So she’s dead. Yes, she was a fighter; yes, she was brave; yes, she wanted the culprits to be caught and punished; yes, she wanted to live. But she didn’t. She was beaten, raped and stripped, and then she died a painful death. Why, you ask? Because she had the misfortune of being born a girl. She was 23 years old. A good bit younger than I am. She was studying to become a doctor, a doctor like the ones who tried to save her life in vain. Call her a brave fighter; say that her death will not be in vain; announce that this incident has awakened our nation—but the truth is that this 23-year-old girl went for a movie and died.
And what awakening are we speaking of? Have men stopped raping women since this incident? Have they stopped leering at or pinching or molesting girls since this particular heinous crime was reported? No, far from it. Perhaps they are being reported more often now. Perhaps this has given more men across our country ideas on how to show their power over women. Will this bring about a change? Will this make my country a safer place? Hah!
Just this morning, as I was walking through a crowd to get to work, a man took advantage of that crowd to keep bumping his hand into my ass. He only stopped and walked away when I gave him the look of death. Safer, you say?
Today, I am ashamed to be an Indian. For many years in my life, I always said that I never want to leave India, though my family has travelled and lived far and wide. But I wanted to be in my own country, be home. I loved my passport that proudly showed that I’m an Indian citizen. Today, I want to run away from this country, I want to move away, take everyone I love with me and never look back.
I don’t trust that there will be change. I don’t trust that the laws will be made more stringent; I don’t trust that the judicial system will indeed quicken its pace; I definitely don’t trust that the mindset and value systems of men and women across the country will change. I no longer trust my country. I no longer feel safe in my own home, in my own city. I no longer have the faith.
Call me pessimistic, call me a coward, call me what you like. But this is the truth. This is my truth. The truth that this girl is dead, and that her family and loved ones will have to live with it. The truth that the friend who was with her that night will have to live with this terrifying incident. The truth that every single day, I still get letched at, and feel scared to go home alone or stay alone in my own home. The truth that sometimes, I wish I was not born a daughter. The truth that I am completely and utterly helpless. The death of this girl, my friends, is my truth.