What is the most frustrating thing about being a woman?
That overwhelming, all-consuming feeling of utter helplessness.
Picture this :
It’s 7 in the evening. You’re on your way back from a nearby shop to get some change from Dad. The roads are empty, just as they always are; you’re home there because you’ve known the place since childhood. The absence of street-lights doesn’t bother you; you’re familiar with every pothole, every turn.
You hear the sound of approaching engines behind. It must be a two-wheeler, judging by the roar of the vehicle. You give it a wide berth, don’t look back and continue on your way.
All of a sudden, the vehicle stops just behind you. Before you can react, you feel harsh big hands groping you, squeezing your right breast, pinching it real hard. It gets over just as suddenly as it began: the man on the bike drives past. Once a safe distance away, he turns to give you a leer, a triumphant smirk, and then drives away, out of sight.
You’re rooted to the spot, mouth agape in horror, too shaken to take in what just happened. Your senses are in a mess, tears dying to come out, heart wanting to scream, to voice the agony you feel inside.
Instead, you gather your bearings, compose yourself, and walk back home as fast as you can. Your father tries to make conversation, but you walk hurriedly away till you can lock yourself in the silence of your own room. You cover your face with your palms and feel hot tears streaming out; your body racked with uncontrollable sobs.
Why are you crying?
Did you do anything wrong today? Was it your fault that you were so weak you could not fight back? Maybe it was.
Maybe it is.
You should have done something to get back at that man, maybe throw a stone after the fast-retreating bike. You should have shouted for help, although your brain nudges you that the lane was already empty — there was no one nearby who could have heard you and arrived in time to nab the fleeing man.
You feel violated. You feel unclean. You are scared. You have no idea this incident will continue to haunt you for months, making you jump at the smallest of noises, making you refuse to even cross the road alone at night. You yearn comfort, someone who would understand, maybe even lessen the weight of the horrifying burden on your soul.
But you can’t gather enough courage to talk about it even to your parents. Not because they would hate you, but because they would start blaming themselves — that they could not protect their daughter when she needed them the most.
Defeated, you throw yourself on the bed, stare at the ceiling through a veil of tears.
You cannot forgive yourself for how helpless you had been a few minutes ago.
Probably this is just how helpless you will remain all through your life.