Let me tell you. Let me tell you a piece of my fear. The fear that latches on me every second of my day. The fear that keeps me paranoid. The fear that makes me so hard to trust people. Curious enough? Do I get your attention now? Good. Because I want you to listen.
When I walk on the sidewalk after I got home from school, buildings on my right and a big road on my left, to get myself to the safety of my home, I dare not to look at my right as I clutch my folded umbrella because I heard a whistle. When I walk outside my home, wearing a t-shirt and a knee length pants because I found them comfy, I tug down my shirt to cover my behind because the builders on my left keep saying “Hey, hey, hey,”.
When my friends and I were walking to church to celebrate Christmas, we looked around first, searching for an empty road to avoid the gazes of the guys in front of the shop ahead. When I heard and saw those news about rape, I got even more scared, terrified that it might happen to me, that I might be the next victim. Those poor rape victims, the blames they got because of their clothes and the rapist walked free.
Are our clothes to blame for the catcalls and rape? The uncomfortable school uniform; a loose skirt that reached the ankle? The comfortable short house pants? The dress and boot-heels to wear to church? The hijab the Muslim girls wear? The short dress for a night out? Are those garments to blame? Are the clothes that make us feel comfortable and confident, the cause of that horrid and traumatic thing?
Those are not justice. Those are the ingredients of trauma and fear. My fear. Girls’ fear. Boys’ too; different garments yet with the same context. Don’t you even dare to think that the victims are just girls! Because anyone, any gender, can be a victim of rape. Same goes with the rapist; anyone can be a rapist regardless of their gender.
Let us walk everywhere without this fear. Let us have fun without this fear. Let us live our lives without this fear. Because we all have the rights to feel safe and to be free of this fear.