Paper cuts are supposed to be minor injuries that heal quickly. But for Ramya Sethuraman and countless women like her who have endured everyday acts of sexual assault, these cuts run deep.
I got my first paper cut when I was 8. My mother placed a Band-Aid over it and we moved on . Every now and then, my finger would pulsate with a sharp pain and I would bite my lips. It was only a paper cut. I could take it. I am brave.
When I was 3, I loved standing near the slightly open windows in our apartment, letting the breeze ruffle my hair and wondering about the world outside. Until the day the apartment security guard decided to sneak his arm into the window where I stood. My mother locked the windows after that. We don’t leave windows open any more.
It’s just a paper cut.
When I was 11, my mother and I boarded the bus to my computer science class. I was so excited. Until the man behind me thought a skirt was an invitation. I stopped going to classes by bus.