As a woman growing up in India, she was used to being terrified of the possibility of rape. These days, however, she encountered incidents of rape on every page of her local daily. And although she had been taking self-defence lessons most of her adult years, she found herself perpetually hounded by the fear of rape, until it imprisoned her mind and immobilized her body.
Sadly, every report of these horrific incidents was accompanied by a new restriction imposed on women, adding to what seemed to be a never-ending list of dos and don’ts (mostly don’ts) that were clearly impossible to follow.
Don’t go out after sunset.
Don’t visit deserted places.
Don’t get on a private bus after dark.
Don’t sleep in a cab.
Don’t drink in a club.
Don’t party on New Year’s eve.
And so on…
With each passing day, her faith in humanity diminished, and she was left with a gnawing belief that she lived in a world where rape was no longer a mere possibility, but an inevitable reality; a world filled with predatory bus conductors, cab drivers, boyfriends, husbands, brothers and even fathers. Surrounded by this grim reality, could she do anything other than living every day of her life shrouded in the foul-smelling blanket of fear?
Then, one day, she uncovered a simple truth, hidden within her all this while, buried under layers of restrictions They had imposed on her. By living in the shadow of fear, she wasn’t living at all, while They continued to derive pleasure out of her misery, and strength out of her weakness. That was the day she finally freed herself; denying Them the power to sneak into her mind; refusing Them the authority to violate her body, her soul.