Don’t mind me, I’m just asking

by Kirthi Jayakhumar*

This is an open letter addressed to all the acid-throwing, raping, physically abusing, sexually abusing, molesting, sexually harassing, depriving, lewd and lecherous men,

I have a few questions to ask you.

Why is it so difficult for you to differentiate between a tiled bathroom floor and a woman’s face? How is it so easy for you to conceive and carry out an act that with a flick of your wrist holding a bottle of acid, you just destroy the face and life of a woman? What gives you the right to beat your daughter, your wife, your mother, or your sister? Do you realise that it is because of these women that men can hope to be fathers, husbands, sons and brothers? What makes you think that you have a right to make inappropriate advances on a woman at a workplace, shamelessly withholding a promotion or a salary she duly deserves? Would you rest if you were deprived of your dues at work for not giving sexual favours against your will? Who gives you the right to decide that you can sacrifice her life at the altar of what you assume is the honour of your family? Do you realise there is no honour in killing, for it makes you a criminal? Why do you look at a girl child like a tool for your perverted lust? Do you realise that she is a child, and that you misuse her trust, and that you will scar her for life by what you do? Why is it so easy for you to beat your wife? Will you rest if your sister faced this? Why do you sell your daughters and wives to the flesh-trade? Does it not irk you that she is not meant to be used and defiled like that? Why do you prevent your daughters from enjoying their space under the sons, but let your sons enjoy anyway? Why do you get threatened by a girl who wants to be educated, to the point that you shoot her? Why do you hate a girl so much, to the point that you want her foetus wiped off before it bears semblance to a baby? And god forbid, you let her be born, why do you drive out the life within her newborn form because she is a girl?

Why? Really, why?

The Rape of Congo - Illustration by Kirthi Jayakhumar

Why do you do any or all of it? Is it because you are a man, and that that’s the way you think you can show it? Or is it because you simply think it’s amusing? Or is it because you think a woman is nothing more than just a piece of property that you can defile, destroy and dishonour? What gives you the idea that a woman is just one big walking doormat that you can walk all over on? Who are you to dictate what she should wear, when irrespective of how much a woman is covered, you undress her with your eyes?

Do you know what goes through a girl’s mind when she sees one of your kind approaches her on a street? Some men are harmless, and are amazing people, even - but do you know that what you do, gives all of them such a bad name? Doesn’t that irk you?

Do you know that because of you, a woman is forced to wrap layer after layer of clothing around her? Do you know, that because of you, a woman’s bag is laden with cans of pepper spray and Swiss knives – things that she would never have to use had you learnt to treat her well? Do you know, that because of you, she sits home at night, sometimes forced thus to avoid going out even for necessities? Do you know, that because of you, she thinks twice every time she steps out of the house, wondering if she will come back home whole? Do you know that because of you, a woman is forced to enforce patriarchy on the women she loves, simply because she wants them to be safe?

Why is it that a woman is not sanctimonious to you? Why doesn’t it occur to you that the womb that housed you for nine months before you were born was the inside of a woman? How difficult is it for you to understand that? Why is nothing sacred to you? Why is it such an easy game for you to rape a woman and defile her, and then murder her in the most gruesome of ways? Is it beyond your comprehension to accept and acclimatise to the fact that a woman is a human being?

Why do you want to dominate at all? Why can’t you live peacefully, side by side? What is it about impunity that you love so much?

If you think doing any of it makes you manly, you’re dead wrong.

War time or peacetime, you rape. Inside our outside, you abuse. Related or not related, you harm. In the streets or at work, you harass.

Why? Just why?

They have a word for things like you.


Kirthi Jayakhumar is a lawyer specialised in Public International Law and Human Rights. A graduate of the School of Excellence in Law, Chennai, her interests include research and writing in Public International Law, arbitration and human Rights, besides freelance journalism. She works as a UN Volunteer, focusing on Human Rights research in pertinence to issues in Africa, India and Central Asia and the Middle East. She has worked extensively with grass root organisations that focus on women’s rights, and also run a journal and consultancy that focuses on International Law called A38.

Readers are encouraged to quote, reproduce and share this content for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the HR&D team.


  1. "Why do you want to dominate at all? Why can’t you live peacefully, side by side?" Kirthi has asked a very pertinent question.Very nice illustration.




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