Just Another Night
I stretch the hem of my shirt a little lower, collar a little higher, and button up the very first button. It makes me suffocate. I inhale loudly to get air, but then stop. Am I making too much noise by breathing? Am I catching too much attention?
I look around tentatively, careful not to make any eye contact with anyone. But is that even possible not to? Is it possible for a woman to walk past a dark alley undisturbed by the absolute silence, other than the occasional catcalling and lustful gazes when she’s walking all alone? You don’t have to be a woman to understand that. You just have to be human. And if you don’t then you probably belong to the category which makes women feel this way.
Feel what exactly?
Insecure, terrified, useless, unsafe. That is what I feel. I feel I’m being watched. My every move is being watched.
She is not wearing a dupatta.
Look at her breasts.
She’s wearing such a short shirt, such tight jeans!
She’s definitely asking for it!
They’re thinking about it. They’re all thinking about it. I can feel it. Suddenly, a man appears in front of me out of nowhere. I gasp and put my hand on my heart.
“Where to, miss? I can take you where you want to go. It’s not safe for a woman to walk all alone at this time of the night, you know.” He says.
I can feel his gaze on me. Not on my face, lower. My breath quickens, and I shiver.
“N-no, thank you. I-I can go by myself.” I stammer.
I move to the side and try to rush past him. He grabs hold of my arm tightly, making me yelp. I try to push him, shove him, bite him, but all in vain. It seems useless. He laughs. His sinister laughter rings in my ears, making them burn. I look into his eyes and realize he is not sober. A rush of terror runs inside me, making me struggle harder. But it seems to have no effect.
“Help! Someone help!” I scream in hopes of catching some attention.
The man gets angry and roughly places his dirty hands on my mouth, silencing me. Hot tears stream down my face as I try to wrestle my way out of his grasp. He pins me to the ground and hovers over me.
It’s done. It’s over.
Is this really supposed to end this way? Am I going to lose my innocence just like this? It’s not my fault. Or is it? It’s not my fault. I didn’t lead him into this. I didn’t. Or did I? Was I dressed provocatively? Was I really giving him bad signals? Will I live after this? Am I dead?
I think all of this as I’m robbed of my dignity. I think all of this as I feel the pain rising inside my body. I think all of this as I close my eyes and accept my fate. I think all of this as I die internally.