Have you watched the movie, ‘Toilet Ek Prem Katha? Funny as the name is, the issue of not having a toilet at your house is serious, especially for women and children. And a patriarchal society does not like to hear that. Well, I am not going to write about toilet, rather about sexual harassment that people still today take so lightly. Even after the #metoo trend went viral, people can’t stand up against power practically. Therefore, I believe that social power is not really everything.
Reflecting on the experience of harassment, when I was in grade 7 an Islamic teacher called me to the back of the classroom. I simply went, since we say “We should always respect teachers and obey them” Was there any rule for raising your voice against a teacher? And then he whispered to my ears and said, “Come to the roof by collecting all the notebooks” As clean as it sounds, my friends simply had fun thinking and discussing about it. But I was left shocked wondering what he actually meant by it. Why would a teacher call me to the rooftop when there is no staff room there? Suddenly, I recalled that my mom used to say, ‘Don’t go to a man if he cat calls you’ And that made me not go wherever the place was. But I led my life in such a normal way, that no one really understood that there was something amiss. The next day he could not look into my eyes and was shaking whenever he was standing near my table. Few months later, he left the school.
During counselling, I was asked that whether I had any experience of raising my voice against sexual harassment. I said no, since I did not protest like it happens in Bangladesh. And I don’t believe in having social power. Since fighting for justice needs brain, not numbers.
But do you think I told my parents about this? What do you think they will do?
My mom will say, ‘Take your dad and complain to the Principal’ Because she had that upbringing where her brothers took charge whenever she used to encounter harassment.
My dad, despite his strength to make a guy even feel guilty to be the ‘jamai’, will give me rules that are very unreasonable.
1) Wear scarf properly
2) Don’t go to that class
3) Stop expressing openly about your feelings
4) There must be some problem with me, otherwise why would a person be attracted to me?
When they will get tired of taking this burden, they will decide for me to get married. And do you think I will be happy in that marriage where I had no choice or decision to make? And not only my parents, the world turns a blind eye even when they know the truth. Because they say fighting with power is like playing with fire.
And a few days ago, someone told me that shouting loudly represents a negative image about feminism or women empowerment. The world already cannot bear the presence of a powerful woman, let go feminism. I feel sorry for being so hard,considering a bit of humanity that is still left within me. But crime is crime. And justice is justice. Both can never be intermingled. And this should be a lesson to all the future boys and girls.