Charanya – Was: a victim City: In a bus, in Chennai Perpetrator

 
 

Was: a victim
City: In a bus, in Chennai
Perpetrator was a stranger, in the age group of 20-30

Incident was : One time

Reaction : Reacted (yelling, slapping, complaining, fighting back)
Was wearing Chudithar/Salwar Kameez with dupatta

I was in my engineering second year. Finished a dance practice at Mylapore, took the legendary 12B bus to go home. I was groped by an asshole in the bus. I was not new to that, I don’t think any woman,especially in India,is new to that. I knew exactly how to handle it. I’ve always handled it that way, ever since the first incident happened when I was in class 6, if anybody touches me I would scream out and call the attention of the bus conductor, the conductor would then ask the man to get down, and I’d be satisfied that I’ve done by bit as I see the guy humiliated, embarrassed, hiding in his face

and running out of the bus, knowing that he would never dare to do it again. So that day, I did the same. Except, this time it was different. The conductor looked up and said “Stand somewhere else, away from him”. I was shocked and appalled, and said “What? Ask him to get out of the bus” and as I was saying this, the asshole kissed me, yes in front of everyone, while I was hurling this complaint against him. He curled his lips and gave me this vicious smile which silently said “You are but a helpless woman”. I screamed in rage, EVERYONE stood silent. ALL the passengers, stood silently, watching. The conductor looked up and said “Galatta panadha, buss virtu erungu”. (Get down form the bus, stop overreacting) I was fuming and burst out in tears as I got down from the bus,I noted down the bus number and went crying to my dad. My dad agreed to take me to the police station. My mother pleaded with us “Are you crazy, why would you take our teenage girl to the police station? Its unsafe ,besides what would people think”. Can anyone blame her for thinking that way? So we telephoned the police instead. My father had to use his position -‘gazetted officer’ to even so much as to get their attention. We said we have the bus number and need to file a FIR against the bus conductor and the driver. We got a call from the police station 10 minutes later, and a lady officer spoke to me. She said ” If you press charges, we’d have to suspend the driver and conductor. We would never be able to trace the guy who did that to you anyway. The driver and conductor would complain to their union, and if the union decided to go on a strike , then the issue would be picked up by the media, and your image would unnecessarily be tarnished. My suggestion is to just forget it”. And thats what I’ve tried doing, tried forgetting it for the last 8 years. But I still remember his face, that sadistic smile, that I’ve been wanting to wipe it from his face forever, but just can’t. And when I was discussing this issue in my college with a group of friends, a random guy who overheard it actually said ” What sort of a girl is she, why would she speak in public about all this”. THIS. THIS is exactly the problem with our country. It wasn’t wrong for the guy to have done that, but it is wrong that I spoke about it. A dutiful girl should have kept it a secret and carried on with her life. Even now, I’m very sure my mom would call me from India and ask why I publish notes like these. A bunch of people reading this are invariably bound to think how “unwomanly” it is for me to write all this. And a few people reading this would probably think “Wonder what dress she wore in the bus”. Thats why I specified dance class in the first line-

Indian classical dance implies wearing Chudithar with Dupataa. I read a blog on this issue where the author had to issue a disclaimer “..want to clarify that not all of the examples of harassment or abuse I mentioned in the post involved me directly..” Because we get judged for writing these. Its easier to speak in third person. Its almost quite impossible for any girl in India ot have escaped such experiences. But no one speaks about it. And thats the inception for trouble. What happened to me was nothing, nothing at all, in light of what so many other women undergo in the country.chennai-bus

10 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *