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Those who had suffered in silence are silent no more. Women are raising their voices and calling out sexual harassment at their workplaces. Bollywood – known for its ‘diplomatic’ silences – can no longer sweep its dirty secrets under the carpet, and cover personality Swara Bhaskar (p.24) is leading from the front when it comes to airing strong views.
The LGBTQ community, which has found its voice after the Supreme Court struck down Section 377, is also speaking up for the right to live and love with dignity (p.9). Birth activists are speaking up for women’s right to choose the kind of birthing experience they want (p.39), and, in this issue, we hand over an open mic to four women to speak up about anything that’s on their mind (p.40), from #MeToo to partner violence to using humour to deal with a difficult surgery.
I found my voice in 2004, along with a Buddhist chant that became my anchor over the next several years. I raised my voice against abuse, I shouted to protect my kids, and I growled ferociously when my body, my temple, was threatened. Later, I used my voice to speak for the voiceless, to tell their stories, to call attention to their cause.
These days I don’t speak much. I prefer listening. To the voices of women around me. To what is left unsaid. To the whispers in the wind that carry our cultural legacy, our collective memories of secret pleasure and frequent pain. To the messages in the trees and the stars that see our ugly and exquisite realities every day.
“Speak from your belly,” they say. Where there is truth, there can be no fear.