I can’t sleep. It’s late and my sheets beckon but I can’t go to bed until I write this down.

Sometime in the late 80’s, when I was about 10 or 11, I walked down the street from my place to visit my grandma who lived a block away. White printed top with blue flowers dotting it all over; that’s what I was wearing- yes, I remember the exact colour.

A pair of men on a moped sped past me and one of them turned his head to look at me. The moped then slowed down and waited for me to pass by. Picking up speed, they zoomed in close to my side and the pillion rider reached out and slapped me on the chest. Laughing like hyenas, they then sped away.

For a few moments, I stood there frozen, not knowing what to say or do. Then came the tears, fast and furious as I looked down at my body and wondered what I’d done to deserve that. Crossing my arms over my chest, I walked briskly and wiped my tears before entering my grandmother’s home.

The ordeal lasted 30 seconds but the memory has stayed for 30 years. This wasn’t the worst of what I’ve experienced either.

Should I speak of the many times I tried to board a bus but balked at the idea of how crowded it was? Or perhaps the idea of standing on a stuffy train as strange men brushed up against me with a snigger and a ‘sorry’ that was clearly meant to make eye contact?

And it gets worse but I cannot speak of it here, not in this space. For I don’t think the world is ready to hear what a woman must endure each day from the moment she steps into this world.

Friends have confided in me, each with stories startlingly similar to mine. In every story is the pain of objectification, that very act of being made to feel less than human, as if we were mannequins on display in a store window, to be ogled at, drooled over and fondled.

A woman is not an object for you to grab, bang or use. Nor is she a thing to be groped, molested or assaulted.

It was late this morning that I managed to listen to the now infamous Trump tapes. As most of you must know already, he’s been nothing short of despicable, disgusting and vile in his comments about women.

Here’s the thing: I don’t get to vote in the American election, so this isn’t a political statement. But, it is a personal one. Mr. Trump, I don’t understand how you became the Republican presidential nominee. I will never be able to fathom the absolute frenzy that sweeps your supporters when you stand there spewing unintelligible gibberish. It’s practically beyond me to gauge how you are still standing with any sense of decency left in your body.

Hear this: You don’t deserve to win. 

You don’t get to decide which part of a woman’s anatomy is available. You don’t grab a woman by any part of her body. Ever. You don’t brush your deplorable behaviour under the carpet with the words ‘a mere distraction.’ A dog chasing a squirrel is an example of a distraction, Donald, just in case you were wondering what the word meant.

You don’t get to lord it over the rest of the world because you are ‘famous’, a ‘celebrity’ and ‘popular’; all of those words appear to have lost meaning now that they came out of your mouth.

No woman in her right mind will ever accept your ‘apology’ after what you said. No man will allow his daughter, wife or mother come anywhere near you. No sane human will be glad to be seen in the same room as you.

My skin crawls with pure disgust as I write this piece. It’s as if every memory of every man who ever molested me has surfaced and is striking at the fabric of my self-esteem. It’s men like you who make it difficult for us women to walk the streets, either at night or in broad daylight. It’s words like yours which will embolden perverts to step out and do as they will with women.

I hope the world comes to its senses and realises that you are a mistake of gargantuan proportions. I pray that more voices add themselves to mine and will say ‘NO’ to a man who does not think women are worthy of respect.

In case you missed the memo, women aren’t objects. We are, above everything else, the reason you exist.

36 thoughts on “We are not objects, Mr. Trump

  1. Darling, I get sarcasm, not to worry 🙂

    As for Trump, I have no hopes for his redemption whatsoever. I rarely wish ill for people but I have little or no sympathy for abusers and molesters.

  2. I agree with Parul, so I’ll take Hillary over that orange monkey in a suit because I don’t want India to get pulled into WWIII (that he is sure to facilitate) and lose all the progress we have made in the process.

  3. I’m still reeling from the shock that he has gotten this far in the race. I shudder to think what will happen if he actually wins.

    On a side note, don’t be a feminazi, Shy. What is this? Men have *granted us* so many rights and you are complaining about one little smack or a few innocuous stares? Chi chi. Such a feminazi. So whiny.

    (please get the sarcasm)

    P.S: I will probably get high BP and stroke out trying to explain why we need feminism and equal rights to even seemingly educated people. Telling people to not ask women to cover up as their first reaction. Asking men to not act superior and women not to judge.

  4. Thank you, Priyanka. The crowded buses are just the tip of the iceberg, as you must know. There have been such graphic incidents we’ve endured at the hands of perverts that it’s disgusting to even think of them now.

  5. You’d be surprised at the number of people who think otherwise. I am appalled at the idea that what he says is being brushed off as locker room talk.

  6. Fantastic piece, Shailaja!
    I recently said this on another blog but these elections are the worst ever of history. One candidate is not better than the other. It’s who is little less bad.

  7. Crowded buses, the brushing, the pinching and the sniggers – sadly so much I can relate to. It’s appalling enough that such experiences are more common than women deserve. To have a man proudly display such an attitude and then run for president brings just pure contempt. You speak for many of us, and so well written.

  8. Sad isn’t it that women have to have this memory? I hope fervently that Gy never has to contend with this although I must accept that she may have to come across this at some point in her life. How tragic is that.

  9. Ugh! What is it with strange men and this need to display their wares? You reminded me of a despicable autowallah who used to do exactly the same thing. Outside the school gates, imagine! I think the Republican party has lost its marbles!

  10. It’s gross and disgusting. Sometimes I feel I should stay offline till this whole circus of an election is over and done with. Sigh.

  11. Right? We never really forget. What a world I have to bring up my daughter in. To know that her innocence will be dispelled soon is something that breaks my heart.

  12. I think I saw your status on FB or Twitter about that incident. Sigh, he just gives a bad name to all men. I do know some wonderful men too, to be honest.

  13. I simply cannot understand how it is possible for people to support such a man. You’ve given voice to all of our raged souls. Neither does he deserve to win, nor does he deserve any sort of respect.

  14. It is shocking how a man like Trump is staking a claim to the presidency of the most powerful democracy in the world. How can he believe that he can get away with whatever he says? And its amazing that he is finding support, that he is even a choice.
    Kudos for this post. I think all of us have a similar incident branded in our memories. So deeply is this fear rooted in our brains that we don’t even think about it. It is like a continuous subconscious tension whenever we are out of the safety of our homes. You do have a knack for verbalising our deepest darkest fears.

  15. Clap clap Shailaja. I absolutely loved this post of yours. I remember an incident as a 13 year ols when a middle aged man use d to flash everyday when I used to be on my way to school. So scared I was at the time that I changed my route to school. This memory has stayed on for years and I wonder what cheap thrills such people get. Women sure aren’t commodities and deserve to lead a respectable life. And as u say it’s men like these and Trump who make it difficult for women to.mve put and live life normally. Wondering how he is a Republican candidate.

  16. I’m sure someone will start a company soon just to analyze how Trump gets his supporters. That man has no respect for living being, let alone women. He being a presidential candidate shows clearly that somehow somewhere money does rule.

    I’ve been subject to harassment too. Some that I cannot forget until now. Trump is out here to remind every woman of such ghastly episodes of her life.

    He deserves to be castrated in public.

  17. You know what annoys me? That people supporting him, women too, want to pass this off as locker room talk. As if all kinds of nonsense is permitted and that that too from someone who could become commander-in-chief thus making it acceptable to do so. Don’t we have enough problems as women already?

  18. Sadly, I think that’s what America and the world has come to: this is the last huzzah from old white men who think women are not people. I hope American women rise above party affiliations and vote their conscience.

  19. Hugs to you Shailaja and to all the women, I have known or have not, for those experiences which should not have come your way or my way.
    I could not bring myself to hear out those tapes but I read about it. It was heights of disgust for me. The way I feel about it is the word ‘ghin’ in Hindi. The first thought which came to my mind was – ‘Were the Republicans in their right mind when they made Trump their Presidential candidate?’ I am sure the STAR that he is, he must have bought his candidature. The conversation in those tapes validates my secret hatred for men for Trump is the representative for the widespread sick mentality of men. I wish your words through this post reach far and wide. And America acts sensibly when they go to vote.

  20. You know, Shailaja, every man needs to read this post. It brought back memories that are still afresh, even after more than 3 decades! The mere thought sickens me to the core – why DO men do it?? Their behaviour is just nauseating ! I mean, what goes on in that vile mind of theirs, I am just not able to.fathom! And if there’s a leader like Mr. Trump, ah, well, let’s not even go there!

  21. I haven’t been around for a while but this post caught my attention due to the subject. I recently had a similar experience of groping in a movie theatre but I was able to confront jerk and make him flee. It’s a shame that Trump’s getting away with all this obscenity and audacity. Unfortunately, it is a given that a lot of men are disrespecting beasts and now even people at such levels are showing their colors.

  22. I am happy that you wrote this because it cannot be said often enough. What each woman endures for no fault of hers. We have our own tales and those of our friends who have been fondled and violated. Even now our get to witness the sick behavior of some these men. Who gave these men the right to constantly torment us? And vile trash like Trump, l don’t know what to say about him. It must be a really low point for the US to have him as a Presidential nominee. A man who inspires nothing but disgusts and emboldens the perverts.

  23. I couldn’t continue hearing those repugnant words from the tapes. It’s disgusting!! Even more disgusting is the fact that there are men like the ones in your case … like the ones who slapped my roomie’s butt while she was walking to the office … in broad daylight. The random touches, pinches, vile comments!! It all exists. And they walk among us, unaffected by our outrage.
    How he made it to this level makes me question the ideals and morals of the people he is representing. I can totally feel your anger and I am sure all women would echo your thoughts.

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