I am Nirbhaya, am I not?
I am Nirbhaya, am I not?

I live in a country that is considered a cultural gem. I live in a country where goddesses are idealized and feared. I’ve been taught to walk hand in hand with men and fashion a happy life. I’ve been taught to be strong, independent, and intelligent. I’ve been taught to fight back like Jhansi Ki Rani and lead like Indira Gandhi. I’ve been taught to be fearless, I’ve been taught to be Nirbhaya! Jyoti, who hailed from a small lower-middle class family was given the same values. She was not taught to be a house bug, she was taught to lead. She was taught to fight her way to a better life. A better life, not just for herself, but for her loving and supportive parents too. She was a fearless warrior, a fearless victim, a fearless daughter, and a fearless woman. She was Nirbhaya. I am Nirbhaya too or at least I’d like to think I am, but I cannot meet eye to eye with the parents who lost their daughter to the monstrosity we call rape. I cannot listen to the words that come out of the 5 monsters who did not take an innocent life that night but destroyed the entire human race. As I watch the BBC documentary and see the emotionless faces of those rapists, I am filled with deep anger and hatred. The bold and baseless statements made by the well-educated practicing lawyers crush my will further. Their gaze on the camera is enough to tell me that as long as men like them breathe in my world, I will never be Nirbhaya. The message from these men is very clear. I, a woman, is a flower, who deserves to be preserved within the four walls of a house. I am essentially a show doll, a servant subject to the might man’s will. I am someone who can be toiled around like a vermin, because my place in the society is that of a second-gender; an inferior, insignificant gender. My purpose in life is to please my husband in the bedroom, please my in-laws by my cooking skills, and please all men by letting them rape me. Why am I subjected to such cruelty, such partiality? Yesterday you raped me because my clothes were not long enough. The day before because I was out in the evening with a boy. Today you raped me because I didn’t call you “bhaiya”, tomorrow you’ll rape me because I simply breathe. I am an embarrassment to my culture because I drank a little yesterday and woke up with a headache the next morning. But, you’re a hero because you drank and you raped me. I am a bad woman because I wore a skirt today, but you’re innocent to have undressed me with just your eyes. I am a woman who is strong willed. I am a lady who respects the idea of equality. I am your sister, your daughter, your wife, your girlfriend, and your friend. I have a mind of my own, I have a life to live. I have the power to choose and the power to decide. I have the right to say no, I have the right to fight. Who are you?    “I am a man”, he simply said. “What you are is insignificant. I am the man and I hold all the rights.”

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