I was 23 when a random guy randomly passed lewd remarks on what I was wearing and in the fit of sheer rage, I ran across the platform giving him a tough run of his life.
Let us rewind a bit. Yes, this is the same old molestation story that you get to hear from almost every girl you know. It is sad and equally shameful.
I was in 3rd standard when a guy in my building decided to take advantage of me. Those 5 minutes of him touching me inappropriately haunt me to date. I was scared, I didn’t tell anyone but over the period my anger for the fact that I didn’t react grew.
Fast forward, now I was 18. A college-going student who can raise voice and has read enough about self-defence! I was walking towards the station minding my own business and a random guy, decided to pinch my butt.
It was quick and left me numb for minutes altogether. I turned around and a thin person walked by like nothing happened. I did not react once again. I was furious but I had no guts to react. I kept letting myself down always for keeping quiet and being too numb to react.
A few years later, when I was in an auto the passenger behind me, decided to touch me again. I was paralysed the moment I realised that what he was doing was not an accident of any sort!
But, this time – I was not just me.
I was the little girl who was mad at being scared, I was also the 18 years old college student who was too frozen to react. This time, I shouted. He ran away. This was not enough, but it was something.
My recent encounter with molestation was when I was 23, I am 25 now. This person on the platform passed a remark and he thought I will ignore it. To my surprise, I ran behind him until I could. The entire stretch of the platform witnessed me running but I didn’t just want to catch him – I wanted to catch the boy who molested me at the age of 9, the man who pinched me, the man wo touched me wrongly. Losing my temper, and hurling abuses – not caring what I was wearing I created a scene on the platform.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t catch hold of the guy but am sure he would not do it again. All these years, the anger that stayed with me of not reacting and letting men randomly decide what they wish to do kept inflicting my soul until the day when I finally reacted.
Here is what I want to tell everyone who is reading this irrespective of whether you are a male or a female –
- Whenever you are in an auto/bus/metro check your fellow passenger – Check if the female around you is getting uncomfortable. Check if someone is harassing her.
- Do not shut up – shout! As loudly as you can! Hit that person if at all needed. Let people know what that person did. People tend to assume that you are hurling abuses or running behind a person because he or she must have stolen something.
- Catch the perpetrator – If you see a girl running behind a harasser, help her out to catch that person. It is simple but more often than not, the crowd doesn’t know what to react to.
- Let the harasser know that you know – ALWAYS REACT! Shout, beat or make eye contact but always let the harasser know that you know. Remember, if you let him go this time, he will do it with some else.
On the station when I lost my mind, I was going through a bad time dealing with Prianka Reddy’s case and it didn’t even shock me to think that tomorrow it could be me or my sister! I decided not to keep mum this time and freaking react. We have gotten used to this so much that, we are often told reacting on a lewd remark is not something that we should do on regular basis!
But you know what, REACT. ALWAYS REACT!