Guest Post : ඇය

This is Deecee’s contribution to the 16 Days online campaign. She blogs at http://colomborantings.blogspot.com and tweets at https://twitter.com/DEEisaliveee

Original post can be found at http://colomborantings.blogspot.com/2011/11/16days-sl16days-vaw-takebackthetech.html

She is in her best dress, a pale pink ribbon tied across her waist. Little pink clips are in her hair and she sways to the baila music being played at the wedding. One hand is tightly clasped onto her grandfather while both her eyes adoringly transfix onto her father, who dances, twists and turns and swings back to meet her gaze. The smile at each other. 

I remember being that age, when Caucasian and perfect barbie dolls were the most important things in the world to my sister and I. A few years later, I didn’t quite understand it but Akki was a big girl now and was special. A whirlwind few years later, I had my own moment when I was considered to be the special one, when relatives visited and then went away, leaving me to understand what my body wanted from me, alone. It was already too late – my prepubescent being was touched, swift and featherlight by a pedestrian fruit seller – which happened as I followed my mother during one Sunday’s grocery shopping. I was too ashamed and terrified to tell her. Later, we bought oranges from him. It was too late, as it is usually for most little girls.

It is confusing for us. We are revered as dolls, then asked to grow up as fast as we can in our preteens, then plunged into a confusing, sexual world where men look at us, sing to us in undertones on the streets and then, the more forward ones, burden us with their unwanted, featherlight touches.

The Soma Devis, the Sigiri apsaras, the Sangamittas and Hemamalas. Was it the same for you all?

ඇය.

The little girl at yesterday’s wedding is looked after adoringly by her kith and kin. She is picked up, she is kissed, she is told that she can be anything and anyone she wants to. I think she’s cute, I tell my friend who is next to me. You’re getting broody, she replies.

It’s true. All I want to do is to pick her up and whisper lovingly; May you not be confined, judged or labelled to your dress, little one -m ay it be a redda hatte, dress, skirt or an abhaya. May you not be confined, judged or labelled on your choices in the matter of sex. May your grow up to be celebrated. May you be protected, respected and understood by your grandfathers, fathers, brothers and lovers – and as of now – a little girl and later, as an adolescent, friend, partner, wife and grandmother. May you reach womanhood to be strong, may you have a voice and speak for the powerless when the time should come. Because you need to, and we need you to.

Note from author :

This is my post for 16 Days CampaignThey’ve invited people to blog or speak online about gender violence issues.

Other posts I’ve touched on the subject of women can be found below –
Women in Buddhisum
Is heaven nice? – An Indie Ink challenge
A charity initiative
For women who are ‘difficult’ to love – by Warsan Shire
Women I admire
Real men don’t harrass women – on Mathawaada
Cingalese women – again on Mathawaada

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