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Gender woman
Was: a victim
City: Army accomodation/Arunachal Pradesh
Was wearing jeans and kurta

Reaction : Reacted (yelling,complaining,slapping, fighting back)

Incident was : One time

Perpetrator was a Stranger

Experience :

I have been reserving my comments on the recent gang-rape in Delhi all the while. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised when I heard about it. Yes, it was interesting to watch the nation react to it. Ofcourse, I feel sorry for the victim and her family. But if you think about it objectively, this is just the tip of the iceberg. What we need to address as a civic society is why this happened. The protests are a good sign, a small hope that our society hasn’t degraded completely. People have attributed several reasons to this crime, ranging from bad governance to alcohol and failing social values. One can get into endless discussions on this without generating any solution. So I donot want to get drawn into that loop.I wish to convey a message to all women out there, through an incident that happened in my life. Forgive my writing skills for I donot pursue literature anymore ­čÖé

This happened a few years back when I was still short-sighted and stupid. During a summer break I decided to travel to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh by myself. I had a friend in Assam, so I had company till Tezpur. But beyond that point I was my own master. My plan was to visit the buddhist monastery in Tawang and spend a day there. For the uninitiated, Tawang is an idyllic village in Arunachal Pradesh. I climbed on to a shared vehicle of some sort with ten other men from Tezpur thinking I would reach Tawang in a couple of hours. My fellow passengers were visibly shocked and uncomfortable to see a woman travel by herself in those parts. But that discussion didn’t progess much since I didn’t speak anything besides English. Anyway, after almost twelve hours on the road, I reached Tawang in one piece. I checked in at the goverment guest house for the night. So far, so good! What I didnot realise was that while I was enjoying the breathtaking beauty of Tawang, there was a landslide a few miles away which made my return to Tezpur the next day impossible. I stayed an extra day, but somehow the situation around me was making me nervous. Apparently, the only way to get out of the place was to be saved by the army. Before I forget, Tawang and other parts of north-east India are heavily guarded by the Indian army. You tend to see more army personnel than civilians there. There were a few others who had the same issue as I had, so we decided to go as far as we can and then walk for the rest. I set out with a sardar(who was an army officer as well), with the hope of reaching Tezpur safe and sound. Things went well for a while. We took whatever transport we found and then walked for more than 20kms till it turned dark. We managed to reach the army camp at Tenga valley by then. I saw troops of army officers and for the first time felt extremely uncomfortable that I was a woman. The Major was surprised to see me there and offered a room at their mess for

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the night. I finally had food and water and a bed to sleep on after hours on the road. I was so exhausted that I didnot realise that somebody was trying to open the door to my room in the middle of the night. I woke up when I sensed a man in my room. I dragged myself out of bed and tried to turn on the light, but I realised that he had cut off the power supply and the telephone lines to my room. I could hear him speak obscenities in hindi. After a few minutes of struggle, I managed to lock myself in the bathroom. That is when I realised how scared I was. I have never experienced such fear in my life. Amidst all his efforts to open the bathroom door, I held on to it with all my strength. He must have given up at some point. I held on to the door till I could see the sun rise. After what was undoubtedly the longest night of my life, I fled from that place with whatever I could grab. I ran till I found a group of people going to Tezpur.

I donot wish to dramatize the incident and talk about lack of facilities in the north-east of India and the neglect they face from the goverment. I donot want to blame the army officer who tried to rape me either. I still don’t know who he was. The bottomline is however independent and strong-willed women are, we are not safe. We cannot win over a man in a physical battle. At the risk of sounding old-fashioned and conservative, I request all girls out there to never travel alone in India. Always travel during the day and use public transport as much as possible. Try to organise your travel in groups. You cannot trust even those who don the roles of protectors. It is better to take precautionary measures than deal with something else later. I consider myself lucky to have come out safe from that incident. But I still haven’t been able to forget the trauma. I can only speculate how much fear and helplessness a rape victim would go through. So it is best to avoid dangerous situations as much as you can. If you still have to face one, then pray that you have the strength to carry-on with a normal life later. Let it not affect your life’s journey in any way.