Why don’t people name the culprits when they say #metoo, you say.
How do you name the culprit, I ask.
You should, you insist. You should.
But you can’t, I say.
You should. You must stand up for yourself.
How do I name the guy who purposely stuck his arm out and grabbed me when I was twelve?
How do I name the guy in the backseat of the bus, who’s arm sneaked up through the gap to touch whatever he could while I was asleep? I was fourteen and we’d almost reached before I realized it wasn’t a mouse, it was a human hand.
How do I name the guy who flashed a bunch of schoolgirls in Kerala just because he knew we’d be so shocked we wouldn’t scream?
How do I name the guy who I yelled at and got thrown off a bus in Delhi? I was worried for days after that he’d find me and do something worse.
I wonder, I wonder, I wonder…
So I simply say – you can’t name everyone because you don’t ask them their names if things happen on the streets.
Then you say you should if they’re people who can be named.
Then I wonder again…do I name every single person who has committed some version of a micro aggression, some version of discrimination…
Do I name the people who cut me off in meetings because I’m a woman?
Do I name the people who thought I could work late just because I was ‘single’ and therefore couldn’t possible have a life?
Do I name the people who would accompany their wives to the bathroom because of shady characters nearby, but wouldn’t do the same for me as a friend?
Do I name the people who thought it was OK to say that I should hang a dupatta outside the door as a sign of my presence in a room?
Do I name the people who think being Type A, and being loud men who can drown out a woman’s voice are one and the same?
Do I name the people who mansplain my work to me?
Do I name the people who attempt to physically intimidate me to make a point, and then chalk it up to having a temper as if I couldn’t possibly have one, too?
Do I name the people who think of me as a ‘diversity’ filter, vs. as someone with a brain (and an opinion to boot)
Do I name every single one of them, and if I do, would they try and understand why I’m naming them, or will they just say that I am overreacting. That I’m not professional, not a good friend, that I’m one of ‘those’ crazy women.
Do I name those who don’t do anything, but are complicit in their silence?
Do I name you?