Remember the feeling of being uncomfortable within the confines of your home? Checking every window twice over to make sure they are shut properly, there's not as much of a crack through which anyone can peer in? Women across the Indian subcontinent are familiar with this constant self-surveillance. Because we are somewhat conditioned to believe that if we are not constantly vigilant, something very bad may happen to us.
A couple of days back, a girl in Karachi bore the brunt of patriarchal excesses that embolden men to barge into women's personal spaces without any fear of reproach. In a Facebook post, shared on a popular group called Girls at Dhabas, the girl shared her horrifying experience. She recounted how at 12 in the morning, she heard a light knock on her window - mind you, she lives with her parents in the house inside a gated community in Karachi.
On opening the window, she saw three leery men in their 20s asking her to take a chit from them. At first she refused and when the guys persisted, despite her shouting at them, she took the chit. In the small piece of paper, the boys dared her to come out of the house and meet them. They threatened that they had a 'nude' video of her - and so that she doesn't have any doubt about the veracity of their claims, they even put down the colour of the underwear she was wearing.
She rushed out, father in tow to catch the boys, but they ran away. When the neighbours were alerted about the security breach, besides expressing concern, they also wondered aloud, why the girl had left the window open while changing. She had not - she had just not bolted it, the boys managed to prise the window open and shoot her in a sly. They even suggested slyly that she may have been 'involved' with one of the boys. Thankfully, her parents rooted for her and told the ridiculous neighbours off.
In a subsequent post, she clarified that boys were being brought to justice the best possible way she and her parents knew of.
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