This column was first published in Feministaa.
Taruna Ashwani was the next name in queue in the row of social (media) storms, and rightly so. For the uninitiated, THIS is what she did!!
We are celebrating her in the social media, and why not? She called out on the shamer, than be cowered and shamed. She called out. And how! It takes much and much more, and yet some more, to stand up and call out, to admit and to yet call out, to assert. And she has done that with so much grace that now the word grace will shame its own dictionary meaning. Taruna Ashwani has gone the way each, every single, of us needs to go when we find ourselves at such a crossroad like hers. The media has stood up in a virtual standing ovation, and for once we have raised our applauds louder than the frail – nevertheless incorrigible – moral-police voices who feebly ask why she did what she did when she sent pictures. We have overcome those feeble voices. We have risen beyond that, and so has she herself. Way, way higher.
Indeed! This is exactly what we must do, and we should. This is what is needed, to put the thrust back at where it must belong. To show the faces, to uncover the filth and the stains. They call it washing dirty linen? Let them. They ask you why you did what you did? Let them. You stay, you keep on. You believe, in yourself. And we believe, too. In you! Infact, we need more of you, more of your like.
But you know what, Taruna? You know the saddest part of the story? Your name will remain in social media, and his? Forgotten. He, the culprit. He the mastermind. He, the protagonist of the filth. Mr. Kevin John. The one who sent you the email, the threats. The one who started the nasty game in the first place. The one, who is really the one behind it all.
And this – exactly – is where we go wrong, every single time. This is where we take the U turn and go back, from where we came. We go round and round, and end up nowhere.
As much we celebrate Taruna Ashwani, we need to know the names and faces of the culprits. For it is not about the shamed but about the shamer, not about the victim but the abuser abuser. Not about the raped, but about the rapist. It is not enough to applaud Taruna, for the job is but half done as yet. We need to find out the Mr. Kevin John. The person, and the psyche. The psyche which is – perhaps – not as singular as the person himself. The psyche, that males share in numbers. By races. By generations. The psyche – of entitlement and ownership. The psyche – of audacity and threats. The psyche – of being able to buy females across the counter with the currency of fear and shame. The psyche!
And once we hunt down the psyche that he shares with so many more of his clan across geography and age, we need to trap that. We need to trap that, as we set the girls free. Free to choose, and free to free herself of shame nevertheless. Free to stand up, and give it back. Free to arise. The lights must refocus, the shame equation must reverse itself. The tables – after all – must turn!
And until the day the lime light turns its face towards the wrong side, we need to wait. We need to call out every incident, every abuse and every act of violence. We need to rise, and rise. We need to rise so high so that we can turn the face. Of the focus, of the limelight!
Thank you Taruna! Together we will turn the tables, and that someday will hold your hand and come upon us soon.
Soon, very soon!