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Say NO

The one problem with us women is that we ‘feel’ and we don’t say NO. It is about saying NO to ourselves. That we will not tolerate any abuse, being treated weak and more so being denied our rights. We need to say no to ourselves.

Most of us do not realise the freedom we get when we make the choice. Often we are not empowered, lack awareness and more over we think by saying no we will hurt others. Point is we are already hurting ourselves.

Education and working in the cruel world out there, we learn and grow. In fact we become more aware and women need to realise we have to shed the feeling of guilt when we make choices. The fact is in most cases our distress and frustration is because we have not been allowed to make our choices. Hence the angst within ourselves, battling at many levels –emotional, intellectual and daily living.

In India, in many families today, despite women working at top posts still cannot or do n not make their own financial investments. In a family when single, it is expected the family makes the decisions and when married it is expectedly a joint decision. In poor families, it is the woman’s skills to bear the brunt of daily living and she secretly saves, not knowing she can choose to invest for her own future.

This when extended on a larger level we see that the situations are created in such a way that the woman has little to choose. If she says no, her struggles just double and the challenges are galore. However, although it may seem from the outside a better option, when a woman doesn’t say no, the distress is far too much, which only the woman who makes that choice knows.

On a personal level when the woman suffers mental and physical trauma, she has such low self-esteem that she has lost the power to think. The concept of saying no to any sort of abuse is just beyond her reach. The fear is what stops us women. This fear is often magnified by the concept of repercussions. Many of these are just one’s own mind games, because women see a situation from other’s point of view not from one’s own. It is not selfish to think of one’s safety, mental health and protecting herself, yet we don’t.

The fact is women can only empower themselves, the strength we eventually get from within. Freedom means the power to say no, it means we choose and we decide. That freedom is inexplicable, it doesn’t come with a guarantee, but it sure gives us the voice that we want. We speak up and we hear ourselves, first. Then we will realise this is a chorus, later an echo across various bodies from different ends of this globe.

This freedom my women friends is something we owe ourselves and to other women. Once we shirk the fear from within, we realise we can just about do anything. We have chosen to let our voices be heard and it will be, loud and clear.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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