To Jyoti and a thousand other Nirbhayas

Dear Jyoti,

I am writing to tell you my side of the story. Please don’t hate me. Please don’t judge me. Being a woman, I know you’ll understand. 

I can’t really remember when and how it all began. I am an old woman now, and a stupid one at that. I keep on forgetting things. But then, most of them I recall later on. You know, at times I feel someone tampered with my memory and erased some incidents permanently. But, at the same time, I feel repetition. I can sense a pattern but it is usually wiped off before I grasp it. Most of the times, I don’t even understand what is happening. But then this feeling of betrayal lingers on. I don’t know why.

I learnt about you when those policemen were were loudly discussing about whose jurisdiction the incident fell into. I guess it was late at night. I am not like my other sister who is proud to be nocturnal. I usually sleep early. But that night, I was awakened by noises which, I wish I would have never heard. I couldn’t sleep that night. I always feared they have access to my brain. They don’t let it hold information. So, whatever I overheard this time, I kept inside my heart. And there, it remained etched permanently, ever since. 

Like you, I have also been violated. I don’t even remember the number of times because, my brain isn’t allowed to keep track. Like you, I don’t have any horrific memories but I do have scars- plenty of them. The worst feeling of it all is, I don’t even know how I got them or who is the evil face behind my cuts and bruises. The wounds never heal. They constantly try to remind me of something. I cry, because the wounds expect too much from me, which I can’t give. 

I am not as brave as you, my child. That night, I silently watched while you lay unconscious, naked and vulnerable. Your scars were same as mine. Your blood was same as mine. Your tears weren’t there. I gathered some strength, but maybe it wasn’t enough to retaliate. Or maybe, it was too much information to grasp at a time and I was just lost. But, not anymore.

I am old enough to comfortably say that I have traversed the path from Bharat to India. I might not have the best of memory but I know those scars from time immemorial. I have lived with them. They have grown with me. But, seeing those horrible wounds on your body was an awakening. I have a reflection of your bruises onto my body, heart and soul. 
I will fight for you, for me and for all the other Nirbhays. 

Scarred, bleeding but still hopeful

Picture Credit – Jophy Joy

Fighting an evil together, makes it a little less scary and a little more conquerable. 

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