A courtroom scene that stormed the internet down; a question of virginity and its safekeeping, and of matters and discussions best kept under wraps. Of police diaries denied, of warrants backed up with power and politics. Of alibi and reasoning, and of the usual versus the unusual. Of morality versus law, and of morality of yours versus mine. Or, of whose?
But really, what happened on that fateful night?
No, you are not shown that, until the end titles are running. Now, that’s the beauty of nuance. That’s the beauty of a message hit hard home. What happened is made dispensable, easily, as long as a “no” has proven to have been said. What happened, exactly, thus becomes an excess. It is shown, however, just to be shown. It is shown after we have vouched that we don’t need to know it, and gotten up from our seats. It is shown in the same way that the making of film videos are run, where the discarded, eliminated and useless are sewed in and shown.
You don't need to see it. You don't need to know what happened there, at all. Does it matter, even when everything else could be granted, but not the consent? As long as “no” was said, eventually? It is not important, really. Not any longer. What – alone - is important is there was a dissent. And that, my dear, is final.
“No” - A word. An expression. A decision, in its own right. Without reasons, without debate, without negotiation. Without force. No. A right.
Know, that "no" is your right. The right to say "no". The Right!
Yes, that’s right! Even if you are a sex worker, the girl friend, or the wife. You can still say no. Even if it doesn't appear right to others. You can say no. Even if you had a different thought before. Right. You can say no. Even if you've changed your mind, later.
The hands of the clock do not matter. The lengths of your hemlines do not matter. Who and how many you earlier slept with or without, and how many times and when, don't too. Their moral judgments do not matter. Their snide remarks do not matter. May they lead their own lives their own way, of they please. May they leave you to live yours, if you please. Their angry red eyes, their imagined shame has no forbearance on what is right and what you can or would. Their sense of your rights does not matter.
What only matters, dear, is you. And you must know your rights in that. Because, it is your body. And hence, simply and automatically, it is your right too. Your right, to say "no".
PS: I sat tight on my seat in the theatre, tears were streaming down. I believe I was not the only one around in that. But then, here’s what. I was also missing someone. Sorely, almost as if it was painful. I don’t know her as much as I’d wish to, and yet I could not stop thinking about her for almost all of the court scene and beyond.
Tu khud ki khoj mein nikal.
Tu kis liye hataash hai?
Tere wajood ki,
Samay ko bhi talaash hai!
Suzette Jordan, you. I wish you lived to see this!