The silence that kills us
Perhaps it isn’t the discomfort of the narrow streets which makes liberty unbearable for us,
It isn’t the sharp scents of sweat which disgust us,
It isn’t the crowd which suffocates us,
In fact, it isn’t the noise, the crowd or the obvious lack of quality in products,
It’s the silence.
The unsaid hush when I turn to speak up to the unwanted hands up my clothes,
The constant background whistles of frustrated middle-aged men,
It’s the toxic masculinity which suffocates us,
The vulnerability when your body turns into a canvas,
Painted by obnoxious stares,
Held by unholy hands.
It’s the desensitisation, the normalisation, the silence,
The echoes of shameless name calling,
The constant reiteration of the male privilege,
Step by step,
Minute by minute,
Street by street,
Market by market.
They say “women are weak”, “a woman can’t fight” but I’ve never seen something as delicate as a man’s ego,
How the hush stems from protecting “ghar ki izzat” (family’s honour),
How speaking up can somehow taint their dignity,
How the world turns to fire when it hears the truth,
How it is more shameful to be groped than to grope.
Perhaps it is true that our lives become meaningless when we decide to be silent about things that matter,
It’s then when silence kills us.
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