Every week my maternal grandmother (who I call Nano, and shall henceforth be referred to as such) drives all the way over to see me and my Mum, in her trusty Cressida. She stays until late evening and leaves before it gets too dark because her trouble with night vision gets the better of her.
On one of these occasions, barely half an hour after she’d left, my mum received a call from a slightly panicked Nano telling her that her car broke down halfway to her house. In a handful of minutes, Mum calmed her down, got her to describe her location, and called up the mechanic to head down there as soon as possible.
No big deal, right?
If only that were the case.
A couple minutes later, Nano called again, and this time she sounded really pissed off. I could hear a full tirade going into my mum’s ear.
“Our patriarchal society happened.”
While Nano was waiting for the mechanic to arrive, there were numerous instances of young boys staring, pointing, laughing and even catcalling her in the middle of the street!
Yes, you read that right. My GRANDMOTHER was CATCALLED in the middle of the street by YOUNG MEN.
My Nano may be in her 60s but she is, in every sense of the word, a total bad-ass. She’s never afraid to speak her mind. She’s always happy to go off on anyone who dares incur her wrath (and deserves it, of course). She’s swerved around so many cocky drivers who think they can mess with a female driving a car, and I’m pretty sure she would have run those vile creatures over if she could. Too bad she had car troubles that day, huh?
She got her car fixed, went home safely, and slept it off. No point in stressing yourself over things you can’t control, she said.
Tomorrow’s a brand new day, anyway.
I don’t think so. I think it’s going to be more like the same shit, but a different day for us. Unless we actually do something.
It’s sad that we live in a world where not even our grandmothers are safe from sexual harassment. What pisses me off more is how women are usually on the receiving end of sexual harassment, but it’s the women who are given the lecture on how to NOT invite said harassment, particularly in a South Asian society.
Even worse, we’re told to just suck it up and deal with it because “that’s just the way the world works and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
It seems to me like these people don’t even want to try to change it. They think the world is theirs. They’ll never let go of their privileges or examine their ego enough to actually put some time and effort into making the world a safer place.
And it isn’t fair.
Young women like me are often barred from going out and exploring the world, experiencing its wonders and seizing numerous opportunities, because of both the predatory people on the streets and the privileged ones who refuse to stop them.
But that’s just what women are for, apparently: making sandwiches and the big sacrifices in life.
Those young men could have bloody well helped her out with her car, could have been of some ACTUAL use. But no. They instead chose to run their mouths to try and prey on an elderly female who they probably assumed would react by cowering because there was nothing she could do about it.
Something seriously has to give. And I, for one, am sick and tired of women constantly being the ones who always have to give.
We all witnessed the recent rise of #MeToo on social media, and how quickly it captured the world’s attention towards the extent of sexual harassment all over.
While I laud the awareness that this social media trend has spread, let’s keep in mind that a lot of people we’ve seen speaking out about their experiences represents only a FRACTION of the actual amount.
It isn’t just the young and ‘modernly dressed up’ women. It isn’t just happening in backward places or in third world countries or in any specific religion or culture.
It’s everywhere and can happen to anyone.
Including your grandmother.
And it’s a sign that it’s high time for some action to be taken.