When I was six years old, I gave my first blowjob.
“It’s a game”, said He. “Don’t you want to play?”
It was too big, and I threw up on him.
He said I’d do better the next time.
When I was seven years old, I watched a group of fellow second
graders cheer as a boy in my class tried to kiss me. He hugged me from
behind, giggling all the while.
I threw sand in his eyes, and was sent to the Principal.
When I was eight years old, I had an elderly teacher ask me to stay
behind in class. He carried me on his shoulders, and called me pretty.
“Teacher’s Pet!” my friends declared, the envy visible on their faces.
They ignored me at lunch that day.
When I was nine years old, an older girl on the school bus would ask
me to lift my skirt up for her. She was pretty and kind, and told me
that I could only be her friend if I did what she said.
I wanted to be her friend.
When I was ten years old, a relative demanded that he get a kiss on
the cheek every time we met. He was large and loud, and I proceeded to
hide under my bed whenever I learnt that he was visiting.
I was known as a rude child.
When I was eleven, my auto-man told me that we would only leave if I gave him a hug every day.
He smelled like cheap soap and cigarettes.
When I was twelve years old, I watched as a man on the street touched
my mother’s breast as he passed us. She slapped him amidst the shouts
of onlookers telling her to calm down.
She didn’t calm down.
When I was thirteen years old, I exited a restaurant only to see a
man visibly masturbating as he walked towards me. As he passed, he
My friends and I shifted our gazes down, aghast.
When I was fourteen, a young man in an expensive car followed me home
as I walked back from an evening class. I ignored his offer to give me a
ride, and I panicked when he got out, only to buy me a box of chocolate
that I refused. He parked at the end of my road, and didn’t go away for
“It turns me on to see you so scared.”
When I was fifteen, I was groped on a bus. It was with a heart full
of shame that I confided in a friend, only to be met with his anger and
disappointment that I had not shouted at the molester at the time when
it happened. My soft protests of being afraid and alone were drowned out
as he berated my inaction. To him, my passiveness and silence were the
reasons why things like this continue to happen.
He did not wait for my response.
When I was sixteen, I discovered that Facebook had a section of inbox
messages named ‘others’, which contained those mails received from
strangers, automatically stored as spam. Curious, I opened it to find
numerous messages from men I had never seen before. I was propositioned,
called sexy, asked for nudes, and insulted.
When I was seventeen, I called for help as a drunken man tried to sexually harass me in a crowded street.
The people around me seemed to walk by quicker.
At eighteen, I was told that sexism doesn’t exist in modern society.
I was told that harassment couldn’t be as bad as us women make it out to be.
That I should watch what I wear.
Never mind you were six, never mind you were wearing pink pajamas.
That I should be louder.
But not too loud, a lady must be polite.
That I should always ask for help.
But stop overreacting, there’s a difference.
That I should stay in at night, because it isn’t safe.
You can’t get harassed in broad daylight.
That I should always travel with no less than two boys with me.
You need to be protected.
That it can’t be that hard to be a girl.
I am now nineteen years old.
I am now tired.
(This poem was posted anonymously to Glasnost, which describes itself as National Law University New Delhi's Independent Student Newspaper)