‘Don’t be so touchy, don’t be so touch­able’

India Today - - EXPERIENCE -

URmila, ban­ga­loRe, 29 Founder, How re­veal­ing.com, a web­site For sex­ual as­sault sur­vivors

Ire­mem­ber the first time I saw a pe­nis—it was when I was 9, at the back gate of my school. A friend and I stared in fas­ci­na­tion while a man stood ca­su­ally, watch­ing the girls, fondling his tes­ti­cles. We didn’t know what he was do­ing, but I had an in­stant feel­ing of dis­gust. Nasty at 9. I re­mem­ber be­ing told at 13, wear a slip un­der your school shirt, don’t show the world that you are wear­ing a bra. I rolled my eyes. Nasty at 13. At 18, I re­mem­ber shout­ing at two men who whis­tled at me, flash­ing me. So, nasty at 18. I re­mem­ber at 25, while at a mu­sic fes­ti­val, some­one ca­su­ally pinched my bum and dis­ap­peared into the crowd. I screamed in anger and frus­tra­tion, help­less. Nasty at 25. Don’t cry. Don’t fight back. Don’t be scared. Don’t wear a skirt. Don’t show your legs. Don’t show your cleav­age. Don’t wear make-up. Don’t go out at night. Don’t go out to work. Don’t be so touchy...Don’t be so touch­able. It hap­pens. Move on. For­get it. We don’t want to know…But you need to know and we need to speak about it. We’d rather be nasty than scared, an­gry, ashamed...flashed at, groped, mo­lested, abused, raped, killed. Si­lenced. We need to speak out to be heard. For­give our­selves. Heal. End the stigma, fix our ‘rape prob­lem’—to­gether.

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