Almost every day when we read the news, there is something about a girl who was assaulted, harassed or worse yet, raped. Not a day goes by when there isn’t a horrifying story of a woman who was made to suffer this brutality. For how much we like to talk about our culture, we sure don’t believe in following it, do we? We worship idols and pray to Goddesses, yet somehow, we see women as just objects. Objects that are meant to be exploited and ridiculed. Where do our values go? Where does our so-called culture go?
Right about now, you’re probably thinking what this has to do with you, right? I mean, you’ve obviously never done anything like this so this doesn’t concern you. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. For everything you let slip by because it doesn’t concern you, you’re guilty. For every time you fail to raise your voice, you’re guilty. For every time you let that let that sexist joke slide, you’re guilty. You’re guilty because you failed to use your voice. A voice that has the power to make real change.
Yet, why is it that we fail to use this voice? Are we scared? Or do we just not care? Many times, we tend to overlook or not think about these things because it doesn’t have anything to do with us. Other times, we’re scared. We’re scared of getting involved, we’re scared of being alienated by our peers, we’re afraid that if we actually say something, they will think a certain way about us. Also, this isn’t just for the guys out there. Girls are equally responsible for allowing this behaviour to continue. Ask yourself, how many times were you sitting with your friends (who are boys), and heard them say or joke about something really sexist. Did you call them out? Or did you let it slide on the account of friendship?
See, I’m not writing this as someone sitting on a high horse and neither am I pointing fingers at anyone. I’m just saying that we’re all equally responsible for some of the bullshit that is deemed acceptable in society. Yes, that includes me. However, at some point, we need to take a hard look at ourselves in the mirror. We need to introspect and figure out where we’re going wrong. For me, I realised how uncomfortable and pissed off I’d be if someone said the same things I was saying, about the women I care deeply for. So what gave me the right to say those things?
From then on, I started to put my foot down. I stopped keeping quiet when I heard or saw something of this nature. Sure, people didn’t like being called out and a lot of them stopped hanging out with me, but that didn’t matter. What I realised is that people who decided to stick around me became a lot more careful about what they said and how they behaved in front of me. While at first, it seemed a bit forced, slowly and steadily that started to change. Their behaviour, the way they spoke and their sensitivity towards topics started to change. This made me realise that when you decide to take a stand against something, people will eventually come to understand you, even if they don’t at first.
We need to start taking a stand against such atrocities. But we also need to make sure that we start at the root of it all. We need to work on changing the mindset of people and that usually starts with yourself. We have to start using our voices without worrying about the fear of backlash. Remember, they may be able to silence a few people, but they can’t silence all of us. We often underestimate the power of words without realising that if they are chanted loud enough, they can become a battle cry. And that’s exactly what we need right now. A battle cry!
The time to stand still while monsters get away with things needs to come to an end. The only possible way that will happen is if we, the people of this country, come together and start using our voices. We draw the line and say a firm no to all the bullshit society has considered normal. We have to become the voice of change and instil into our generation, and the next generation that there is absolutely no place and no excuse for such behaviour. Remember, silence is just as bad as the crime itself.
How To Develop Your Voice
Before we jump into this, it is important to realise that the journey of finding your voice may be different for everyone. How you find it and develop it has a lot to do with you and your life experiences. That being said, it is crucial that you start, no matter how small. Once you find that voice, stand your ground and make sure you abide by it! These are a few things I personally used, that helped me develop my voice.
1. Introspect: It all starts with looking within yourself. Ask yourself all the tough questions you’ve been avoiding.
2. Believe In Yourself: You need to believe in what you’re saying and what you stand for. Empty words mean nothing at all.
3. Stand Your Ground: Along the way, you’ll find people who will try to drown your voice out and make you change your mind. The real test is being able to withstand all of that and hold true to what you believe in.
4. Actions: Sometimes, you may find yourself in a situation where you’re lost for words. Just remember, actions can speak just as loud as words.
Enough is enough! It’s time that my voice becomes the change!