Model and VJ turned actress Shenaz Treasurywala has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Superstars Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, and Business Tycoon Anil Ambani appealing them to Ďhelpí fight rape in the country.
Here is the complete text of the letter written by Shenaz to the most powerful and influential personalities of the country as published in Koimoi.com:
Dear Narendra Modi, Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar, Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and Anil Ambani,
I am writing to YOU specifically because you are the most powerful and influential MEN in our country.
I am writing to you as a woman who grew up in a middle class family in Mumbai.
I am writing to YOU for HELP!
My parents may not like me saying this. I apologize to them if they are reading but this is NOT MY SHAME. Itís THIER SHAME.
My first experience with the opposite sex, was when I was just 13 and groped by a man (never saw his face but will never forget his hand) while walking in the vegetable market with my mom. She had just given me the worst haircut and as an angry teenager I was upset at her and was lagging behind as she walked ahead. I still remember what I was wearing. It was her dress, mustard with flowers and little bow in the front. How I hate that dress! As if, it was the dressís fault.
I was shocked at first. Speechless. He disappeared. I just stood there. Tears started pouring out of my innocent eyes. I told my mom who went mad screaming in the market but who knew where that man disappeared to. I still remember the dirty feeling I had and the number of times I showered in my grand-momís bathroom after. That feeling never went away.
Since then it was non-stop. I would try to articulate this to my parents and while my mom understood, my dad and uncles told me I was imagining it. Maybe they just couldnít deal with it. CAN YOU?
When I was 15, I started going by train and bus to St. Xaviersí College. I was groped and touched and from all angles and this was just how I grew up. Not Just Me but MOST INDIAN WOMEN who donít have the luxury of cars and drivers.
As a teenager I would dream of and still sometimes dream that I had a machine gun and could kill all the men who tried to grope me. A very disturbing dream for a kid, donít you think?
I got my first assignment as a model in the FYJC and I had to go to screen-tests straight from college. So I had to dress nice, didnít make it any easier. I specifically remember the time I went for an audition in a red body suit and a black long skirt with slits. It was HELL! I never wore that again. As if it was the dressís fault.
I developed ways to defend myself, I always carried a bag in front of me, my fist was always clenched, I always turned around every 20 seconds to check who was behind me and a few times I slapped men who touched me, I got slapped back many times too. Sometimes saved by the public, MOST TIMES NOT.
My mom begged me not to pick fights with men who touched me, she was afraid of acid being thrown at me or that somebody someday would hurt me badly. She is STILL AFRAID and today she told me not to take an UBER to my meeting tomorrow. Hell ya. BAN UBER! Make everyone take responsibility for this.
My sister got into Sophiaís college, we were all excited. She went by bus but the first day she came home, she sobbed traumatized. A man had put his hand in her tee-shirt through her sleeve, the entire bus ride. She just froze. She was a kid too and wasnít equipped to even understand this. I was LIVID. Iím sorry sis for telling the world this, please donít stop speaking to me. ITíS NOT Our Shame. Itís THEIRS!
One of my friends in college was RAPED on the train on her way home in the ladies compartment. She was sick and was going home in the 11:15 break. There was nobody in the first class compartment going back to Bandra at that time, it was a superfast meaning it didnít stop at most stations. He raped her and then jumped off after using her scrunchy (hair tie) to wipe himself. She was the only one on the train and had to limp her way back to her home in Bandra, bleeding profusely. She was just 16. This she felt was her shame so she did not say anything to anyone.
BUT IT ISNíT HER SHAME, itís THEIR SHAME.
My mom accompanied me to Hyderabad on a shoot once. In churi bazaar, a cyclist groped My MOM. My dear respected and lovely MOM.
Sorry Mom, ITíS NOT Our Shame, Itís THEIR SHAME.
Why am I telling you my personal story?
Well first I want all women to Speak Up.
Letís make this our MOTTO-
Itís not OUR SHAME, itís THEIR SHAME.
Who are ďTHEYĒ?
ďTHEYĒ ARE THE MEN IN OUR COUNTRY.
Not just the rapists and the sexual offenders and gropers but also our Fathers (sorry dad) and Uncles and Brothers and MOVIE STARS AND CRICKETERS AND POLITICIANS for not SAVING US or PROTECTING US by insisting and protesting for the LAWS TO CHANGE and Rapists and Gropers to BE PUNISHED SEVERELY!
Why do we as women have to feel so threatened? WHY has there been no severe action taken? This has gone on for years now. Not just in Delhi but all over our country and yes even in BOMBAY OR MUMBAI OR Whatever the hell you want to call it! Itís NOT SAFE. NO!
My biggest fear ever since I was kid and even today when I walk back home at night from yoga or when I take a rickshaw from a friendís home is being RAPED. I still feel that fear. I am still am on guard. I still fantasize of having that MACHINE GUN.