Tag: rape

nirbhaya (adj.) the fearless one.

Note: The events that happen in this poem are all real and happened on the night of December 16th, 2012 to a girl named Jyoti. Unfortunately she didn’t survive although, fought very hard to. Her death led to several protests across India and sparked various questions against every Indian woman’s safety.
Eventually, she became known as Nirbhaya, meaning; the fearless one.
Her rapists are being hung 8 years later, a few days from now.
Through this poem which was extremely painful for me to write, I hope to remind everyone that she was one of the most powerful women to exist and that her death was not in vain.

trigger warning: rape, sexual assault, violence.

11:00 PM. The film was beautiful,
He and I walk hand in hand,
There is a storm coming,
They always come by surprise,
Starting with light rain,
And then hit unexpectedly,
Always leaving a huge wound,
One that could take years to heal,
I had no idea,
That soon there would be a wound so vast,
So powerful,
It’d scar me forever. 
Yet right now,
I just wish to go home,
After a long tiring day,
That’s what we all want, right?
—-
11:15 PM.
He and I board the bus,
There are only five people,
Yet the night feels lonely,
Maybe it’s just me?
The driver looks at me,
Turns forward,
Looks at me again,
Turns forward,
Didn’t we already pay for a ticket? 
I turn to him,
He’s not the………r….e…….
—–
11:17 PM.
Their hands on me are like a storm,
Unexpected and unwelcomed,
My body is the earth,
Now filled with mud,
Mud I can never get rid of. 
I scream,
The hands only change,
Yes,
There are five of them,
I close my eyes,
Maybe not all of us get to go home after a long tiring day,
Nevertheless, 
I want to survive. 
—-
11:25 PM.
The driver changes,
And so do the hands,
My voice is gone,
And so is any worth I had left,
The men stop,
And whisper amongst each other,
What’s happening?
And then it comes,
The loudest scream this world has ever heard,
This world once filled with distant stars and lonely nights,
Now only lurks of unheard voices covered with horrendous sights,
They take turns penetrating it,
It’s silver and shiny,
Dug deep in the ground when done,
And used while making buildings,
But,
When did I become one? 
—-
11:28 PM.
It takes all in me to look behind,
I see two of them,
Beating him up,
Soon they’ll back,
For their turn with me,
I close my eyes again,
I think of all those times I heard tales of such women on the news,
I think of how they felt,
And how I thought I’d never know.
One of them looks younger than me,
He’s a boy,
I feel no mercy,
Just pity,
Something must be wrong with this country,
For him to not be learning the power of books,
But the power of rods.
—-
11:30 PM.
It’s over.
I don’t feel my body anymore,
I can’t lift an inch.
Abh kya karna hai inka, Ram bhaiya?’
‘Vo hi jo socha tha, Mukesh aur maine.’
Anger runs in my veins stronger than the blood,
With all my might,
I scream again,
Mukesh slaps me,
Picks my body up, 
Not forgetting to grab my breasts,
And then removing his hands,
Like they weren’t ripe enough for him,
Ram grabs my friend,
They throw us off the bus.
—-
11:32 PM.
I am lifeless,
Naked, 
My body isn’t mine anymore,
I don’t want it to be,
I look over at him,
And I remember how he was telling me about his dreams an hour ago,
I think of my own,
And how they seem even further away,
Than the stars in the sky,
Never will I ever get to wear a lab coat with pride again,
Become a doctor and make my parents proud,
My parents,
Memories flash through my mind,
Faster than this night seems to pass,
With the tiny amount of strength I have left,
I take the film ticket out of my pocket,
For a second I’m reminded of how delighted I was when I bought it,
I take out a pen from my other pocket,
Slowly I scribble,
As the words my mother said to me,
The day I cried in her lap when I was 15,
Repeat in my brain,
Kabhi haar mat maarna, Jyoti.
My body gives out,
And the paper lies right where they entered me,
Only four words remain on it,
I want to survive.
—-
11:35 PM.
Himmat bhi nahi haari,
Sahas bhi nahi gaya,
Nirbhaya,
Nirbhaya,
Nirbhaya.

p.s: she actually did scribble that note.

Mahabharat and Bharat

 They say Mahabharat and Bharat aren’t the same,
Yet husbands still seemingly own their wives,
Yudhistra gambled Draupadi away,
Marital rape is still legal,
For law doesn’t care about a wife’s say. 

They say Mahabharat and Bharat aren’t the same,
Yet women are still touched,
Like their bodies are pieces of fabric,
Just like when Dushasan touched Draupadi,
Sanji Ram touched Asifa,
And Mukesh touched Jyoti.

They say Mahabharat and Bharat aren’t the same,
Mariyam screams 
‘Talaaq, Talaaq, Talaaq’
Farooq laughs,
Another woman moves in the next day. 

It’s 2019,
And Draupadi is still considered a victim,
Not an empress,
For even now,
Being an assault survivor is considered a shame,
So tell me how Mahabharat and Bharat aren’t the same.
Ladies, we flawless. Even Beyonce agrees.

Mahabharat and Today’s Bharat

This isn’t the best because I feel like there’s a lot more I want to address, but for now it’s just a broad view on the issues I am going to write about in the near future.

Females are not objects. Alcohol, short skirts, flirty behaviour, or walking alone aren’t the causes of rape. Rapists are. We live in a society which teaches women how to not get raped instead of teaching men not to rape.

Nothing has changed between Mahabharat and today’s Bharat. I ask you, a citizen of our country, do you notice any difference since the time of Mahabharat and now. The story might be thousands of years old, but it depicts what happens in the current society. Let’s go back to the epic and recall one of the main characters – Draupadi, the heroine of Mahabharat was always bold and forthright. Her husband Yudhisthir had a weakness for gambling and staked and lost everything including his wife. The brave Draupadi challenged the assembly and demanded to know how it was possible for someone who had lost his own self to retain the right to put her at stake as well. Duryodhana, the villain insisted that Draupadi had become his and hence ordered that she be disrobed. As she was disrobed, the more her sari was pulled away the longer it became. It was this event which turned Draupadi from a contented, but strong willed wife into a vengeful goddess. Do you remember what happened while she was being humiliated and disrobed in front of everybody? Try and remember.

Well, let me remind you – nobody dared to say a word. Not one person objected against the crime that was being committed in front of their eyes, inside the palace of the kingdom itself. Does this historic incident remind you of anything? Perhaps, our society? India is a country which has one of the highest amount of rape and sexual violence cases. Yes, women are beginning to feel empowered. Yes, they are finally gaining the rights they deserve, and slowly equal amount of respect too, but are they safe? Have equal rights stopped people from objectifying women? Have they stopped people from thinking that women are inferior? Instead, the number of assault cases has increased in the past years.

Indians pray to goddesses in temples, but abuse women in the domestic sphere. They elect women to powerful political offices, yet mistreat young girls in public, and what’s worse is that people are still pretending like it isn’t happening. People still refuse to speak about young girls being sexually harassed and assaulted. It is still considered a taboo amongst several Indians. Just like nobody dared to speak up against how Draupadi was mistreated, nobody dares to talk about how women are being harassed on a daily basis. The worst part is that most of the time, the female is blamed for it. She is accused of the fact that if she doesn’t cover herself enough then such things will happen to her. That if she goes out of the house past 8 then such things will happen. That it is her fault for getting raped.

What people don’t understand is that even if a female goes around naked on the street, one still does not have the right to, forget rape, but to even touch her without her permission. A female has a right to wear whatever she wants, say whatever she wants, and go out at whatever time she wishes to, but no person has the right to harass her and touch her without permission. Just because a female wears short clothes and goes to the nightclub, doesn’t mean that she is ‘available’. Forget females you don’t know, you don’t even have the right to touch your wife in an inappropriate way unless she allows you to. Certain men think that since the woman is their wife, they have every right to do whatever they want to with her. Just like Yudishtir put Draupadi at stake even though he didn’t ‘own’ her in the first place. If she doesn’t want you to touch her then do not try to persuade her. It is not right. What is happening in our country is not right. People are still pretending that it isn’t happening, but it is.

How many rape cases will it take for people to understand that no means no? Females are not objects. Alcohol, short skirts, flirty behaviour, or walking alone aren’t the causes of rape. Rapists are. We live in a society which teaches women how to not get raped instead of teaching men not to rape. Till when will women carry pepper sprays in their purses? Till when will women cover themselves from head to toe even in the burning heat, just so that any man doesn’t have the urge to rape her? Till when will women stay trapped in their homes after 8 pm? Till when will women not go anywhere alone? Why do things like alcohol excuse a rapist’s actions but condemn the woman’s? No matter who a person is, nobody in this world deserves to be raped or has a right to rape somebody.

Women are not your property. Since birth we have taught women to cover themselves, we have taught them shame. We have made them feel as if by being female, they are bound to be at fault. We teach them that they are inferior to man and are only for their attention. We teach them that they cannot be sexual beings in the way boys are, and if they are harassed then we put the blame on them because men are never at fault in society’s eyes. Every article I read about sexual violence always has a title which refers to a woman being raped or harassed, why is that? Why do we talk about women being raped, instead of men raping women? It is as if the victim is being accused for the crime which has been committed.

I repeat myself, nothing has changed between Mahabharat and today’s Bharat and it won’t unless we change ourselves. By this article, I do not mean to refer to all men as rapists or all women as victims. Although rape is more common amongst women, it happens to all the sexes. No matter what, it needs to end. I urge you all to speak up, being sexually assaulted is not shameful, the one who does it is. I urge you all to unite and let everybody hear your voice. Each and every person’s voice is important. We’re blaming society even though we are society, so to make it a better place, we must change ourselves first. Come forward and reveal your stories, your scars are what make you strong.

Here’s a ghost/virtual hug for anyone who needs it. Keep fighting y’all, and stay strong.