The #WomensMarch was a week ago and I am still seeing photos and stories on my social media feeds about the response across the world. There was no march in Kerala, South India where I am now. When the #WomensMarch took place in America, it was dark in Kerala. I am sure I was not the only woman who wanted to support those who were marching, but, in India, it is not safe for women to be out after dark. Men must chaperone the women otherwise they risk things happening to them.
Speaking of things just happening to women, on December 31st in the city of Bengalaru (formerly Bangalore)in Karnataka, many of the women who were out celebrating New Year’s Eve were allegedly molested by some of the men in the same crowds. In an article in the Indian Express, the Karnataka Minister was quoted as saying that these things happen. When I read that, I inferred that assaults on women are expected and should be accepted as our fate. This Brown Girl rejects that notion. As an Indian American making India her temporary home, I will never just accept that any man can assault me or any other woman and get away with it. Unfortunately, most do get away. According to the Indian National Crime Records Bureau, there were 34, 651 cases of rape reported with just over 29% convicted. Given these numbers, the #WomensMarch is even more important than we may have initially thought. There were many women, but there were also many men who were there.
During the last week, as I watched the footage of the #WomensMarch, I realized that I looked at it from the perspective of a very independent women who has lived most of her life in America where I was relatively safe if alone at night outside of my home. Since this is not the case here in India, those who were marching across the world were marching for all of us. Campaigns like the #WomensMarch and #IWillGoOut represent the struggle to normalize a woman’s right to have the same freedoms and rights as a man. In India, the majority of men do not support women’s rights and freedoms, so it was quite incredible to see the images of so many women and men (supporting the women in their lives) standing up for love and equality all around the world. I stand in solidarity with them from across the ocean and pledge to make every day the march that cannot be ignored. #womensmarch #Solidarity #Browngirlspeaks