READING TIME 4 Minutes
While the rest of us celebrated the new year, women in Bangalore were subjected to a horrific case of mass molestation. Almost every woman has been molested at least once in her life, and I've honestly lost track of how many times I've been groped on the local train. The internet's response to this shameful incident was #NotAllMen. Not all men are like the perverts who stare at women, cat-call, grope, molest, and rape. While I do agree that #NotAllMen are the same, the hashtag irked me anyway. And I couldn't figure out why until I came across Harnidh Kaur's poem.
#NotAllMen know that I've marked numbers into my skin and I put atally mark for every month for the seven years I once read about- Iread that my skin, flesh, muscle, bonewill all be new, they won't still holdshadows of claws ripping at them#NotAllMen, I suppose, realise thatwomen walk checkpoint to checkpoint,a game of chase played with safety,each flood of streetlight silver the onlyspace between witness offered to herbeing and a 'why was she alone at night'#NotAllMen see how women weave inand out of checkered lights in a parkinglot, keys thrust out between knuckles, knees bent into a crouch, eyes flickering from window to window hoping they can somehow stop horror from being real ifonly they could see it before it lunged#NotAllMen have felt how skin feels alien, like a lie slipped on every morningwhen you can't look into a mirror andcall its entire expanse your own becausesomeone chose to grip your faith by itsroots and pull it out strand by strand, tillyou were left stripped of every truth#NotAllMen grasp the meaning of 'yes,all women'- i wonder if any of them knowhow it feels to be told your body is a live,unstable pile of explosives, and the airaround you is filled with angry sparks justtrying to seek space between your bonesto burn your being down to the ground.#NotAllMen, of coursebut just enough.
This beautiful, haunting piece of writing speaks for every single woman, and hopefully man out there. It turns the hashtag on its head, and gets us back to the never ending issue of women's safety. Harnidh told us,
"The hashtag started as a joke if you look at its history. It has, however, been used seriously by men- educated, aware men- to hijack important conversations about women. It's used as a diversion because the crime of generalization is not as grievous as that of women dying. Quite literally. Women have had words, places, spaces stolen from them. This was an attempt at reclamation of what is rightfully mine as a woman. A space to speak."
This poem is frankly, the most hard hitting take on #NotAllMen, and I'm so thankful to have come across this.
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