This card is amazing in its context of highlighting TOUCH to do away with fears and tears. But for me this brings back some horrid memories of being “touched”.
I remember the time I had just come down to Delhi and started to work here. I had heard all about the infamous “groping” incidents that happen in DTDC buses but that didn’t prepare me for it when it happened to me. I remember that morning; I was late for work, caught this overtly packed bus and fought my way into the centre to stand with a clutch of women. Kept inching towards the front of the bus as each stop passed by and people got off; I suddenly felt something hard pressing against me. Thinking its a lady’s handbag, I edged sideways to catch her eye and tell her. Only it was a man standing behind me with a big leery grin and he started grinding. Oh man! It took me eons to move away as he moved forward with every step I took. I was a bare 22-year-old, from a very small town and had not yet found my voice or courage to “create a scene” in such a scenario and I did the next best thing I knew evaded it as best as I could. Yes, I got off at the next stop, regardless that it wasnt mine.
This incident left me feeling humiliated and shocked. I was scared for a while to board another bus and ended up leaving earlier, taking longer routes to work in half filled buses (which aren’t safe either, as I found out one day) and generally pushing it to the back of my mind.
I do remember my mother talking to me about anyone touching me when I was in school, but she made it sound so shameful and scary. I was supposed to tell her if anyone touched me or said anything untoward. At the end of the conversation, I had resolved to adopt the ostrich technique of burying my head in the sand.
Over a period of time, I did learn to speak up or stare back at these “men” who think nothing of preying on young women in public transport, bus stops and what nots. I also started to help/protect another girl in the same situation. I mean if today anyone even would look at me, he is in trouble. Yeah, I have come a long way and I am staying here.
There have been a few stray incidents at work of an arm on my shoulder or a brush of forearm on my chest; each one quelled with a pointed look or me moving away; making the man aware that I am not ok with it. Yes, they apologised each time (though I know better).
On the other hand, I have become a big fan of Hugs!! I don’t remember that being part of the ritual while growing up. But as I got a network of friends and colleagues, the hugging came into my life. At first it was just a social thing, but its developed into this warm heartfelt embraces with people I love, like, respect or just adore to cuddle with – my almost 4 yr old nephew is on top of the list there.
So yeah its ok to touch me, but only if I am ok with it. My permission is most important here and I don’t let myself or anyone else forget it.
Just as I had to learn self-love, I have learnt to love and accept my body (flaws, et all) and am happy to bask in myself.
What does being touched mean to you? Do you tell your child about bad and good touch?