It was a timid night, it was a timid girl
She set out at a justifiably ungodly hour for a twirl.
The gazing eyes on the streets rained her with a taunt and a slur,
She couldn’t cry assault, after all, it was her fault.
She found herself in a pub one night,
They violated her, but she was there so she wanted it, right?
Through repeated allegations she was silenced, too scared to fight,
The men they continued to exalt, after all, it was her fault.
She wore a dress which was a tad bit too short,
A decision animals across and wide thought was theirs to extort.
They slid in their hands, one excuse at a time, she was a slut if not a sport,
Her dignity broken from her vault, after all, it was her fault.
The voices, sombre yet tranquil, slowly grew,
The hearts, the faces, the tortured souls were far from few.
No longer will she bend, no longer will she sink in the wells of hell like she used to,
He will be shamed, coerced, put to his place; he asked for it, after all, it IS his fault.
Sexual harassment has long been very closely associated with India, in the worst possible way. In fact, it is so commonplace that a front page article doesn’t even as much evoke an emotion from the masses; they shrug and move on.
She must’ve done something to provoke the boy. She was the one scantily clad, at odd times in odd places. It was her who was consuming spirits surrounded by hormonal male company. She was the one asking for it. The boy? He is just a young lad, they make mistakes! Right?
We have been indoctrinated by this obsolete mentality for far too long and it’s time to stop. It’s time to place the blame where it truly lies- with the perpetrator. The victim did not ask for it, oh no, the assailant did. He asked to be publicly shamed, to be held responsible for his misdemeanour. He asked to be arrested and be treated as the filth that he had become. As Anna Binkovitz so very rightly points out in her poetry, which went viral all over youtube, the clothes a lady wears don’t transcend to consent. A naked woman isn’t a piece of meat. She’s not asking for it. (In the video, my favourite part is the one with the salt)
To help this cause, Aakanksha Bhattacharyya started the #AskedForIt campaign, an initiative to oust the monsters that are plaguing this society, who think they can get away with the blatant dichotomy of the system. Through this collaborative campaign, she asks the victims to no longer be mute and reticent against their assailants and to make their voices heard.
The #AskedForIt campaign is spread over facebook, twitter and instagram. Women have already started to pitch in with their heartbreaking yet uplifting testimonials about how the perpetrators #askedforit. Here’s one such anecdote by Stop Commotion’s own Ishita Shelat:
"…he got down on the next stop, never to be seen on the 8:15 bus again." – Ishita ShelatI was young, a school child…
These women give us the hope of a better, secure society where either gender can go out in the night without the fear of unwelcome advances from the perverts of the society.
You can share your own stories by either using the hashtag #AskedForIt or you could also DM the #AskedForIt pages and they’ll publish your stories to inspire and empower others. They are on facebook, twitter and instagram.
More power to you.
Yash is selectively social and has an affinity for the ineffable. He loves triangles, obscure references and depression memes. Surviving on music and tea, he dreams of creating content and telling stories through various art forms while travelling the world. Film + photography enthusiast. You can find him on Instagram @randomyash.