5 Things To Do If You're Triggered By Netflix's Delhi Crime
The first time I started watching the Netflix original Delhi Crime, I couldn't go past the first glimpse of Deepika - the character based on the victim of the 2012 gang-rape case - in the hospital, talking about what happened to her, and how the assailants pulled out her organs. I justified to myself that since I followed the case, and even wrote about it several times, I didn't need to watch the show. But, I knew I was escaping the emotional turmoil that the grim and gripping show would inevitably trigger. I couldn't allow myself such cowardice, so the next day, I swallowed the bitter pill.
Indeed, watching the show forced me to, once again, confront many harsh truths about the society we live in - how most rapists are not mentally ill, or monsters, as we'd like to believe, and that they have conscience and wives and mothers; how Nirbhaya was basically every woman ever trying to break away, and claim her space in the world, build a career and a life for herself; and how our public spaces are not our own. The details of the incident, as gruesome as they were, were not isolated. There have been many barbaric crimes against women throughout history - before, and after Nirbhaya. The rage and sorrow that this particular crime invoked in all of us, regardless of whether that was because of the media attention it garnered, or for some, because of the facts of the incident itself, is a force of its own, that needs to be acknowledged.
Without further ado, here are five things you can do if you are triggered by Delhi Crime:
Connect with the good men in your life: It is easy to find yourself entrapped in the men vs women war mentality. While the women in your life will understand the agony you may be going through like no man can, it is warranted to find comfort in the company of men you feel safe with - your partner, your friends, your father, your brother, maybe a colleague. Let's not allow our emotions to forget the men who do make us feel safe every day of our lives! We - men and women - want to co-exist in harmony, and to a large extent, we already do. Seek that harmony.
Step out: I remember back when the news broke in 2012, I did not want to step out of the safety of my home. I began to see every bus driver, every flyover, every mall, every bus stop, even every auto or cab driver, as a threat. Today, when I finished watching the show, I felt the old familiar feeling - I just wanted to bury myself under my blanket fort and forget that the world outside exists at all. Instead, I stepped out for a coffee. The path to empowerment is often carved in small steps.
Don't ask why: A few days ago, I overheard a bunch of college students discussing, in light of the show, why such rapes happen. They talked about sexual frustration and lack of education. They talked about economic disparity, and bad marriages. I can counter each of these arguments with research, and anecdotes. I understand the temptation behind wanting answers. We want to be able to profile, predict, and preempt. But, we can't. Heck, we can't even prevent getting assaulted by staying indoors, given that there are stories of people breaking into houses and raping and mutilating the women inside. This pursuit for some explanation that makes us feel a tad safer in this world is futile, and will only lead you to a dark, endless abyss.
Channel the grief: When I finished watching the series, I was jittery and anxious. I decided to write this piece, and now, nearly done, I feel calm. Empowered, even, knowing that I am using my own grief and anger to possibly help others who may be feeling similarly after watching the show. Create something. Journal. Hug a friend who's gone through sexual assault. If nothing else, go exercise! Don't sit with this energy, and let it become another unprocessed block in your emotional world. Channel it.
Acknowledge the good in your life, and stay in the present: You can't neglect or deny the awful things that happen in the world. You can't even shake the feeling, or the revelation, that you may be as vulnerable as Nirbhaya was. The least you can do is acknowledge the good in your life - maybe you are a working woman who commutes on public transportation every day, maybe you have your own car, maybe you travel the world alone, maybe you are a stay-at-home wife or mom with a healthy, happy family; maybe some combination of all of these. Acknowledge it. Come to the present, and acknowledge the fact that you are alive, safe, and able to read these words. Stay with that feeling.
Image Source: Reelgood