A man can feel for a woman who has suffered sexual abuse, so can he presume to say anything when he has never been a victim? 

11/1/2017 5:14:12 PM
written By : Venkatraman Sheshashayee Print

The flood of revelations by women about sexual  harassment following similar allegations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Winstein has unleashed a media storm. And it is not only women who are outraged. After having watched the #METOO movement unfold in  recent weeks, the author said that he too had seen some men (and women) deny reality; explaining, rationalising, rejecting the sexual abuse of women. “ I am 55 years old and have seen subtle and overt repression of women all my life. I am also an avid reader and am aware of how women have been treated historically. Thus, this gratuitous denial angered me,” he told India Se. Moved to share his pain and anger, here is what he wrote:

She sits sobbing, her body curling into an almost foetal position. Her face is strained, her hands clenched, her body wracked with fear, anger and shame. She feels violated and vulnerable, having experienced what every woman does countless times.

I sit close, wanting to soothe her, to tell her that I care, that I empathise, that I understand.

The words don’t emerge.

How can I presume to say anything?

I have never been groped. Or elbowed.

I have never been undressed by hungry eyes.

I have never been told to sit with my legs together.

I have never been told to behave like a lady.

I have never been spoken to while my breasts have been fondled visually.

I have never been pinched and expected to believe it is a compliment.

I have never been told not to drive so that I can remain faithful and not wander.

I have never been told that I cannot leave the house without a male escort.

I have never been owned.

I have never been bartered.

I have never been sold.

I have never been murdered by my father to protect his honour.

I have never had my clitoris sliced off by a rusty blade to prevent impure thoughts.

I have never been widowed and had my head shaved and told that I am an ill omen.

I have never been raped. Or violated in any manner.

I have never been told that my brother needs to eat first, as he is a boy and thus, is more valuable than me.

I have never been sacrificed through an abortion because I lacked a penis.

I have never been burnt alive because my parents did not fulfil my husband’s wants.

I have never been told that it is my fault because of the way I dress.

I have never been asked to leave the room so that the men could sip on port and smoke cigars.

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