Disclaimer*: The articles shared under 'Your Voice' section are sent to us by contributors and we neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of any facts stated below. Parhlo will not be liable for any false, inaccurate, inappropriate or incomplete information presented on the website. Read our disclaimer.
I was just going through my newsfeed when I saw a post circulating all over the social media. This particular status update got my attention. To be very honest, this brought back the sense of fear I once had every time I interacted with men.
I remember not being able to go out for a movie with my friends because of what I feared would happen if I left the house at that time, that day.
I remember the time I was walking past a group of boys and pretended to be on the phone with my dad and say ‘jee baba, you’re outside?’ to make sure I wasn’t followed till my car.
I remember having to fake being asleep on the car seat back from school so the guys who were following the car didn’t see me.
I remember my parents talk about my dad’s car being damaged and feeling fearful because I was scared it was ‘that group of boys.’
I remember being in a classroom with three boys and a male teacher and constantly making sure the door wasn’t fully closed in case I had to make a run for it.
I also remember asking that teacher a question and as I was being answered, I noticed the direction of his eyes go from my face to my shoulder (my strap made an appearance of about half a centimeter).
I remember picking up a call while I was on my way out with my family and saying ‘oh I don’t know, wrong number’ when I was asked who it was that called me.
I remember having to make up a lame excuse for why I wanted to change my number.
I remember being scared every time I heard a super loud car on my street.
I remember being scared every time someone at home said ‘I don’t know who it is…someone keeps ringing the house phone and then hangs up.’
I remember standing on the bus because there wasn’t a seat for me and have the bus conductor walk back and forth a few times just so he could he feel ecstatic for the minute that he crossed where I stood.
I remember looking up and catching my reflection in the bus’s mirror, realizing I wasn’t the only one looking into that mirror. I remember the bus conductor enjoy what he saw in that mirror for the 30 blessed minutes of his day.
I remember handing over money to the cashier and feeling unknown fingers against my skin.
I remember having to stay in a shop 15 minutes after I was done because of the man that stood outside.
I remember having to pretend that I believed it was a selfie that you were taking when I knew your camera was zoomed all up on me.
I remember also feeling just as helpless as he confidently snapped a few without feeling the need to pretend as if he was taking a selfie.
I remember acting like ‘I wonder why’ when my 9-year-old brother told me some older boys approached him today.
I remember having to pretend like it was just some litter that flew across my face when he wrote his number and threw it at me.
I remember having my heart skip a beat every time I saw a car the color ‘they’ drove.
I remember having the freedom of enjoying a lollipop stolen from me at the age of 15.
I remember how embarrassing it was when I was with friends and their car pulled in the second we parked.
I remember, as a 15-year-old, thinking ‘how nice’ when I was offered birthday cake until I realized it was just to soften me up for the question that followed: would you mind if I spoke to you alone? As his friends cheered him up and showed signs of encouragement from a few meters away.
I remember not being able to climb up this little hill with my friends at school during the break because ‘this is how she gets everyone to look at her’ I remember hearing ‘MashaAllah and Subhan Allah’ more times than I’ve said both words.
I remember, boys. I pretended, for too damn long because
“It’s the reality of being a woman in our world. It’s laughing off sexism because we felt we had no other option. Maybe I’m starting to realize that just shrugging it off and not making a big deal about it is not going to help anyone.”- (Gretchen Kelly, Writer, blogger, over-thinker. driftingthrough.com)
So I wrote this down, not to blame you, nope. I wrote it down just to tell you that it leaves a mark and sometimes, it may even leave scars. I wrote this just so you know that it doesn’t go away as quickly as you pick the next girl to attack.
The article, “The things all women do that you don’t know about” by Gretchen Kelly on The Huffington Post made me realize you don’t know, you just don’t know what you do and why it’s wrong and what it does. So I decided to tell you.
Please remember, please try to remember. I remember all these details for all these years and I’d like if you tried a little to decide what you do, rather than blaming it on how Boys Will Be Boys.
Credits: Iman Najeeb