Indian women have been granted an unprecedented break–8 women-only commuter trains. Was anyone else struck by this headline news, and by “struck” I mean,… did you pause?
On these trains known as Ladies Specials, a weight has been lifted. Men are not there to do what they reportedly do onboard every day–pinch, grope, molest, threaten and shout insults at the women. Apparently, this harassment is the norm. Apparently, it was bad enough to warrant the government stepping in.
Imagine a women-only train. It might be like a big slumber party. In my world, it would manifest as a man-free subway at 4am on a Saturday night. Oooooo. How fucking freeing! What about a man-free traveling experience? I would drive across America or any wild country and push deep into the night, until I collapsed alone and sleepy in my car, a tent, or a grassy ditch on the side of the road. I’d be relaxed, watching the stars sparkle without letting my imagination roar me into at least twenty minutes of heart palpitations: A man is going to find me here and hurt me. A man is going to find me here and hurt me. (An aside: I know plenty of women who are braver than me on that front.) Though I am deeply nourished by the different men in my life, I am also convinced, after 30 short years of living, that this fear of men is inherent in all women, even those who refuse to admit it.
Why? There are so many books that attempt to pin it down, so many poems. No need to descend into the messy discussion of biology (predators, the mechanics of body parts, sowing seeds, choosing carefully for your womb and all that fraught stuff). Instead, here’s some wisdom from a man on the topic… Continue reading