That was not a click bait using a shocking headline. A man really did send me photos of his manhood last night.
I have met this man just once in my life in 2011. It was a casual date and we had sex. I never met him again but we’ve stayed connected on social media, and over the last five years he has given me hundreds of booty calls, some of which I found amusing, some boring, but none offensive. On my part I have been flirtatious but I was always clear in my head that I don’t want to meet him again simply because he was unattractive.
Last night, at around 11.30 pm he suddenly sent me 5-6 photos of his dick through WhatsApp with a message, ‘just shagged imagining you.’ Just like that. No “Hi, hello, what’s up? how is life?” Not even like, “I am horny can we have sex chat, can I send you photo of my dick?” Just randomly some photos appear on my phone.
Here is a man lying on his bed shagging and sending photos of his dick to a woman he hasn’t met or talked to in 5 years and hasn’t even exchanged virtual messages in 6 months.
Guess what is missing here? Consent. He didn’t ask me if I was interested in his dick photo at that point of time. In his virtual world he sort of opened his pants took out his dick and shoved it in. A man cannot be any less bothered about the woman at the receiving end (of the photo or the actual thing). This is virtual rape.
But shame or sexual violation isn’t what I felt. I felt anger. I got furious.
Because last night, this man made this rude vulgar intrusion at a time when I was trying to have my first peaceful sleep after weeks of sleepless nights with a baggage of mixed emotions and physical exhaustion. Over the past several months I have been working on my MA exams which just got finished yesterday. I came back from the college, made some snacks, had dinner with dad, helped him pack since he was going to leave for Dehradun today morning, to see my sister who had a surgery yesterday for her gallstone. I hit the bed early because I had a terrible headache and a bit of guilt that I am not going to see my sister.
I had barely closed my eyes when I got the photos. So what did I say to him?
Anger. I let the perpetrator know how angry I was and how far I was willing to go, to take him down and smother him. That my shame and honour is secondary to my anger. And the fact that I had a sexual relation with him in past, and he may have my naked pics or sex chats which he could make public, does not deter me from filing an FIR and dragging him to court. Nothing can intimidate or embarrass me because anger is the primary emotion in which I want nothing else but to see him suffer for violating my privacy.
This anger is important. This anger along with the knowledge that I have rights. That my body is mine (fact that I have to wake up unexpectedly and see his dicks with my eyes is a violation of my bodily integrity unless I have given consent) and nobody has any entitlement on it. Not even my boyfriend or sex partner or client (if I am sex worker) or husband. (Actually husbands do have the right to rape their wives in India because Marital Rape is still not a crime. Ironically, sex workers are at a better position than wives, because they can technically refuse to serve a client).
We should teach our girls to be more angry, more often. Anger so powerful that it would consume every other emotion a girl might have when she is violated – shame, fear, honor, modesty, family izzat – she would deal with these later. First, she’d be angry like hell. She would scream at the top of her lungs naming and shaming her perpetrator, she would violently kick and punch the next man who dares to grope her in the public transport, she would break and throw stuff around just to register her protest.
We need more women to be so angry so that staying silent is not an option anymore. Make it a habit. Make it a culture. A culture where men would gather at little corners, and whisper in scared tone:
“Do you see how women are these days, so angry and violent all the time, you can’t even grope or pinch them a little. Can’t even send dick pics. Man, I miss the good old days, when women were just embarrassed and scared.”