My Dress is NOT a Yes!



Zainab Laila is a young teenager who aspires to write to inspire others. She started writing at the age of 10 and hasn’t stopped since.

My Dress is NOT a Yes!

Discrimination, though we say has decreased, it still hasn’t as much as it should. Respect for women is one thing some men need to focus on and take it seriously. If and when someone is sexually harassed and has to seek help from the police, it is human nature to think about it twice. The reason being, society and the police often play the blame game and look at the victim as the reason for the assault or molestation. The women are not given total support as they should and strict action is not taken against the perpetrator unless it is something “big” as they call it.

There was one such case in 2014 at the Scott Wagner trial where the Judge kept calling the girl, the accuser- ‘the accused‘ instead. Judge Robin Camp asked the alleged victim “Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?” and “Why didn’t you just sink your bottom down into the basin so he couldn’t penetrate you?”. He is now facing a public hearing to keep his job in Canada.

I have faced one such incident. While I was standing at the door of a local bus waiting for my stop to arrive the man standing beside me touched me all over in a way people wouldn’t notice and got down from the bus before I could shout, scream or even hit him. I was startled for a minute not knowing what had happened. It may have made no difference to the man but it left me, a normal teenager, in utter shock which has left me traumatised forever. I was not wearing “revealing” clothes nor was I “asking for it”. All I was doing was travelling by local public transport and if that is wrong then how are women supposed to travel every day? Do women not even have the right to step out of their houses? And if they do, why do they have to face such molestation? This kind of molestation is increasing at an alarming rate. The victims range from small kids to old ladies, of which teenage girls are the majority.

I didn’t even think of telling anybody this because instead of doing something they would have told me to be more careful and be home early. In fact, when I told my friends about the incident, the first thing one of my friends asked me was, “What were you wearing?” Only when I answered that it was a fully covered outfit did that person support me and told me to forget it. This experience of mine might not be as grievous a crime as rape but it is definitely categorized under sexual harassment and  it did leave an impact on me and that is the most important thing. I will never feel safe travelling by public transport ever again.

When men wear some kind of clothing it is acceptable while females wearing the same are stared at. Why? A friend of mine who plays basketball told me that players had to wear shorts and a sleeveless jersey for the match. Even though the boys’ team had worn the same thing, the girls were being looked at from top to bottom and they felt extremely uncomfortable. We, not just girls, but all humans, have to change our mind set and also try changing others in a progressive way.

We need to make our city safe so that no girl or woman ever has to think twice about travelling alone by  public transport or be afraid to walk down a street alone. We have to try and make it as safe as possible for women, children and every living being. Though we believe we do not have much power as individuals but each one of us can make ourselves more available for help, so that the people who have suffered in silence about the wrong done to them can trust us to listen to them and stand for their rights.

We have to start being aggressive about such topics and not tolerate even the slightest forms of harassment like a tease, a glare, a harsh touch let alone more grievous crimes like rape. We are the change and it lies within us to change the world.


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