About a week ago, I was walking home from the gym in the morning and walked past a car that had two people
hiding standing behind it. A teenage girl dressed in a school uniform that I recognised, a school in the same locality that started a half hour later, and a guy in his twenties dressed in regular clothes who looked like a driver/auto kaaran. Its a quiet, middle and upper-middle class residential locality, fairly early in the morning and they clearly looked like they were in the wrong place.
I would have walked past quietly had I thought they were just a young couple having a little time alone, perhaps stealing a quick hug or kiss in the corner of the road early in the morning. But as I walked past, I locked eyes with the girl for a second, and I thought I saw a look of fear in her eyes. It sickened me and I stopped there, on the pretext of checking my phone and was fiddling around with my phone for a few minutes. The guy had his back to me, and I just looked at the girl, hoping that she would have the courage to walk away from him, or atleast give a tentative smile to say that it was okay. She did neither, but just looked away. I didn’t know what to do further, so after messing around with my phone for another minute, I walked away. About 20 feet down the road, I turned around casually and saw the guy grab the girl’s hand. I didn’t know what to do further… and just walked away.
A couple of days ago, while leaving work… a girl and her grandmother walked past me. She had a massive black eye and one entire side of her cheek was bruised. They rushed past me quickly, talking quietly amongst themselves. And she was dressed in a Corporation school uniform with her hair braided into two plaits and folded up.
I’ve been spending sometime over the past few days thinking about both these incidents… and the feeling of helplessness that overcomes me is sickening. At random moments, I keep remembering the look of fear in that girl’s eyes, a girl who was just a few years younger than me. We live in such a violent violent world.
I occasionally chat with the household help at my house, and my grandmother’s house. These women have got their children and grandchildren married off so young and each time I chat with them, I try to impress upon them the fact that violence is absolutely unacceptable. They nod their head as if in understanding, and yet, I can see them think… ‘What does she know?’
I guess I should be thankful that I only feel helpless and that I don’t feel the fear that would overcome someone who is being subjected to such violence. I wish I could have done something more on both those days, something more than walking away… but even if I think about it now, I don’t know what I could have done.
I read on so many blogs about the Violence Against Women Awareness month. In case you’ve missed it, read about it here: http://vawawareness.wordpress.com/
If you’re a victim yourself, please speak up… there is a compassionate world out there, with people willing to help you. If you aren’t a victim, but see something happen, try to do something about it – even if its as simple as blogging about it. And by all means, if there is something you can do about it - stop for a moment and do it.