I was 9 when I walked into an ice cream parlor alone. The nice man behind the counter gave me 3
free samples.

“Can I touch your breasts?”


I was 10 when I was first asked to cook dinner for the family. I didn’t do a very good job.

“God, this girl can’t even cook properly! Who will marry her?”


I was 11 when I was shepherded into the school auditorium. I sat amidst 200 girl classmates,
waiting to hear the special announcement.

“Don’t wear sleeveless clothes and come to school; you will be to blame if something happens.”


I was 12 when a swimming pool opened 5 minutes away from my apartment. My grandma and I
were sipping tea on the porch.

“You can’t go swimming; you will get dark then nobody will marry you.”


I was 13 when I returned home after hanging out with a guy friend. My mother was there to receive

“You’re a slut.”


I was 14 when my uncle was seeking a bride. We met a beautiful, smart, accomplished woman who
was a doctor. He rejected her.

“She wasn’t willing to quit her job after marriage.”


I was 15 when I got The Sex Talk.

“You husband will kick you out of the house if he finds out you’re not a virgin. Nobody wants an
unfaithful prostitute.”


I was 16 when I applied to college. I was discussing the application process with my family.

“Education is a nice hobby, but remember that the focus of your life is to serve your husband and
his parents.”


I was 17 when I wore shorts at my uncle’s house.

“Don’t dress like a whore. A woman’s body is her greatest asset.”

I was 18 when my dad’s colleague molested me.

“She wanted it. I could tell she wanted it.”

Shreena Thakor

Shreena is a traveler, thinker, dreamer, armchair philosopher, writer, artist. She frequently scribbles on herself and believes the act of living is in itself performance art. She is obsessed with Calvin and Hobbes.

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