A Single Voice Above the Noise

A Single Voice Above the NoiseRitika Rao

Staff Reporter

No matter where I am in this world, I am not safe. Even if I am absolutely assured that I will not be a victim of any kind of crime, I will still have that voice in the back of my head whispering warnings to always look over my shoulder. When will I see a world where I can walk the streets of our cities without being stripped naked by the eyes of that man I’m passing by? When will I be able to wait by the bus stop without having demeaning words and demands being thrown at me by those complete strangers? Will I ever be able to sit on the train with my heart beating at a normal pace when a drunk approaches me to ask my name? It seems like the questions that matter are the ones that are left blank.

I was born and raised in a society that—till today—thrives on the dominance of the patriarchy. Fortunately, my liberal family background and ideals shielded me from the injections of inequality and slow plunge of self-worth. When I was exposed to Claremont’s system of beliefs and overriding emphasis on equality and other basic humanitarian foundations, I looked back in dismay.

I felt cheated by my society, school, and other institutions that were partially responsible in building me up as a strong, self-reliant woman. I dug deeper into some of their “wisdoms” and saw how they cloaked one gender in royalty and completely neglected the other. Women were taught to not get raped, to not “ask for it,” to suppress themselves in order to avoid the cravings of sexually deprived, uneducated men. We were practically pieces of meat in the eyes of the older and “wiser.” 

Thus, after walking into the little haven of Claremont and, in the bigger picture, the universally emphasised paradise—America—I was amazed at how many similarities we faced. The rooted ideals of the previous generations still remained, but individuals were actually aware of the injustices they created and advocated change. I went wide-eyed and gained inspiration watching people stand up for their own beliefs and other peoples’ rights, yet I found that my basic insecurities were resonated all around. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t a piece that aims to propose solutions and resolutions. I simply want to express my observations. No matter where you are, you are not alone. This may not necessarily be a good thing, but it starts here. I didn’t know I was hiding until I started to find myself. After all, you can always be the single voice above the noise.

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