Action Hero Annie. An unknown man touched me. Andheri Station. Mumbai.
|Block 1 of I Never Ask For It Wall. Action Hero Vrushali|
Saturday January 14th
Time: 4 pm - 9 pm
Location: MG Road Bus Stop (app Deccan Herald office + Brigade Road
Form: Public Participatory Action/ Performance
Media: Testimonial of garments and I Never Ask For It wall built by citizens/ individuals/ allies/ communities aka Action Heroes
Sign up here
When I was twelve, somebody leaned over and said - don't attract attention to yourself. That's what I have been doing all my life. When I leave my home, I clutch my belongings, adjust my clothes and will myself to be invisible. I occupy the tiniest strip of space. I am constantly moving sidewards to let men walk by, because I know they will most definitely "accidentally brush".
From some unknown age, a verbal survival guide becomes your holy book. "Don't take an auto when it's dark. Don't take a bus in the rush hour. Get into the crowded "Ladies" compartment even if the "General" compartment is half empty. When you sit in an auto, never sit close to the sides even if you want to feel the wind in your hair. Sit in the centre, so no passing hand can reach inside and grope. Don't smile at the auto driver. Don't smile at the shopkeeper. Don't smile."
By the time you're 18 you have permanent frown lines on your forehead. All your life, you have been biting your teeth and not smiling. In all public spaces.
This has to stop.
I want to be free from fear.
Who we are, where we go, what we wear, how we sit, stand, talk, walk in our very own cities. When we demand the need to make our cities non threatening , I don't expect anyone to think of me as their sister or mother, but to really look at women as citizens who have every right to be out on the streets, without any explanation. Sometimes we just love to walk, stand around, hang around, without looking 'available.'
We will write a new story. A story that is not rooted in fear but in being Action Hero.
No woman of any age colour or character ever deserves to be violated or what some may lightly call ‘eve teased’. There is no excuse for sexual violence. We are done being questioned. Controlled. Told.
If you know what I am talking about, meet me again on January 14th at MG Road ( opp Deccan Herald) bus stop between 4 - 9 pm. Bring along the garment you wore when you experienced any kind of sexual violence, threat , intimidation, abuse. Your garment is your story, your witness, your truth. You are not alone.Your garment will stand together with another garment: connecting your experience with another Action Heroes. Together, we are strong. We are safe. We resonate. I Never Ask For It.
9886840612 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Testimonial in letter extracted from Blank Noise Blogathon 2006