street harassment

*Just to be clear, this isn’t a male bashing post. But I am affected by recent events in my life and it may sound like a male bashing post. I know not all men are like this.*

99% of women confirm that they have been subjected to street harassment. This comes in the form of cat-calling, groping, leering, making crude gestures, being grabbed at, being told something sexually offensive and/or derogatory; and in the worst case, being sexually harassed or assaulted.

That statistic is alarming. But somehow, it doesn’t come as a shock to me. In a world where one gender fails to see the misfortunes and consequences of their actions, it really is no surprise that society has fallen to all new lows.

Men have leered at me. Called me names. Winked at me and thrown suggestive comments. They’ve cat-called. They’ve rolled down the window and wolf whistled. And all of this has been done in public. But until yesterday (14/12/2016 [fourteenth of december, 2016]) no man had ever physically touched me in the wrong way.

Yesterday night, while exiting the stadium where Coldplay had just performed and heading to the main road to our taxi, amongst nearly 50,000 other concertgoers, a man, who was not drunk, decided to grab my forearm and attempt to drag me towards him, saying “you’re coming with me”.

I have never been more terrified.

And I think the terror kickstarted my already high adrenaline, because I did manage to lose his grip, tell him to fuck off and proceed to speed walk with my sister, as fast as we could.

And let me just deconstruct the provocative dressing myth right here. Yesterday, I was wearing white skinny jeans, a white and blue sleeveless blouse with a modest neckline, a few rings and necklaces, and my chunky cut-out heeled boots. My hair was in a bun so I didn’t overheat while singing and dancing. There was nothing remotely provocative or alluring about my outfit. In fact, my blouse even covered my jeans covered ass, so nothing was really being presented to the man.

So I wonder exactly why he decided it would be a good idea to violate my personal space, demean me and harass me in the middle of a crowd.

What went through his mind to think it was alright to make a pass at a young lady who was heading home after a concert?

There’s always this afterthought to actions like this. “Boys will be boys”. “Boys are immature. It’s how they are”. “These actions are harmless”. And honestly? That’s the root of the issue. Excuses for this disgusting behaviour that forgive the atrocities that men commit is one of the most significant reasons as to why men continually street harass women. They don’t even need to be affected by a woman in a short dress anymore. They just pick on any woman they see walking down the street or talking on the phone. Because they know society will forgive their actions as an immature character flaw.

It’s a societal privilege inbuilt into our culture, that men are the more dominant sex. And therefore, it’s perfectly acceptable for them to make demeaning and/or objectifying remarks towards women. Because simply speaking, they can.

I had a 20 second encounter with that man yesterday. But in those 20 seconds, I felt so violated and uncomfortable. And objectified. To grab at someone and say, you’re coming with me, is a clear objectification. Street harassment and situations such as the one I just described, are perfect examples of men still believing that their rights, actions and freedoms are simply more valued and important than anyone elses.

So what now?

Maybe it’s time to stop making excuses for boys and men. Maybe it’s time to start teaching them, that if you want to compliment a lady on her outfit, then choose a way that doesn’t make us feel uncomfortable and sexualised. Maybe it’s time to start educating boys from a young age, that grabbing and groping women, and insinuating that they should bend to your whim and will is wrong and unacceptable. Maybe it’s time to educate men about the emotional trauma suffered my women on a daily basis, because of the effects of street harassment. Maybe it’s time to start drilling it into the heads of every boy and man that they have no right to objectify, demean or sexualise women.

It’s honestly fucking disgusting.

We’re heading into 2017, yet women still don’t feel safe and are continually violated, even in the most public of spaces.

xx Simran

 

COLDPLAY 14.12.16

I’m sore and tired and at work on three hours of sleep. My body hurts from all the dancing and my voice is hoarse and weak from the screaming and singing. But beyond doubt, this was the best 18th present I could have ever received. 

Coldplay was lit. Coldplay was stunning. Coldplay was beyond perfection. Chris Martin? He is flawless. He has some of the greatest stage presence and charisma I’ve ever seen. He is a god. And I can’t even. 

He even wrote us a song cos he’s just really friggin special ❤


I can’t even. I don’t think I’ll ever get over this experience. Coldplay was bloody phenomenal. 

xx Simran 

An open letter to 2016

2016.

Honestly, I don’t know how to summarise you. You went too quickly, but at times, not quick enough. You were a surprisingly tasty but strong concoction of reality, happiness, fear, struggle and success. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

2016 was challenging. I think every student underestimates how challenging university actually is. And it’s only natural. There’s no way you can prepare yourself for univcrsity. The courses are so content heavy, the exams are painful. If your faculty and staff for the semester are unfriendly, then you’ll suffer in misery. Failure is a real thing.

But UNSW was good to me in 2016. I made some of the most wonderful friends and got to experience some of the greatest things. Being at uni has allowed me to grow and flourish and really consider how I want to make myself successful and make something of myself. I’ve made some of the most invaluable and wonderful friends I could ever ask for. The support system and unbreakable friendship is something I am so grateful for and will cherish for the rest of my life.

I vowed at the end of 2015, that I would actively seek to rid myself of the self-doubt and at times hatred, when I didn’t perform as well as I could’ve. And successfully getting through my first year of uni proved that. I took responsibility for my happiness and wellbeing above all, and repeatedly taught myself that I would do the best I could and every result I received would reflect that.

And this mindset has made me so much happier, successful and fulfilled.

2016 saw me embark on a few travels and discoveries. From India to Africa and back to Melbourne, and also around Sydney and NSW, I had some of the greatest travel experiences. I got to give into my love for nature photography and combined it with my insatiable wanderlust. I met people, ate the most delicious, new foods; and was allowed to experience some life changing moments.

2016 was so wonderful, and I’m hoping 2017 is even more wonderful, so I can travel and experience more. And in light of this, I hope 2017 is as prosperous and giving, so I can fulfil my whims and desires and experience new and exciting things.

2016 was exciting. I turned 18, and I’m now a legal adult. I bought my first drinks as an adult (not that 2016 was the first year I drank alcohol), voted in Australia’s federal election, became a more aware and mature young woman; and began to take control of my life. 2016 has shaped me a lot. Whether it be learning how to drive, or actually going through with calls to our utilities companies so they can start fixing things; going to the doctors alone or going grocery shopping by myself; the little things 2016 let me experience have made me more aware and more “adult-y”.

2016 let me have my first clubbing experience. 2016 let me embark on more cooking and food adventures, allowing me to enhance my culinary skill and go wild and free in the kitchen. 2016 let me embark on a journey to understand and accept myself and my identity – a kickass, independent, fierce and intelligent young Australian woman with an indian heritage. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s happening.

I got to see Shawn Mendes live. I’ll be going to Coldplay on the 14th of December. I watched and streamed every single one of the All Black’s matches this year. I fell in love with Matthew Daddario and Harry Shum Jr (again because I was a Gleek back in the day), rekindled my addiction for political and legal dramas, and added to my list of celebrity crushes. I successfully marathoned The Fresh Prince of Belair and Gilmore Girls. I fell in love with Zayn (again) and gave into my addiction to the Weeknd and his voice.

2016 enabled me to take charge of my life. Start working while I study, and more recently, become a volunteer with Youth Outreach so I could give back to the community and work with disadvantaged students. 2016 enabled me to access and enlarge my political and social voice and use it to increase my confidence about my views regarding the most popular and controversial issues around me.

2016 also taught me a lot about myself. I know I vowed in 2015 to start looking after myself more. And I did. In my 2015 reflection, I promised myself that I would come clean with someone who had hurt me. I did. Whether it worked or not, I’m still not sure. Tears were shed. There was a lot of anger and a lot of frustration. And I still haven’t fully come clean with him. Simply because he wouldn’t understand. But now, I’ve come to accept that I won’t get even 50% of what we had. And that isn’t worth it. So it’s time for me to cut him from my life and move on properly, rather than cling to the hope of change. Yes, it hurts. It hurts like a bitch. But he isn’t worth a drop of my tears or a second of my anger; and he sure as hell isn’t privy to any of my happiness either. So why not just have a clean break so I can flourish?

If I’m to sum up 2016 in a nutshell, I would describe it as a diving board into new challenges and opportunities. Some of my dives failed and flopped. Some of my dives were successful and I flourished with them.

So, what do I want from 2017

In 2017, I want more happiness and more experiences. I want to work on my self esteem and my self acceptance. I want to turn my dreams into reality. I want to work and play hard, and get myself accepted into more activities that allow me to grow as an individual. I want to challenge myself with new experiences socially, poltically and maybe even romantically. I want to further my experience with photography and maybe enter competitions. I want to challenge myself to be and do better. I hope that each day in 2017 is more interesting and exciting then the day before. I hope that like 2016, I continue to stay true to myself, my values and my beliefs, and transform myself into the best version of myself.

2016, the end is near. And honestly, I’m so excited for 2017.

xx Simran

(a photo review of 2016 might come along as well. If I can be dedicated enough to search through the 25000 photos taken this year.)

🙃

You might be educated and dignified, but you’re nothing if you think it’s a great idea to joke about disability. 

xx Simran