A night enlightened by moonbeams witnessed the conversation of students from two girls houses. The trees, flowers and watery tiny ponds seem to smile on the moonlit night. The aestheticity is unspeakable.
I have a complaint letter in my hand that was meant to be exposed to the administration ages back from 4000E girls.
It was the time when people were talking about how they were treated, how the past 5 years would have been the best 5 years of our life if we never lacked communication. Well not tryna be too pessimistic;somehow we all have the same story.
Everyone’s eyes told something, something traumatizing. Everything was so dark and unilluminated behind the happy faces of girls studying novels instead of going out and play.
The question arises, what did we all face?
We were always told about the quality of education and this residential school is a good place. But why didn’t anyone tell us about the monsters living among us? Why didn’t you tell us that our male batchmates will have to follow different rules and have facilities unlike us? Why didn’t you tell us that we will be stared if we wear shorts (which is a part of our P.E uniform or we will always have to hide our sports bra straps with white shawl? Why?
Too much of silence. Too much disgust. Too much suppression.
Why would anyone dare to talk about practicing sports in middle pitch? It is owned by boys, right? Why do school pitches seem out of bound for girls? Why are we always told by the hpe department, “You are a girl you cannot play football”, “You are a girl you should not play with boys”, “girls cannot have a football team”.
We had compiled everyone’s past experiences and comments we had to receive when we didn’t act like girls from the 90s.
”I was grasped by a gang of guys( my own batch) and touched all over my body and I felt really bad about it but never had the guts to talk about it”
” Once, when i was in s.h one girl was suspended for having an affair but the boy did not have to go through it and everything was perfectly fine”
”Prohibition in going outside the house during free time, the skirt and socks lengths, the way we are told to not to talk to a certain guy, the fact that we are bullied by guys and are not talking about it”
” after celebrating abusive holy for first two years I was fed up and stopped playing for next three years. In second year i was forcefully groped by senior dais in the name of putting colors”
”Actually I feel it as one day of a year where boys can intentionally touch the private parts of girls and cover it saying ‘happy holi”
”We had a violent attack by a gang of boys!!(Ex Saipalians know it better)”
” My voice was suppressed ,my voice was suppressed. But then I had to keep quiet because I couldn’t shout at them anymore! None of my female friends could speak neither could I”
”When I asked my friends that why don’t girls play in middle pitch. She replied with ”no one has ever dared to do that”.”
”On Saturdays, we are rarely allowed to go outside our house and when we actually get the permission to go outside the house only for reasons like calling/ meeting our parents, we used to be looked at with suspicious eyes as if we went to do something illegal meanwhile when guys roamed around the school all day.”
”After supper, if we arrive at the house a little late, we are scolded and reminded of the character we have to maintain. boys houses are never even locked and there we are with big padlocks locked on our gates at 8pm. ”
”In the beginning of grade 5 our social studies teacher told that till class 8 nine girls and a boy appear in top ten whereas from the start of class 9 there are nine boys and not more than a girl in top ten list. My journey to sexist bnks society started from there.”
”Regardless to say my roommate got suspended, lost the opportunity of being HC and JC president because she was caught being in a relationship. Whereas the boy she was in relation twas saved by his HOH( not to mention HOH in the boys house always saved them for whatever crime) even became HC and JC president. ”
”He kept quiet and sat down and another boy stood up saying “Girls themselves are responsible for being raped because they wear seductive outfits.” What the hell was that? Then almost all the boys started hooting, giving him support but I was still shouting in the crowd trying my best to give a slam answer to that!! But no!! The teacher( he was a male teacher )asked the class to keep quiet and asked me to sit down.I said sir I want to say something and he said this topic is finished.”
”Once, during exams i wanted to go to the accounts teacher’s flat to ask questions as we had an accounts exam the next day and our duty teacher simply said no. Next day, i knew boys had already gone there and asked him about it.”
”We are not allowed to wear PE shorts no matter how hot the weather is just because the boys may stare at our thighs and the male teachers may feel uncomfortable”
”once when i was playing with boys of our batch in volleyball court teachers glared us as if we were doing something bad”
”I don’t remember much but I have been verbally harassed by my own batch mates calling me really bad names. Telling me to act like a girl if you are one. Shouting names in public, talking shit behind our backs which always made me insecure of being around!”
”we are not allowed to wear PE shorts no matter how hot the weather is just because the boys may stare at our thighs and the male teachers may feel uncomfortable”
”Availability of exeat chits and not allowing us NT without the accompany of teachers . We even had to wear knee length shocks in scorching sun!!”
”The most annoying rule to me is even after taking shower I had to tie up my hair which damaged my hair alot. Or else the duty teacher shouts ‘ ko keta lai dekhauna kapal khulla chhodeko?’
Everyone’s eyes now seeked for justice, for equality. We have to do something for our own respect and dignity. The harmful impact of sexism can be worse for some women and men due to their ethnicity, age, disability, social origin, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or other factors. If we are taught to stay quiet in school, how can we bring change? We don’t want to feel insecure while walking alone in the street, at least not inside the school boundary. Why do girls and boys of the same age and same school have different rules? Why does coeducation here seem like two groups of all boys and all girls school? In our house assembly, we were told that we don’t belong to boys houses just because a complaint was filed against us for practicing march past in the middle pitch for a little late. We are reminded that we are girls whenever we try to do something to bring a change and said that we don’t have enough confidence. Doesn’t confidence depend on us and not on our gender? Boys can roam around the school premises in their half school uniform and we aren’t even allowed to wear shorts just because our school has accepted that we are stared. Why don’t they have any restrictions? Why do we need to stay inside our houses on weekends? Aren’t we supposed to breathe outside our houses?
We all remember when we had to work so hard for exeat chit so that we could bring stuffs for our social visit whereas there are so many boys who go home every week. Why did we girls have to cling desperately for permission to go home for one night?
All the cultural shows and performances by girls houses are decent without a single bhojpuri song. And boys can twerk on the stage? Going to NT is a once in a blue moon thing in girls house whereas we have heard boys going to Narayanthan to buy a copy. Seriously, a copy. Also during CP/DC we aren’t allowed to bring our phones but why is it allowed in boys houses? We can never forget the times when we were pressured to reach the dining hall at exact time whereas the boys tables were always empty. Why were we always attacked by a group of our own batchmates in holi? Why is it considered normal when boys verbally harass us? Also, why do girls lose the chance of getting posts in their houses when they are caught alone with a boy? We have witnessed sexism in our own houses. We are not allowed to wear skirts shorter than the knee length and we are not allowed to wear socks shorter than the knee length. Why do we see boys attending classes wearing slippers? We witnessed a huge lock in our houses exactly at 9. Why is it easy for boys to escape and go to black gate? We are told that girls aren’t much into sports because we aren’t given the opportunity. Let us play. We don’t think that the middle pitch is out of bound. Also, we don’t talk to boys to gain popularity. We talk because they are our friends.
Now, It’s time to finally drop the complaint letter that we should have dropped years back. We don’t want to make this a story to tell outsiders after ten years. We want a change. We are done staying quiet. We don’t wanna break any rules but all we want is equality between us and our other batchmates.