Today I’m thinking of Asifa, an 8 year old child raped and murdered for political and social reasons.
But is this something really new, India? I was in my fifth standard walking along side my mother when someone grabbed my not-even-there-yet boobs. I was terrified, confused, worried. I still remember the street, I remember the dress and I remember asking my mom why and what happened. I remember the guy, he had fat thighs exposed from his folded lungi over his red shorts. But that was just the beginnings of all the penis flashes, hard-ons in buses, fake gentlemen offering rides or insisting on rides or even some weirdos who got cheap thrills from just pushing me off the bicycle! (I am in no way comparing these experiences to what a person who had been raped goes through. Their experiences are more intense). The fear and disgust these incidents provoked was quite something else. One of the highlights of these feelings was a conversation with a friends brother who was then training to be a physician. Apparently he told his sister and then repeated it to us (a few of his sisters friends) that these men are sick, some mental dysfunction (can’t remember what something like this could be called). But wow!! there are a lot of mentally unstable men in India people.
It was around the time of our initial nuclear tests. I wondered if I could, should volunteer these ‘dysfunctional men’ as subjects for tests on the effects of nuclear weapons on humans. Or wait don’t you want to know how people will do in space, in mars maybe…
But in all seriousness, we seem to be at the place where we need to define and reiterate what it means to be human. We apparently have no idea. We apparently have no mental capacity to understand the deep depths of inhumanity we lay on another when a man thinks he can simply whip out his penis, whether its to pee on the road or to shove it into a little 8 year old. A human would understand respect and love.So where do we start?
Last evening I participated in a silent protest. I was able to release much of my anger while praying over the people who gave us thumbs-up or rode slowly so they could read our signs, or the people who asked questions. Yes, I used to be one who sneered at those who protested, but yesterday was different, yes we are known to flare up when incidents like this pop up but fail to notice or care for the every day occurrences. But I am glad I stood there yesterday cause people noticed, people who didn’t know why and what asked questions, we brought attention to the cause while I pleaded before my God to speak to the many around us.
I think every drop in the ocean makes a difference. So parents, teachers, sons and daughters lets do our bit. Mothers and fathers are you talking to your sons, about their body, about the changes their body goes through when they hit puberty (and no Im not talking only about their voice or their beard). Parents and teachers are we talking to our kids about how to reason.
What are some of the ways you are making the change where all people are respected and sex is understood to be a safe and sacred act not a used to violate another?