A Life Without Fear

have shorts will smoke

Image: Roberto Trombetta

This story was submitted by SMIW reader Meenakshi Ruhela to our campaign #HaveShortsWillSmoke.

The other day, I was in a public transport and the man sitting next to me wouldn’t stop staring at my breast, I stared back at him he looked away. Honestly, shy Indian men are adorable! Two months ago I was enjoying a quiet stroll at a beach at night and two men kept coming near me, passing lewd comments, I walked away faster and joined my group, they lost interest. Poor guys, I made them wait so long for me to be alone. A year ago I was in a metro and someone pinched my butt, I couldn’t see who it was and had to walk away sadly, without knowing my admirer.

This is maybe a small percentage of what happens everyday, with every girl but we don’t talk much about it because, hey! It’s normal. If you have a vagina, you will get stared at, no matter if you’re covered in a full sleeved kurta or a crop top. If you are out alone at night, you will be passed comments at, because that’s a man’s right, to appreciate beauty.

I read about how someone is sexually assaulted everyday and so I walk out of my house wishing, that I am not the one who gets raped today. Eve teasing  is okay and normal, because at least I’m not dead or broken yet. Ignorant? Yes. That is how I, and maybe some other girls like me think. We live life like it’s a bed of roses. How else would we survive knowing how close we are to being used like an object and thrown away any moment? It’s sad how all of these things have become normal. They happen every day to every woman so much so that we have stopped considering it threatening. If you’re out wearing shorts at night you will be raped, that’s common sense! this common sense hurts me the most. The society makes me question my womanhood, is it really a sin to be someone other than a man?

If you’re a woman or anyone other than the masculine man, you will be targeted. You face twice the trouble and oh, if you belong to a low caste or class, you’ve lost the right to be human. You’re suddenly invisible, except for the times men need somewhere to vent. You don’t even get to have a voice.This is what our society has come to and we blame the “feminazis” for being too harsh. Really? I think we should submit to being an object because if this is what it is to live in a human society, I don’t want to be human anymore.

I don’t need women to be celebrated, I just want to live my life without the fear of being attacked. I don’t want to be kept on a pedestal, I just want respect to live my life in peace, be seen for the person I am and not for the genitals I have. Being a woman is part of my identity, not the entire me.

I am not against the men of the world. I am against the violence, the mindset and everything that that reduces me to an object in this already crazy world.

Have Shorts. Will Smoke.