They told me it was a taboo. To talk about abuse and rights and patriarchy. Especially in front of big crowds. It is not a woman’s place to say these things. You should blush and keep your head down. Even if the walls all around crush you. For it is only then that you will be considered noble. The woman who ‘sacrificed’ herself for the greater good – for the silence that is comfortable. You will be called things if you speak. Terrible slurs. Everyone will talk. Isn’t that a little too noisy for you? They asked. In the beginning it hurt a little. But then it got easier. Every day… There on the phone screen… Women’s March on Washington. Amongst the snow and the city stood Ashley Judd reciting Nina Donovan’s verses about the power of nasty women who break glass ceilings and change the world with their brilliant ideas. Empowering. Special. And I watch, as homes around me wither away… broken families and exhausted friends… Trudging on through life… Afraid of speaking. Afraid of leaving. Always wondering if it is the right thing to do to stop believing that a woman’s place is in the house. In the kitchen. With pots and pans. Hiding blood stained garments in the laundry room. Like it is unnatural for the body to work the way it was designed to. Crumbling under cramps but sitting up straight on chairs in class rooms. Hush! No one must know you are on your period! Coming home and collapsing. Thinking of strategies… to get out of that rickshaw and bolt for the front door. Don’t stop anywhere. Don’t linger. Just run. Fumble for the keys. Make sure the shawl is wrapped around you. Take make up off before using public transport. Then the driver won’t stare. Take a guy along for the walk to the store. Even if he is a decade younger than you and you probably know more self-defense than him. Go to family parties. But don’t expect to be served food before the men. It is not your place.
My only question: Why…?
No girl. Speak to crowds. And big ones too. Hold a microphone in your hand even as that one man in the audience stares at you with daggers in his eyes. You speak. Tell them about the pain. The unfairness of it all. Talk about the taboo. Only then it will stop being one. You will find solidarity in this crowd. And even if you don’t, you would have made them uncomfortable. And that makes all the difference.