Aruna – Gender woman Was: a victim City

 
 

DSC01178Gender woman

Was: a victim
City: On college campus/Pilani
Was wearing Chudithar/Salwar Kameez with dupatta
Reaction: Reacted (yelling, complaining, slapping, fighting back)

Incident was : One time

Perpetrator was a Stranger and aged 20-30

Experience:
Growing up in India, there have been innumerable times when I have felt unsafe on the streets including times avoiding unwanted, wandering hands on crowded buses (and even a crowded temple once), having eye fights with strange men who thought it was perfectly fine to stare at girls, cycling away really fast from creepy young guys on bikes in alleys. But, I choose an incident that shook my belief in the wisdom and intentions of the administrators of an institute I admire and love.

After school, I attended one of India’s better known engineering colleges. Located far from cities, we were residential and all students were housed on

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campus. One night, about 8 pm, I was cycling with a friend inside campus, when out of nowhere a man with a shawl wrapped around his head and chest came close to us on his cycle and lunged at my chest squeezing it. The absurdity of the whole thing shocked me into screaming out loud. I think I also got off my cycle and picked up nearby pebbles to throw after him. What perverse pleasure did he derive from half a second of touching someone? I remember being numb and extremely angry for the next few minutes while I cycled back with my friend to our hostel. I was also revolted with myself for not having chased him down to hurt him real bad. What I noticed that night was there was no watchman around to come helping when I screamed. The next day my friend and I reported this to one of the higher-ups of the university and he acknowledged it was a very serious concern. Unfortunately, I suspect this incident only gave good reason to continue to shut the girls up in their hostels post 11 pm while the boys still roamed around on campus unrestricted. It annoys me to this day that the administration, instead of ensuring that girls and boys were treated equally and ensuring they created an environment safe enough for that, felt justified in taking the easier route effectively making us girls feel helpless and that we needed to be protected by others. And here we are thinking education is supposed to empower!

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