Fear gripped her heart every time she had to walk back home alone after dusk; fear gripped her heart every time she had to take an auto rickshaw after the streetlights come on; fear gripped her heart every time she went to a public pool; fear gripped her heart every time someone stood at a close proximity to her. Fear gripped her heart.
Fear was an old acquaintance for she had been molested before; she had been a victim, for the lack of a better word, of eve teasing; she had been groped in public by people who otherwise look as innocent as grace itself; she has had to fight off unwanted sexual advances of not just strangers but also kin; she had been objectified on enough occasions to have lost count; and she lives with the knowledge that she is nothing more than a piece of meat to many people.
Today, after work, as she walked down the dark alley to her vehicle, she made it a point to walk with her held high. Fear gripped her heart but she would not let it show. After she got into her car and closed the door, she let out a sigh. She momentarily let her guard down. She knew that Fear will always accompany her… unless there were waves of change which cleansed the society; unless gender equality ceased being a myth.
Even she was not that optimistic.
She put her guard back into place and put on her seat belt. As the car pulled out of the parking space, words from a book by Taylor Stevens crossed her mind:
“But people like the doll guy who sells women and the dog guy who buys women, and other guys who, say, rape women, or maybe don’t go as far as violent rape but treat women like objects instead of people—sure, there’s a difference in the level of crime, but it’s all the same thing, where women become a canvas for throwing emotional baggage, Jackson Pollock style.”
She smiled to herself and drove off accompanied by her old friend, Fear.
Reported by Trishima Reddy