Ek shaam abhi kaam per hi the, Ke achaanak TV se maloom huwa, Adhi raat12 baje Corona ke chalte, Poora desh lockdown ho jayega Pher sab kuch such mein ruk bhi gaya. Kya factories ki anthek masheenein, Kya dukanon ke khuley shutter Kya chalti rail aur buson ke engine Kya malik ki vinamr sahanubhooti Sabhi kuch per hii taala per gaya.
Buss khuley the tou peit ki bhook, Gaaon se aati ma ke phone ki ghanti, Aur us phone se nikalti Ma ki pukaar, “Beta jaldi ghar aa ja, jaise bhi ho ghar aa ja. Kab tak bhooka rahega, kab tak footpath per soyega, Wahan kaun hai tera? Shehr ki pakke makaan aur pakki sarak ki tarah, Wahan log bhi pather ke hain.
Yahan gaon ki pagdandi ki urti mitti, kuwein ka ghattaa thanda paani, Ghar ka purana bikherta chapper, Choolhey per pakti bajre ki khichri, Sab ke sab jaise bhi hain,apne hain. Aur pher mayn bhi tou huun yahan.
“Wahan Corona huwa tou kya hoga? Bhagwan na kare, hospital mein lawaris number ban ker< barafkhane mein jama diye jaaogey. Na koi royega na chhaati peetega.
“Nahin nahin, jaise bhi ho gaaon chale aao. Yaad nahin, kitne sookhe, kitni baarhein, Kitne bukhar, kitna jullab, Jhel chukey hain mil jul ker. Corona ko bhi dekh lengey. Aur marna hi likha hai ager, Yahan, apni mitti tou milegi.”
Trending fire against #boyslockerroom has been blazing on Instagram and Twitter since 2 days, shocking many on how boys as young as 16-18 years were sharing pictures of underage girls and dissecting their anatomy in a group. I am no underage girl, and I am not surprised at 55 yrs of age. Is this not what we have all known since our childhood that #BoysWillBeBoys– reinforced not just by our fathers, uncles, brothers, male friends but by even mothers, grandmothers and aunts? So what is there to be shocked about? Have we not seen lewd images of private anatomy drawn or etched on public or train washroom walls, or tree trunks in playgrounds with names of the artists bravely signed at the bottom? If you have studied in a co-ed school from junior, middle to senior grades you know how boys of your grade have been noticing and talking among themselves about your emerging signs of puberty and exactly when started to wear a bra. Some even could guess by your walk in school.uniform if you were having periods. Yes we girls knew it too that we were being discussed..It was so normalized that we were told by our parents that the onus was entirely on us to ensure our own safety because “boys will be boys”. Did you not hear an uncle joking openly in a party of how his young secretary has better measurements than your auntie? Or something similar? Or how he ordered a tall blonde from Starbucks with a twinkle in his eyes. This is exactly where the little boys got the clue to objectify and make sexual jokes on little girls. If at all anything that has changed now is that this shit called ‘boys will be boys’ has gone digital and could be captured with screenshots as a proof. Rest it has been the same conversation over generations. And thanks to #MeToo movement, there has been a significant disruption in the normalization of such patriarchal norms. Victimblaming, gaslighting or retaliatory responses with #girlslockerroom screenshots are an age old tactics to divert the conversation. There are no binaries to “boys will be boys”. Kudos to young girls mustering courage to stand up. Yes it’s time now for “girls to be Empowered GIRLS, so that boys won’t be boys. No more. #girlempowerment#patriarchy#misogyny. #boyswillbeboys#nomore.
Sonia and Vicky( names not real) are both a working couple. Sonia works as a school teacher. Vicky works in a hotel as a floor manager. He loves socializing with friends and spent at least 3-4 evenings with his friends drinking. Freuently, he comes home drunk, and it just takes him a silly excuse to either hurl abuses or sometimes even physically hit Sonia. Kids are scared of him when drunk. Sonia tries to avoid too. But often questions herself: “Why did I say this or do this to enrage him?” She has mentioned this to her Mom and her reply was, “Havent you seen your father? How he behaves when drunk?” She tries her best to not trigger Vicky, but she unfortunately always fails. Then came Corona. Soon it was declared a pandemic and all countries started to lock down. Within 2 weeks Vicky was laid off. He was depressed, not just because he had lost his job but also because he could not drink with his friends. Sonia was asked by school to work remotely and she had to spend extra hours learning the art of digital lessons. Her two kids, 5 and 9 were also home, as the schools were closed. Sonia helped them navigate the digital lessons and homeworks too. Ofcourse cooking, cleaning, washing were part of her responsibilities too. One day Vicky woke up at 12 Noon with loud laughter from the kids room. “Why are the kids screaming? Sonia? I cant even sleep?” Sonia was busy on the dining table with her laptop and preparing lessons for her next class. “Sonia, why cant you listen? Why cant you mind the kids?” screamed Vicky from the room. Sonia: “I am working for my lesson. They are on a break after 2 hours of work.” Vicky: “But I am heaving a headache.” Sonia: “Yes, I understand. But please bear with it. I will tell the kids to not be too noisy. “ Vicky: “Make me a cup of tea.” ( shouts from the room). Sonia: “Okay. Just 5 minutes. I am about to finish the work. Just relax.” In 15 minutes, she makes the cup of tea and takes for Vicky in the bedroom. Vicky: “Is this your 5 minutes? “ Sonia: “I was just finishing the school lesson. I have been up since 7:30 AM. But did not have a minute to spare.” Vicky: “You want to prove that you that your work is more imprtant than me? Just because I dont have a job? “ Sonia keeps quiet and goes back to the kitchen as she now has to cook for the lunch, during her 1 hour school lunch break. Vicky( shouts from inside): “What is this? How much sugar have you put in the tea? “ Sonia: “Oh, maybe I put it twice. Sorry, I was just absent minded.” Vicky: “You are a useless woman. Its like a cold sherbet. I needed a good cup of hot tea for my headache.“ Sonia: “You drank a lot late in the night. This is a hangover from that?” Vicky gets enraged, and slaps Sonia: “How dare you taunt me? You will now question my drinking? Bitch !”
In the evening Sonia tells her husband that she has to go out for groceries. He shouts again, “So you now want to stroll outside and bring home infection for me and kids?” Sonia: “So who will get the groceries? Will you go? “ Vicky slaps her and shouts: “Shut up you bitch ! You want me to go out and die?” Now Vicky’s triggers leading to abuses and slappings have become more frequent. Sonia does not know how to change this? She cannot even go to her mother’s home for a respite, and nor can she speak to her or anyone of her friends because of Vicky being around all the time during lockdown.
Sonia has a question for you all: Am I at fault for all of Vicky’s triggers? Do I have to live like this all my life or is there anything that can change my life ?
This is a story not from one country, one community or one faith group. This is the story from all across the globe.
Gender based violence aka Domestic violence or violence against women has been a pandemic ever since the human life began. In each crisis or natural disaster it has been a best evidence that there occurs a spike in GBV. So has it happened in #COVID19 crisis. From Japan to China to Phillipines to India to pakistan to Turkey to France to UK to US to Canada there are reports of increase domestic violence during lockdown. Public authorities insist people to ‘Stay home, stay safe’. However home is not safe for many victims of abuse and they are in more vulnerable and exposed to violence during social distancing and lockdown.
Please do leave your answers to the above question in the comments below. The intent of these stories is to initiate conversation on domestic violence and create a better awareness on this global pandemic.
Here are a few tips for those facing violence at home during lockdown: