WARNING: This piece is written by angry feminists. Proceed only if you can deal with them. (SUCH A SISYPHEAN TOIL FOR ALL OF YOU)
Dear NLU Delhi,
I apologize. I am extremely sorry for my behaviour thus far. Really. How dare I do what I did. How dare I complain. I was dancing in my hostel at night (one with glass windows at that) and some honourable men sexually harassed me. How dare I bitch about it. It wasn’t a big deal, was it? I should have just shut up about it and stayed in my room and never danced again. Wasn’t that the natural solution? What a dumb bitch I was.
My supreme concern should have been to think about the victimization of these honourable men when I decided to complain. Such social stigma manhood carries, tauba tauba. Never gave the plight of men a single thought. And as a lot of victims are often asked- did I not even think about the career prospects of the men whom I complained against? WHAT ABOUT THEIR AMARCHAND JOBS?! What about the impression of the college on the ICICI recruiters who had come that day? It was my underlying duty to specify the number of men, their batches, their appearances – god forbid that I cast a shadow on the morals of any other man.
How dare I complain of facing harassment and raise a tamasha about it? Really, what good are any of these candle marches and poster protests? It’s not cool. What about the comfort of the men who would be forced to look at the tamasha ridden sight, full of ugly posters about my rights? Some men were forced to defend their innocence as they stood in the protest with a placard saying- I’m a third year boy, and I have morals. Why did we do this to all the boys? Why boycott elections defaming our entire batch? WHY?
Seriously, I should have known better than to dance to sexist music after a couple of weeks of bitching about harassment. Dancing to music with sexist lyrics just discredits everything you do or say before it. Dancing to sexist music makes harassment okay. It’s the same thing, isn’t it? And of course, even though I exist in the same social context as everyone else, I must let go of all patriarchal notions of what entertainment is, the moment I decide to complain against a violation of my rights. I must carry this extra burden to prove my loyalty to my rights. I must apologise publicly the moment I do so. I mean, if I complained about harassment and ‘preach’ about it, it is my responsibility to apologise to everyone. Trying to engage people in a discussion puts me on a higher moral ground after all, I’m holier-than-thou, DUH GUYS. The moment Honey Singh objectified a woman’s body I should have stood frozen on the dance floor with all the joy dropping out of me and I should have ran to the DJ and shut everything off. All this, I should have pulled off skillfully so as to not invite the ire of the men (some honourable men) and women who would brand me a feminazi. It should be done, it’s not easy – we’re trying, but it takes time. No one said internalised sexism is easy to combat. The onus to fight this rests on all of us. And as the article raising concerns about Honey Singh screams- Feminism is for everyone. Yes it is. And that is exactly why you shouldn’t place a special burden on victims and those who stand by them.
I deserve all the ire directed at me by the officials, by the teachers, by my peers, by everyone. No one must question the acts of the men. My methods must be questioned. I should not have sabotaged your peaceful lives. I deserved to be shouted at by the VC, the Registrar and everyone else who called it a ‘small incident’. Of course, all of this neatly played out while a member of the College’s Internal Complaints Committee stood and watched silently. I should have undertaken a fact finding mission in the boys’ hostel as to who the perpetrators were, before complaining that I was harassed. And while I’m at it, I should take the accusation of sending in ‘spies’. I should be forced to listen to more canteen conversations about how I should have ‘handled this better’. Of course, none of this can be directed at the men, lest they feel too victimized. (Because obviously men’s lives, men’s morals, men’s stakes are always graded higher than the victims’ – how dare we, how dare anyone of us complain?!)
“Yes, you were sexually harassed and that was wrong. BUT HOW DARE YOU ACCUSE ALL MEN OF HAVING NO MORALS, ITS NOT OUR FAULT!!!”
“Not all men.” Fine. But pointing out individual exceptions doesn’t help us understand or combat behaviors that really are mainly committed by men, from small things like interruptions up to domestic violence and rape. Not all men beat their partners, but people who beat their partners are mostly men. Pointing out that you’re not one of them doesn’t help us figure out how to understand and deal with that problem.
I apologize further, for being a third year girl. I have often been told that all the girls in my batch are hypersensitive and that is why all complaints of harassment are from third year girls. It’s true, Sometimes, at night I sit and conspire with my friends about what new complaint of harassment I should file against some totally random person. It’s how I pass my time when I am not planning to dress ‘provocatively’ the next day. I could not possibly wear the clothes I want to wear with no motive in mind. Far too many people have told me my clothes are provocative. I am told- “Ye third year girls ki problem kya hai? Kitna provocatively dress karte hain”. It’s true, my every act is for you, honourable man. Everything I do, I do it for you. My skirt is for you, so are my shirts, so is my body. My body stopped being mine the moment I was born with a vagina.
And let us all remember how-yes, we are allowed to complain against sexual harassment and fight for equal rights, but never-ever-ever-make a generalisation lest you tarnish the reputation of honourable men and they’re forced to write articles and comments to prove their worth and innocence.
Yaar, now even this rant too much ho gaya – when will this feminist brigade (wonder who they are) ever stop? Itna kyun soch rahe hai. Chhodo na. Actually no, kal poster lag jaayega. Ain’t nobody got the time for that.
Cause actual sexual harassment isn’t going down in this college. We have the bast-of-the-bast everything. These feminists with their posters have to make a big deal out of everything. Why don’t they just chill out.
Shweta, Aarushi, Kavya and Pearlita
Wish you’d engage.
(Please note that the content of this rant represents the views of only these people as individuals and not those of the groups/ committees they represent or of all the people who faced the harassment.)
PS: These articles and comments in response to which this rant has been written, may make the generalisations and shaming stop, but it has made our campus an even more hostile place for victims who want to raise their voice against harassment. Cause sexual harassment is bad, but generalisations- HELL NO. (This backlash was created even though no generalization was made by us. Only statements of facts were made. We were harassed. That was it.) Instead of telling women that it’s not all men, show them. Show them by listening and supporting.