I am a woman and I do think about it everyday. For varied reasons, in varied ways. As much as I think about being alive, being a part f this world and living the life that I do.
There are days when this subconscious contemplation makes happy but there are also times when it leaves behind a bad feeling, the kind you want to rid yourself of but just cant.
The other day a couple of my friends and me literally got chased by men on the road at 11 in the night. We managed to get out of the situation but the immediate reaction of all those who ‘cared’ about us was, ‘what the hell were you doing on the road at 11 in the night?’
This question I feel is irrelevant, I mean why does a woman need to give an explanation for being out at a certain time? Why can I not go out for ice cream at 11 if I want to? Why do I have to end an interesting conversation, happening outdoors, at 9 because it is unsafe to take an auto after that time? Why do I have to wait at a party that I hate so that some other guy who wants to stick around can drop me home? Why can I not decide to walk alone in a park after it gets dark?
It is actually sickening to live with a gnawing fear which mysteriously surfaces after a certain time of the day, women living in this city are perpetually victimized. And this is done not only by the occasional a**hole (for lack of a more offensive word) but by the collective character of the city. This place teaches its women to constantly stay on the look out, it starts with the beginning of the day when a middle aged man driving a big car will stare at you, on your way to college, in a manner that would actually make you feel NAKED . Then there will be those who ‘accidentally’ bump into you, never forgetting to brush against your butt and in the evenings you inevitably go past a few ‘jolly young men’ who loose control of their facial muscles on seeing you, which makes their faces get stuck in a perpetual smile until you pass (and this process is repeated by the arrival of another woman).
And all this only comes back to us in haunting ways while walking on a deserted road at night. There are times when you desperately feel the need to be around a man, because you want to feel protected. And after that paranoia disappears you feel more helpless than helpless can be , what does all talk about dignity and independence mean if I cant decide what I want to do at a particular time of the day or night !
I feel like a helpless hypocrite when I criticize some women for constantly looking for reassurance and protection from the men in their lives, because deep down inside how much ever I want to break out of it, I HAVE to do it too.
But I only hope I can keep railing against it, even after being terribly intimidated by men in black cars and others.