Woman Alone

Published in The Daily Star Eid Special, October 2008; reprinted in (Re)Reading Taslima Nasrin: Contexts, Contents and Constructions (ed. Ali Riaz, Pub. Shrabon Prokashoni, Bangladesh) 2009.

I wept when I read Taslima describing a young man burning her arm with a cigarette in public. Or when I read, “Women who emerge from the home to set foot in the street; those women — not only me — are all prepared to bear silently any obscene remark in the streets.” This was the first time I realized that what had happened to me on that bus and later as well, happened to others, and was NOT MY FAULT. I cannot begin to describe what that meant to a guilt-ridden teen, who lacked the knowledge that sexual harassment or molestation was not an isolated incident, that it happened everywhere everyday, that it could happen to anyone. Twenty years ago — these were not things discussed in bhodro society.