Just as someone on twitter had a question, so do we; why do women have to offer an explanation and elaborate on their reasons for going to a protest which is not just their democratic right but something that is a necessity?
Firstly, for all those who think the Aurat March is futile and useless, the only thing we would like to point out to them is that it was the feminist movement, the suffragettes who went out into the streets and fought for rights that weren’t given to them on the basis of their sex.
From a woman’s right to own property, education, and voting, almost all the rights women have today, were gained for them by other women.
Secondly, for those who believe that the women on the streets are of questionable character or vulgar, we have several questions for you; do you not find the violence that occurs against women 24/7 to be vulgar and inappropriate or is the moral implication attached only to women’s bodies and their presence in the public sphere? Do you not recognize the filth within the institutional sexism women are made to face before they are even aware of the differences between genders and what they entail? Doesn’t the mere realization that from the family to academic institutions, from workplaces to public places, women are neither safe, nor protected, but rather blamed for their existence and for being provocative?
What must be understood by the intellectuals hidden behind their screens, talking trash and spreading hate about these women, is the sheer bravery it takes to organize such a protest and to walk out onto the very streets where they have been the subject of every man’s lustful gaze regardless of their clothing.
These are the streets where they have been groped, harassed, catcalled, and chased after, and in many cases, physically and sexually assaulted.
The entirety of the women, and for that matter, the trans-people, the non-binary people, those from the LGBTQIA+ community, the persecuted sexual minorities have suffered through trauma at the hands of their abusers, most of whom roam free, many of who originate from their own homes in the form of their own relatives and often, their own biological parents and siblings. They were forcibly silenced and gas-lighted as their experiences were justified and dismissed, as their own freedoms were limited even more than before, because, in our culture, the victim is always at fault. Our culture has always protected the perpetrators and the tyranny of men.
Besides, given that it is men who usually have the say in almost all matters of the state, including those directly affecting women, what is the problem they face when women march for one day, for more legitimate causes than the ones that oppress them?
At the risk of sounding like a cliché, this problem is one of a man’s fragile masculinity which is hurt by the presence of the woman he has hurt, by directly attacking her, by standing by when she cried out for help but turning his face to the violence being done unto her.
Women don’t need to explain themselves because for at least one day, men ought to see the power of women united. It is time men get a taste of their own medicine and perceive the threat to the collapsing institutions of patriarchy they uphold.