out if there was anyone on the other side of the door. Right at the moment, the person started banging on the door and he alternately started knocking hard on the window. My flat was on the terrace and the person could see figures through the window even if the glass was tinted since I hadn’t shut the drapes that night. I was so scared to even breathe or move. I sat down on the floor in the small gap between the door and the window, trying to hide. I thought I had lost my mind for a while and when I came back to my senses, I crawled back to the bedroom, bolted the door and called my male friends who were living nearby. They rushed to my place to see an unknown drunk guy standing on the terrace and threatened to call the cops if he didn’t leave. The building owner also got an earful that night. I would never forget this story and urge all girls who live alone to maintain contact with their friends who they can reach out to in such cases.”
“When I was visiting my hometown, Goa with my friends S and A, we decided to go for a late night walk in our jammies. Since it was cold, we were completely bundled up and enjoying the chilly Goan air. After a few hours of walking down a desolate road, we came across the main road. We started walking back towards my house when we noticed a man following us on his bike. He stopped his bike ahead of us and asked “Would you girls like a lift?”. We politely refused and continued on our way. Unfortunately, he followed us and started asking us for our “rate” and how he would pay us to spend the night with him. My friends and I nearly froze in shock as we had never been propositioned before. We ignored him and sped up but the man kept following us. Very soon, a masked friend of his joined in and they started circling us like sharks shouting out about how we should go with them. Thankfully, my quick-thinking friend threatened to call the cops and they got a little spooked and sped away. We ran home as we saw their bikes approaching again and managed to make it home safe. I wish I could say this was the last such incident I suffered, but unfortunately, there have been many more and there probably will be many more in my future.”
“The incident happened in the food court of a famous mall in Hyderabad, in 2013. My friend and I were walking and a couple of no-good goons crossed us and one of them exclaimed “WOW” to my friend, and sped away. I did not hear it, but my friend did and felt violated. We rushed to catch hold of him and screamed at the top of our lungs, “HOW DARE YOU! Teri himmat kaise hue ye bolne ke? Tere baap ke jagir hai ke kuch bhi bolega?” (How dare you have the balls to say anything , am I public property that you can say what you feel like?- loose translation). He apologized profusely and said, “sorry madam aagey se kisi ko nahi bolunga” (sorry madam , I will never do this again”). I wake with the hope that maybe today would be the day I can feel free to walk on the road without being objectified. Being a woman I find the strength in me to pray to god to just make the world a better place, where I am treated and respected as a human.”
“It was when I was a teenager when one of the family friends started to behave inappropriately. Though I was taught by my mom about good and bad touch, since the person was a fatherly figure, Icould not trust my instincts. I was in a dilemma to believe that something is really wrong with the person or if I was being judgemental about him. Then came a day he took all the courage he had to try to molest me. Fortunately, I got away and proper action was taken against him. But, I regret that I would have avoided the situation if I would have believed my natural instincts. I’d like to tell all the women reading this that we naturally have an intuitive power to sense danger. Believe it and act upon it. Danger won’t always come from strangers; sometimes, unfortunately and unexpectedly, it could be from very closed ones too.”
“This happened in Hyderabad where I lived in a PG. Me and my friends were just outside a popular bakery and they were cutting one of the girls’ birthday cake. For a moment I was staying a bit away from them and two men raced through my side after hitting hard against my breasts. I couldn’t even realize what happened because it all happened too fast. Even though I wanted to share everything with my parents, I was afraid that I’ll be forced to leave the city and return to my hometown thereby jeopardising my entire career. Hence, I never told this to my family and this was an incident that runs shiver down my spine every time I think of it.”
“All my life, I had a feeling that being a woman is a curse. I did my schooling at a girls-only school, and I don’t have any male siblings. So, it is very obvious that I was never surrounded by men in my life and assumed that all men are bad except my dad (All this credit goes to savdhan India – a show based on real-life stories). However, when I was around 10 years old I was teased by a group of boys in broad daylight while I was returning from school. Then I was molested by many elderly men in many places (including markets, functions, and family gatherings). I hated my body thinking it was all because of it and blamed myself. It affected me so badly that I started isolating myself and had suicidal thoughts in my early teens and also used to shiver whenever I saw any guy. Then one day, my mother came across my diary and talked to me about it. Since then, I promised myself to be stronger and work on it. PS: I am still not over that fear (a working independent woman).”
“This happened to me when I was in the 8th grade. I was walking to the bus stop to catch the bus that would take me to school. I always took a small alley that opened up to the main road. The alley wasn’t dark and was fairly frequented. One day, in this alley, a man in his mid 40s emerged from an old house, showing me his private part and asked me if he could do things to me. I ran to the bus stop as fast as I could, crying. I felt so disgusted and ashamed as though I had done something wrong. The next day, I told my neighbor, a senior from school about what happened. She held my hand and took me to confront him, and she yelled at him and he ran away. She was so brave even when she was scared and I still remember that day vividly. It wasn’t the first and last time that something like this happened, but having someone like my senior really helped me overcome a lot of fear. Being a woman is hard, and scary, and sometimes there is nothing I feel than hopeless. But we have to learn to stand for ourselves, in whatever small way we can and help anyone, in any capacity.”
“I was visiting a temple with my parents when a man who looked like a staunch devotee came and stood in front of me. As my parents were busy talking to their acquaintances, I looked around to spot the man staring at my breasts. I was barely 18. I glanced at him fiercely and he looked away. Within a minute I noticed him repeating himself. He wasn’t even aware that I was staring at him. I had to bend down to the level of my chest to meet his eyes. I asked him what the hell he was doing. As usual, the man denied everything. And when my father approached, I told him what happened and by then the man walked away. I wanted to let everyone know what he had done, but my parents pulled me away from the place saying that such people can be dangerous and I should let it go. Their reaction made me feel worse than anything ever at that time. But now when I think about it, I understand their fear and I wish women and parents of girl children didn’t have to bear with this fear.”
These are just a few in a sea of traumatizing events faced by women. We celebrate women’s day every year and people gift us flowers and chocolates and free dinners. But what we really want is a life without fear, devoid of all the experiences that are shared above. Opening up about such incidents takes a lot of courage and we applaud all the women who share their stories to spread awareness. If your experience can alert at least a few women or make someone who doesn’t understand the fear and pain on the other side, feel badly about their actions or intentions, it helps. It always does.
Share your experiences and opinions on this article in the comments section for our readers.
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