What makes her pretend that she likes the uncle who insists that she sits on his lap while he tries to cup her delicate back surreptitiously? Why does she nod her head meekly when he says, “I’ll come home tomorrow!” and later curls herself into a protective ball, willing with all her heart to be invisible?
What makes her cross the road in wild abandon- with her bowed down;
Pretending deaf to the catcalls, wolf-whistles and the leery comments, that keeps ringing in her ears even after they’re long gone?
What makes her walk that extra mile in a circuitous route pretending to friends that it is her only workout, all the while watching out for that faceless face she wanted to avoid, all the while skittering like a frightened rabbit.
What makes her squeeze close to the ladies seat and stand even in a sparsely crowded bus, inching away discreetly to not show by her face or actions the acute violation that her body felt at being groped continuously and rubbed against.
What makes her hide the brutal bite marks with a high back blouse, stifle her wince while she splashes cold water on her womanhood and defeated pride, begging them to forget the hurtful violation of her husband’s inflated ego and erection.
What makes her delicately draw down the little gown of her infant girl, trying to protect the innocence and dignity; while her recurring nightmares strips her baby’s clothes, hope and dreams over and over;
What silences her palpable anger, her raw pain?
What suffocates her ability to breath freedom and break free?
What muffles her loud screams and her passionate dreams?
Is it the pertinent question “What would people think?”
Is it the thought that’s seeded in her mind - “This would ruin your life!“?
Is it that one feeling that’s fed over and over to her by the many generations and layers of a cruel society?
Is it the manmade feeling call Shame?
She never screams, fights, retaliates, hopes, dreams, or dares…
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