#Challengeaccepted: Supporting the black and white photo challenge

Not just for Turkey and the US. Crime against women cuts across boundaries with India being one of the most unsafe countries for women. But tomorrow can be all about global sisterhood.  Rinzing Ongmu Sherpa My initial years were with my maternal grandparents in Darjeeling, where I studied. I usually returned home from school with […] The post #Challengeaccepted: Supporting the black and white photo challenge appeared first on The Sikkim Chronicle - Sikkim News.

#Challengeaccepted: Supporting the black and white photo challenge

Not just for Turkey and the US. Crime against women cuts across boundaries with India being one of the most unsafe countries for women. But tomorrow can be all about global sisterhood. 

Rinzing Ongmu Sherpa

My initial years were with my maternal grandparents in Darjeeling, where I studied. I usually returned home from school with a friend from the neighbourhood. One day a man, who looked like a teenager, approached us with sweets, a ping pong ball and a pink balloon, just so we would be willing to spend some time with him.

Soon, we were caught up watching his magic tricks in fascination – “how did he make the coin disappear from his palm?” I returned home late that evening and had my grandmother waiting at the front door to thrash me. As I couldn’t lie to her, I confessed about the young man, his tricks and how I wanted to learn it myself.

She got furious and asked me to never speak to him again. That day I could not come to terms with why would she not let me play with the man? Not until I wept aloud and she thereafter exposed me to the plight of the cruel world we live in.

When I recall it now, she exposed me to child trafficking, child molestation, a ‘bad touch’ and a ‘good touch’. It was difficult for a six-year-old to take in every detail, which only made me cry further. I was however happy that the man had only given us a ‘good touch’ in the cheek and a tap on our heads. But what my grandmother exposed me to that day was there to stay. 

Maybe that was the very day I started looking at everything with suspicion. I learned about the ordeals that came with being born a woman in a place so unsafe for her. I grew up being exposed to more horrific cases each day on gender disparity and women atrocities such as rape, murder, femicide, trafficking, you name it.

I was also taught to ‘trim and tailor’ myself to ensure my safety amidst a misogynist and a sexist society. As every move that goes beyond such ‘safety net’ boundaries would ensure the full authority to the society to tear me apart. 

However, what I was never taught was to question these safety nets. As they were not making me any stronger, independent or safer but was instead making me a mere meek conformist.

They were not leading me to bring up questions such as why not start practising gender equality from our families? Why not change the way men look at women? Why not bring fear in them before they even think of touching or passing a sexist remark at us? Why not make our societies a safer place both for our women and children? 

One such platform to voice our dissent towards age-old patriarchal setups was provided by the huge upsurge that came into being two weeks ago, with women posting black and white pictures of them with the caption #challengeaccepted or #womensupportingwomen.

First such upload was made by Ana Paula Padrao, a Brazilian journalist on the 17th of July 2020. The challenge further gained worldwide momentum among celebrities, politicians, journalists you name it.