Anu – Gender woman Was: a victim City: Trivandrum

 
 

Gender woman

Was: a victim
City: Trivandrum
Was wearing Chudithar/Salwar Kameez with dupatta
Reaction: Moved away silently

Incident was : One time

Perpetrator was a Stranger and aged 30-40

Experience:
As I read through all the experiences that these women and men share, I feel really proud. I am so proud of all the women who are starting to realize that sexual harassment in any degree is not something that they need to keep up with and I am proud of all the men who are starting to understand the seriousness of this situation and coming forward in support of their friends, sisters and mothers.

As for me, coming from a conservative society that shuns any subject that is even by far related to sex or sexuality, I had to face a couple of hard times myself to build that courage to fight this social evil.

One particular incident that pains me, happened when I was 18 years old. Being an NRI, I wasn’t very well versed with the eve teasing episodes that women go through all the time while using public transport. I used to be surprised at the surge of young eager males battling their way to any woman standing or sitting in the bus for a quick nudge, poke or touch. Or at the least, they had to pass some sort of comment on the girls who at this point were as passive as stones. Rude is not really the word for this but I didn’t realize what I was in for, until that particular day.

I was travelling in a bus to my friend’s house. There was no seats available, so standing was the only option and after a while the crowd happened to be so much that that you could hardly move your finger. And then I felt a guy’s hand groping my waist. I couldn’t move and I couldn’t see who was doing it and when I managed to grab his hand, he quickly retreated and I saw a man get off in a hurry and then look at me from outside. I still get enraged when I think of his face. He got his way. He violated me and I didn’t get to bring him to justice. And the saddest part is when I narrate this incident to my guy friend he accuses me for being the victim. His logic is if that guy had to choose me from all the other women in that bus, it just means that I was dressed inappropriately or that I was inviting him to commit his crime.

I have often come across this mentality in India. People tend to point fingers at women instead of the culprit for such incidents. The first question is what were you wearing? Were you revealing your figure? Was the dupatta coming off? Were you dressed provocatively? And I wonder, really? Is that what it is really about? So the culprit chooses their victims on the basis of their costumes? I have only one thing to say, if covering everything you have is a solution to sexual harassment then Afghanistan should be the most safest place for women. Or women wearing burkhas should always be safe. But is that the situation?

We should stop being shamed for being sexually harassed. That is the first thing we should do. Only then can the crime be brought to justice. Each time you blame the victim, you are invalidating the disgusting act inflicted on the female, and thus putting in danger generations of women. Thankfully my parents are sensible, sensitive and broad minded people who encourage me to react in such situations.

Two years later I was walking the Chennai roads with my family and I saw a guy following me. He finally appears in front of me and he decides to bump into me by ‘accident’. I shouted out, ‘You mad?’ and he fled for his life murmuring something. I looked at him fleeing away and I saw all the men who tried to violate me through those piercing stares, taunting songs and comments, stalking, crazy phone calls and unwelcome touch – And I felt good about taking that first step.

I blame the women. Not for wearing the clothes that they want to. But for not standing up for themselves. For not standing up for their sisters. For hushing their sisters and daughters when they cry for justice. If you don’t stand for yourself, who will???

There has been silence for long enough. Thank you for breaking it.

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