I didn’t have the words before, or the clarity, or even the courage to write this letter. But today as I see others who are being affected by people like you, I realise the importance to finally confront you.
As I recall, it was just another day of my life. I was on my way to work in the usual morning bus. I saw some usual travelers and some unusual ones. You were one of the latter. As always, the bus was crowded and I had to stand the entire hour-long journey. I stood there, one hand holding the grab-handle and the other holding the phone, wildly texting. And then you came and stood beside me. Closer than I’d like but the bus was crowded and so I didn’t give you a second glance. I continued listening to the blaring music playing on my earphones and catching up with friends on WhatsApp. The usual! And then I felt something warm go up my kurta. A warm hand! A disgusting touch! I froze and stopped texting. But somehow I didn’t have it in me to stop you.
So many like me would have just ‘let it happen’ and wouldn’t have said anything about it.
To be honest, you weren’t the first one to take my silence as an invitation to do as you please. But your touch felt the dirtiest. I tried swatting your hand away but you kept creeping back.
I had conveniently avoided even talking about that day. Nobody knows about it. But today I realized that I had to talk about it. For my sake and others’! So many like me would have just ‘let it happen’ and wouldn’t have said anything about it. But today I stand for them and raise my voice. The next time you do such a horror; know that I will not remain quiet.
So if you ever do read this letter, I don’t want you to just feel guilty. I wish one thing on you – if and when you have a daughter, think about someone doing to her what you did to me.
Author: Zainab Haji