On the 16th of December, it was my birthday. I went out dressed in a tiny pair of shorts and drank margaritas. My girlfriends and I freely chatted to some men at the table next to ours. I got home safe and sound. But miles away, across the ocean in Delhi, India, a young woman was brutally raped that night because she was out with a male companion.
I don’t know what drives men to rape. Is it because they hate women or because they salivate over power? Or is it because colonised nations breed men who colonise women’s bodies?
I don’t know why this story makes me so angry when I live in a country that is considered the rape centre of the world. Maybe it’s because I was out that night free as a summer breeze and she was just trying to feel the same. Maybe it’s because here, we are desensitized and maybe it’s because our country doesn’t rise up in gathered protest and the world doesn’t highlight our rape stories. Maybe it’s because I didn’t expect such brutality from a country that gives way to cows on the street and worships the mother goddess.
When you’re a woman, you learn from an early age that your safety is more easily compromised than a man’s. You learn that you have to walk with purpose. Be careful whom you trust. Don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position. Learn self defense. Don’t accept drinks from strangers. Don’t go to public toilets on your own. And be alert. No one teaches you not to go to a movie with a guy and take a bus ride home.
I hate those men who murdered India’s daughter. I hope they suffer in this lifetime and many lifetimes to come. I hope their heinous deeds torment their already maddened souls. And I hope that Karma works on each of them with an iron rod. I hope that the protests don’t go quiet. I hope that they inspire our country. I hope that all the world’s daughters can go out dressed in short skirts, dance with men, party up a storm, or just watch a movie and come back home to lie safely in their parents’ homes. I realise that these aren’t hopes but fantasies.
Good night India’s daughters. Good night South Africa’s daughters. Good night daughters of the world. May God watch over all us because we cannot rely on our brothers to be keepers of our dignity.