It’s true, #metoo


Picture Credits : Pixabay

Yes, #metoo.

I hadn’t thought about writing this down but then what’s truth is truth. And since when non-acceptance became the truth?

On my Facebook timeline this month, many of my friends and connections shared their #metoo stories. All were scary and disturbing. One more than the other. I read them all but did not react or comment. Not on a single one. I did not want to because what I share are things I talk about on an everyday basis. I write about my experiences and my happy moments. Travel tales and pictures, food and things I reflect upon. Stories and lessons from my life till date. But talking about something that happened to me and I never shared with anyone till date is not normal.

At least for me.

So I stayed quiet.

But then I thought why not? #metoo is the truth and there is no shame in the truth being out.

I was 32 and heading back home from office with a colleague. I prefer to reach home before it’s dark but that day she was with me so I wasn’t afraid. As we left, she got a call and had to change her route. “It’s okay. I will take an auto”, I said and we parted ways. The guy deviated from the route I knew. For 15 mins, he drove in dark and what seemed like a highway. Not knowing the directions, I was so scared that I could not even call VT.  At that time, Google Maps weren’t popular. I was hoping and praying that this was another short cut to beat traffic. Hearing the heart beat in the ears isn’t a very comfortable feeling. 

After 15 mins of that scare and not knowing what will happen next, I saw other cars.  I am still wary of coming back home from my office on my own. Every time a cab driver takes a different turn, I get uncomfortable.

I was 24 and had recently moved to Bangalore. It was night and after dinner, my friend and I were walking to our paying guest accommodation. We were chatting and I was outside on the road when we spotted a guy cycling on the wrong side of the road. We were alert and knew he could lose control but did not anticipate what he could do. As he rode closer, he grabbed my dupatta and luckily could not grope. He fled and I froze with shock. My friend shouted and threw a stone but by then he had left.

I couldn’t sleep very well that night.

I was 24. I stayed in a garage turned into a room in Noida with a friend and used to take a rickshaw back home. By the time I used to reach home, it would be late evening. Summers were good but in winters, it used to be dark around 5 pm. People would be indoors enjoying the warmth of a heater or a blower.

That evening, a rickshaw guy dropped me home around 7 pm. He must have seen me unlocking the gate, then the door and switching the lights on. I went inside and kept on with my chores when I heard a slight knock on the gate. I peeped outside to see that guy was still there. Looking in the direction of the house. I knew it was not right. I called my friend who was still at work and told her. By now, I was not able to focus on anything. Knowing that someone is out there and not for right reasons was scary enough. She reached at around 9 pm and the guy hadn’t left. She came in, we locked and switched off the lights. We stood at the main door contemplating to call our land lord who was an ex army official. An hour later, he left.

We skipped dinner that night and slept in hope for a safer day.

I was 22 and visiting Kanpur during one of my Engineering semester breaks. My friend and I had decided to study together. First half of the break in Azamgarh and the second half in Kanpur. We were on the way to a temple in a shared auto-rickshaw. Half way on the journey, I felt a hand moving up on my back. I realized, moved forward, the auto stopped and the guy left. Within seconds of me even understanding what just happened. 

I don’t think I remember what JK Temple looked liked.

I was 17 and out for shopping some notebooks in my hometown. My Mum was with me. She went in a lane first and I followed. A guy inched closer and said, “Aaj hum aur tum shaadi kar rahe hai.” (You and I are getting married today). I did not know what he meant but it was weird. It sounded odd and why would someone say that to a girl?

I can’t forget that statement and today I know what he meant.

I was 13 and travelling to Mumbai on a summer break with my parents and younger brother. It was a long train journey. I was on the middle berth and Mum was in the lower one. There was a guy on the upper berth. When the lights went off, he started staring and looking at my berth the entire night. For those two nights in the train, I couldn’t sleep. 

The incident has stayed and I prefer flying over taking a train. The journey is short and I don’t have to sleep.

I haven’t forgotten these incidents. They exist in some far away corners of my memories and are never brought out, shared or discussed. And what’s the point in sharing? What will change for me?

We are a country where we hide menstruation from our fathers and brothers. We shy away from talking about sex education and asking for condoms at a medical store. Live-in relationships are still under the scanner and it’s not easy for single men or women to rent an apartment.

But that’s not my point. I am also not challenging the magnanimity of #metoo.

We all know the problem. What’s important is until when will we keep talking about #metoo? When will we stop defending it by saying #notallmen? Will we reach a stage when #metoo would be a thing of the past and #notme would take over?

If yes, when?

If no, why not?

Writing for Day 9 of Write Tribe Problogger Challenge.

47 Responses

  1. Mabel Kwong says:

    It is very, very brave of you to share these stories, Parul. They all sound so scary, and all highlight how some of us think we are entitled to another’s personal side. What is ours is ours and nothing should be able to take that away from us. The more we speak up about these issues, the more we stand up for ourselves. Thank you for sharing.
    Mabel Kwong recently posted…5 Hard But Valuable Lessons Learned From 5 Years Of BloggingMy Profile

  2. Shelly says:

    Thank you for sharing. I have had quite a few #metoo moments when I was a girl, teenager and young woman as well. I never forgot them, but I brushed them off as it being just “the way it is.” Now that these memories have resurfaced and I’m seeing them through adult eyes–I am realizing how wrong and violating they were. Hopefully the tide is turning.

    -Shelly 🙂

  3. Anna Mamwell says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences…actually only the day I told my current work colleagues about what repeatedly happened to me 20 years ago…my boss back then made my life hell through sexual harassment and it went on for 3 years until I walked out, he was a lot older and in a position of power. Sadly it seems that it’s far too common almost like its just accepted by women as a obstacle we face…I know I felt powerless at the time.

  4. Its really sad that you had to go through all this! I’ve had my share too but what bothers me is that no matter how educated the people are this sick mentality won’t change! Hope that there is at least some change in mindset!

  5. Sharon Smith says:

    Hi Parul,
    I know that, #MeToo is a hashtag campaign that circulated on Twitter and other social media platforms in which actress Alyssa Milano encouraged survivors of sexual assault and harassment to post “#MeToo” or “Me Too” to raise awareness and highlight its commonality.
    Sharon Smith recently posted…Mattress twin, Mattress queen – Shopper GuideMy Profile

  6. Yes it is indeed true Parul, I have been through horror of abuse at a tender age and no matter what i do, it will always be a part of me.
    I have seen many raise their voice against #MeToo saying #NotAllMen but it doesn’t take long for it to reach a stage when they say #MostMen. I hope we never get to see that day!
    The day when my body felt humiliated i decided, no matter what i will fight for my self respect and dignity. I did not let any other men/women disgrace me with such acts again. Yeah I have become stubborn but i love that quality in me now. I feel that, if this is what our society gives back to a women then we all better be stubborn!

  7. Yes it is indeed true Parul, I have been through horror of abuse at a tender age and no matter what i do, it will always be a part of me.
    I have seem many raise their voice again #MeToo saying #NotAllMen but it doesn’t take long for it to reach a stage we say #MostMen. I hope we never get to see that day!
    The day when my body felt humiliated i decided, no matter what i will fight for my self respect and dignity. I did not let any other men/women disgrace me with such acts again. Yeah I have become stubborn but i love that quality in me now. I feel that, if this is what our society gives back to a women then we all better be stubborn!

  8. Obsessivemom says:

    The good thing with this campaign is that people are becoming aware that this is a serious issue. I read some posts by men who are stunned by the response. They had no clue that each and every girl goes through this harassment almost every single day of her life. To that extent it has been a great campaign. But you’re right in that we need to move beyond it.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…In search of an exercise routineMy Profile

  9. Vinitha says:

    I am so sorry that you had to go through these and you can recall these incidents with nothing less than a terror, Parul. I feel silly to say that #metoo. It is such a big reality, isn’t it, this #metoo? Every woman had at least once gone through an abuse or assault of some sort. Children too. I remember the many things that happened when I was a kid, but no one educated us on what, how and why. We were taught to accept the catcall, eve-teasing, staring, etc as a norm, but we were expected to stay out of trouble without responding, without talking about it, by ignoring. I hope that since we are talking more about this, at least our next generation would know that all these which we accepted is not acceptable. I hope things will change one day. But now let’s raise our voice again and again until it is heard.
    Vinitha recently posted…The Finale #writetribe #WritetribeprobloggerMy Profile

  10. Shilpa Gupte says:

    Yes, when will #metoo be a thing of the past and when will #notme take over? I don’t see it happening anytime soon, Parul. Sadly, in a country like ours, where patriarchy rules, these incidents will not cease to occur. Men need to be taught from their childhood that women are to be respected. And, frankly, I don’t see that happening, either. In the urban areas, probably, but in the rural areas and the small towns, never!
    The incidents that took place years ago, will always stay in our mind, filling us with revulsion every time we think about them!

  11. G Angela says:

    This post disturbed me as I kept reading till the end; and reminded me of few incidents in my life too. In a way I am happy that you have reached a stage in your life;where you could talk about and even make a post about it. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences. Its more to do with the mindset and the kind of culture we are living in… wonder where we are heading to…

  12. Nupur says:

    I also feel frustrated- will the tales of eve teasing in the media and our personal experiences never end? We should just learn self defence and give it to them next time.

  13. The problem is it has become so.much a part of our lives that we women often consider it normal, and seldom raise our voice. When would we be raising #notme???? I wonder … Wish it happens soon.

  14. Lata Sunil says:

    Being a woman in India, this sounds like a part of everyday life, isn’t it? Last week I was staying at a hotel in Bangalore which had no latch from inside other than the key latch which I could lock from inside. But the thought that someone with a key could enter the room kept me half-awake the entire 2 nights I was there. A different turn by the cab driver which is not on google maps also makes me hyper attentive. It’s weird. But, sadly that is how we live.

  15. Exactly same thoughts. I couldn’t share my experiences in my blog but without doubt i can say if any lady in India didn’t experience any form of eve teasing or harrassment, she is lucky. I am only hopeful that i can ensure that atleast my sons and their sons understand the impact of sexual harassment and be sensitive to ladies.

  16. Rachna says:

    Parul hugs for sharing your experiences. Groping and molestation is such a reality for us that even I feel very antsy in dark alleys or traveling alone at night. I keep my pepper spray in my hand and still feel antsy. People stare mercilessly. Some try to rub themselves against you. It makes me so sick! I wonder if we will ever see a day when a woman will feel truly safe.

  17. Rita says:

    Great post Parul!

  18. Very important topic,#metoo is finally giving platform to women across the globe for voicing out these experiences. Otherwise, there is only name calling and shaming attitudes, am sorry that you had to go through these experiences and am so proud of you for writing about them and putting the shame back where it belong to the perpetrators.
    Across the border, situation is equally appalling for women of all ages, and as working woman I can tell you that its been a hard two decades to work with men who make you understand that you are object who has put her self out on the road to bear the harassment that is a birth right of all men. Once in my career I was asked to quit an organization just because I objected to being harassed, so ssadly #metoo.

  19. There is not a woman who has not been subjected to harassment or groping. It’s such a tragedy and high time for people to speak about it,Parul. Kudos to you. Yes, I disagree when people are responding with not all men for it’s not the right time to counter metoo. I support the metoo campaign. This fear should go and we need to face it.

  20. upasna says:

    I really hope things to change with this me to movement. I am gaining the courage to write down a post because yes, me too. I feel sorry for this.

  21. Sulekha says:

    Parul, I am sorry you had to go through it all. Metoo has exposed some disgusting powerful people and helped the survivors deal with their memories. Punishment should be swift and severe so that they don’t ever try to abuse any woman/man.

  22. Unfortunately, #MeToo is a universal truth one we cannot ignore. I hope that the next generation at least grows up such that there are those who can say no not me. I’m sorry you had to go through these. So sorry that women have to go through these.

  23. Vinodini says:

    The fact that you remember all these incidents with so much clarity is an indication on how badly traumatized we are about these issues but yet we choose to sweep them under the carpet. I really hope something fruitful comes out of the #metoo campaign rather than just facts and figures.

  24. Esha says:

    Reading your experiences I can imagine how you must have felt, as I can relate to all of them very easily, Parul. I always feel unsafe here…esp in Bangalore, where even in broad daylight so many incidents happen to women. No matter what people say, I think women still feel threatened by the presence of perverts all around us! It is a matter of great shame that in spite of so much progress, the system continues to fail women on ensuring security and safety for them be it on the streets or within the four walls of a house.

  25. Bellybytes says:

    I think every woman has in some time in her life experienced fear when being stared at, cat called, elbowed, felt, groped. It’s strange but even as an older woman, I am scared to be in a lift all alone with a tall hefty young guy half my age. I can only imagine how working women have to face the real problem of ‘real’ men who think it is their birthright to harass all women.

  26. Rajlakshmi says:

    You know what, even though it’s so much safer here, the fear is so ingrained in me that walking in the dark alone brings back all kinds of apprehensions. My mind automatically goes into this super alert mode that I used to go through in Bangalore. Untill we truly walk freely without fearing every unknown turn or unknown hand, #metoo will exist. I am so sorry you had to go through all those moments of fear.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…10 years later, 20 Kg heavierMy Profile

  27. Rashmi says:

    I agree Parul, it is important what we do about this, than merely stating there is a problem. Only when we are ready to take action, will the movement succeed.
    Rashmi recently posted…When the world goes black!My Profile

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