During my post graduate, I took up a soft core in women studies. The whole point was to get a comparative understanding about the women from the different continents. The challenges for women on all continents were similar with different detours and success stories. Women everywhere fighting for their rights but at various scale. I remember being shocked at the statistics of educated women dying due to violence. What was the whole point of being educated if they could not live a healthy and long life? These statistics showed more girls going to school but the system forgot to give them one thing at the end of the day…Empowerment; to sustain their lives for another day so that their stories could be published in the journals.

Violence against women still took headlines in the newspapers. Sati practices, suicides, infanticides, physical abuse at the hands of in-laws and the worst virus of them all; psychological torture. Evidence was now inbuilt so the police could not trace it. Their voice numbed forever dying a slow death every day until they were no more. Even the word that was synonymous with them lost meaning. Our lecturer waited almost at the end of the course to tell the entire class that they are no virgins in her village. Other nations in the world assume Asia has the biggest number of virgins. I still remember the utter shock on my face and how the information rolled in my head for the rest of the semester. That was the moment she became my best teacher. I loved Dr Christine. By the way that is her real name. While the rest of the Asian students were flabbergasted by what she had spilt, I was thrilled.

Here was one woman who was not hiding her head in the sand like her peers. The rest of the tutors were telling us how empowered women were in the society yet most of the female students would not continue with the post graduate as soon as a qualified suitor was arranged. Some times we would ask our female classmates why they bothered to go for post graduate when they were going to end up at their in-laws but none of them would give a convincing answer. Wasn’t the education meant to advance or offset their career? Until then I did not get it. Dr Christine explained that most of the girls are kept in schools to ‘wait it out’ while negotiations are going on. The inevitable arranged marriage could wait a bit longer if they were kept in school.

Dr Christine’s account of disappearing virgins came from her husband. The better half told her how they used to enjoy these girls one by one. Afterwards, the boys would share information which girl had been conquered and ‘destroyed’. Then one of the boys would also try his luck and score with this girl. The chain would be like this until almost every boy had had a share of the girls. The boys would meet at the coffee shop share pictures, chats from girls and other minor details. The boys’ strategic meetings helped them to read and understand their conquests better. The boys were talking and sharing more than information.

This brings me back to my story; brothers, girls talk more in an effort to save one another but their intention is misunderstood. By the time you finish the dinner date, they have probably finished sharing your personal details with their confidants. Sleep with one and they will describe the adventure in all colours befitting your worth. A man might play with all friends but chances are, that 2 of them knew you were coming. Your philandering has already been discussed and the entire village knows but they are too polite to say it. You think you are outsmarting them yet they saw you miles away. Sisters are done betraying each other that is why they choose to share information. Let them compare notes to have each other’s backs. 

I am My sister’s keeper.

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