Let’s talk about rape. Let’s talk about sexual crimes against women. Every single day, women are being stalked, molested and raped. You, my boys, are only nine-years old – and the youngest only three – but this is the age where we must sensitize ourselves to how we treat our women.
Let me start by telling you that your mother was molested, first in Manipur and then again while she was out with her girl friends in Delhi and Haryana’s Hissar. I know it is shocking to learn that even a woman who has earned her spurs, boxing her way through life, was made to feel violated.
I was on my way to my training camp at 8.30 in the morning in a cycle rickshaw when a stranger suddenly lunged at me and stroked my breast. I was angry, very angry. I leapt off the rickshaw and chased him, holding my slipper in my hand, but he managed to escape. My regret is that I could not catch him or the karate that I had already learnt by then, would have come in handy.
I was only 17-years-old then and am 33 now. I have brought great fame to my country and have been celebrated as a medalist but what I also want, is to be respected as a woman. We women have scaled heights and stormed male bastions but for some men, we are still all about our bodies.
Remember, dear sons, like you, we too have two eyes and a nose. Some parts of our bodies are different and that’s the only thing that sets us apart. We use our brains to think, like all men do, and we feel with our hearts, like you do. We don’t deserve our breasts to be touched or our bums patted. That’s what happened to my friends and me in Delhi and Hissar, while we were taking a walk outside our training camps.