We were almost home, back from school. Walking up the street and having a happy conversation we did not realize the person riding on a bike from behind until he got very near. It was me who realized first and looked back but it was too late. His hand had already left its print on her buttock because she was the one near. The mark left on her dress was black and oily demonstrating him a casual illiterate man. I gathered and threw a handful of stones to his side but he was already gone and my hand shaking with anger. It always happens during such moments; when I want to throw stones with my hands shake and it does not fall even near the target making me feel that I have neither the ability to let go nor the ability to face it and fight. Back home, she was shed into tears making my mother worry every day we left for school. The black mark on her school dress did not clean up after that.
It was years ago maybe in grade 9th (2007-8). She left school in 11th grade because she said she was fed up. That was not the only reason of her leaving school. She was already engaged because everyday my uncle would stop her on the way to school telling her to decide quickly. Engagement, let alone marriage, is the end of education in lives of many whose in-laws want a child-bearing machine not the one that reads and writes.
The way to fight against these barriers is to fight against it, strongly and longer. I wish she had stood for a little more because now she has just moved from one hell to another; I'd have stood beside her.
Recently, just last summer during my internship program, I had to leave early in the mornings and run the streets so that I wouldn't face boys or men hitting on my chest when coming from the front or fingering when coming from behind. Sometimes, it was the followers’ stones thrown at my back that made me complete a 20-minutes way in 5 minutes. Though, any girl would become a good runner facing such a situation every day.
Education itself is a solution of its own barriers; doesn't matter what type. If that man was educated such as a teacher; I bet his behavior wouldn't have been like that. Or for the least, if he was aware that both of us had the same right to freely walk on those streets not the mindset that we shouldn't have set our foot outside the house, he would have praised girls going to school. If my uncle knew that she, as an individual, had the full right to decide about when and to whom she should get married, she wouldn't have end up leaving school in grade 11th.
The barriers continue and so does the solutions but it is us who can decide to fight or not.Girls Transform the World 2013