Sharing my story… through a breakthrough campaign.
Sexual harassment occurs every day, I have experienced it, and yes it is time to change it.
The conversation needs to begin at home. So women’s web decides that it might be a good idea for us to write to our sons.
I have no sons and before I share what I have to say to my nephews I need to really take stock of what is that I want to say.
What shall I share with you the story of old Paddu-doddamma who would be ninety if she was alive today, how the jeweller who came to make her wedding jewellery got her pregnant? Poor woman’s marriage got broken, and her father disowned her she then went to the Udupi temple and lived there. She lost her child too; though how and why do not know.
Shall I tell you about Kalyanamma, who lost her husband at the age of 19, and her she had stabbed her husband’s brother because he tried to force himself on her? The sad part of the story was the family was willing to forgive her brother-in-law, but not her for having a relationship with their estate manager who was 23yrs old when she was 20. I do not know the truth of their relationship to the date nor do I care, for me Kalyanchikki was an elegant kind lady.
Maybe I should tell you about Kamala who worked in Padmannuru house, she was thirteen when she came as the maid to the house and the lady of the house was ailing, then one day the inevitable happened the man of the house forced her to his bed, her redemption came when the Lady died and the man of the house married her. why did she stay do you ask, because when she told her parents about her overtures her parents turned round and asked her what did you do to entice him, we are poor and we need the money so behave yourself stay out of his way and do not blacken an respectable man’s name.
There was Mrs.Batliwallah a senior IAS officer her boss was willing to sanction 4 Cr. For her project if she slept with him.
My own story Dr.Bongade..(yes I finally found the courage to name him) who failed me for a term in final year dentistry because I refused to date him, this despite me being a senior faculty member’s daughter.
Then there were Parveen and Fatima two kids who were 5 and 6 year old, it was just curiosity that lead them to explore each other, neither of them was sexually aware they were just curious, but an adult who saw them got them home, the shame and the guilt came in only after the adult interpretation of clinical act occurred. But the scar was so much that one of them has become a nun and other has relationship issues.
The child who was abused… by another she did not attach any meaning to it. she had actually enjoyed the entire caressing and the act, it was only when she was older that she realized that it was sexual and then the guilt rushed in, the guilt that she must have done something to invite it, the guilt of enjoying it, and still worse the guilt of caressing herself when it stopped.
Its not just this gory story, things happen without reaching this level of nastiness. There was this boy when I was at school who would write love letters to me, one of the teachers, Malathi… finally I pick the courage to name her, she called your Ajji up and I still remember standing in the principal’s office and being questioned. It was like a inquisition, I was clueless about who wrote the letter, yet Malathi teacher, principle Kukillaya and Ajji made it like I was responsible for them. everything from being an extrovert… yes I smiled and wished everyone that I knew, to my wearing short skirt I had shot up 6 inches in height were cited as the cause of inviting those letters.
I was in standard six then, with vengeance I did everything I could do to erase my femininity. If you thought this stalking end with age, I am still experiencing this at the age of 50!! So do some of my contemporaries. Which is why a movie like Rowdy Rathore or R..Rajkumar upsets me, you have a protagonist who stalks a heroine and finally wins her. god knows how girls would have to face what I did, yes mothers are no more called to principles office at least in the socio-economic structure we are in, but MMS and Youtube clippings can hurt.
I am not sharing this with you to belittle the pain that you my nephew had to undergo when that woman next door did what she did to you.
I share this with you, because I want you to have a healthy life. You are a nice, good-looking talented young man, I am extremely proud of you. I know that you are mature enough to chose your partner and accept that your partner has the right to do the same.
I hope when your relationship becomes something more strong and you decide to have a family, you will be balanced enough to draw the fine line between being protective, and being over protective.
The best possible thing for you to do is keep conversations open and happening that is without taboo topics. Teach your child to handle situation. Don’t for god sake try to feed in good touch and bad touch, because the child knows the good from the bad, you knew it, our failure, was in not listening to you, like my mother’s was in not listening to me.
Ps: the letter is addressed to my nephew because that was the request, but this letter as much to my daughters, and nieces for sexual harassment is not a gender issue but a social issue and society consists of male and female.