- Posted August 23, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Speaking up about sexual violence
The story of an Indian girl
For a majority of Indian women, the struggle starts right from the time of conception, in the womb, being born, as a healthy female child is a victory in itself, as female feoticide although banned by law, still illegally practiced in may parts. Researchers for the Lancet journal based in Canada and India stated that 500,000 girls were being lost annually through sex-selective abortions.
But it doesn't end here, her whole life she has to be protected and made 'ashamed' to be herself, even if she is harassed or eve teased in public.
After reading Shaheen's report, I couldn't stop myself from telling my side of the story. Like Shaheen, I was born and raised in a privileged background, where my parents raised me to see a life full of opportunities ahead of me; I had the full freedom to study abroad if I wanted to. It was only after my marriage that I moved abroad, to Germany. Past 3 years I have widely traveled all over Europe, through my second career as a Yoga teacher with the Art of Living.
Being raised as an Army Officer's daughter, my upbringing was as modern as it could get for any Indian girl. And yet, I remember, being a victim of eve teasing and harassment, being as young as 11, in the middle of the street, in railway stations. I remember my parents being perpetually worried if I was a few minutes late and it was already dark. I remember not being able to wear the clothes I wanted to, nor being able to go out when I wanted to, I remembered being followed by a stranger in broad daylight as a 14 year old on my way back from school.
Many of those horrific things mentioned by Michaela Cross have happened to me, and I can truly feel the pain of what they have gone through. As I grew up I knew I had to be strong and take a stand, but even after the stinging slaps I gave to those who tried to grope me and the cries of alarm, after being violated, I still felt as vulnerable as ever.
I now live in Germany, and although I am so grateful to my motherland for so many reasons, and in spite of everything, I still say, India is the best place for a child to grow up in, my heart still hurts for the little girl who grew up ashamed to be a girl, and every other girls who is not as privileged as me and has no choice but to get married to escape from pressures of the society, and even then there is no guarantee she will live a happy life, domestic violence, dowry harassments, all these evils continue to hunt her. And she has to spend her whole life apologizing for being a woman. With the media and Bollywood, playing its generous share in glorifying a woman as 'sex-objects'.
Sexual harassment and abuse may happen in all parts of the world, but I really wonder if women in other parts of the world, live a life of this terrible limbo of life and such cruel circumstances, where every moment from the moment she is given life, she is fighting to uphold every bit of her dignity.
I have a strong message to all the Indian men, its high time you all took responsibility, join forces and take a strong stance on protecting women, and her right to freedom. Next time you see any one of us being violated anywhere, if you don’t raise your voice against it, you are equally guilty.