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I faced harassment not once, not twice but multiple times. And the sad part is that it was not by any stranger but a family or a friend. I don’t know whom should I trust and whom should I not. I feel today I have to Break my Silence.

Incident-1 – First brush with sexuality
Age : 5
Perpetrator : Female cousin of same age
I was wearing : Pyjamas
Incident : We were sleeping together at night and she put her hands inside my underwear and was rubbing my private parts. Whispered to me to do the same to her. She probably played peeping tom in her parents’ bedroom to have known such deeds at such a young age. I was too shocked to even understand what is going on and meekly complied…

Incident – 2 – Touched by a penis
Age : 9
Perpetrator : Random guy on the road, Age : Probably in his 30s
I was wearing : Skirt and top
Incident : I was waiting for my parents to come out of the shop where they have gone to buy something. Felt like somebody was poking me with a rather fat finger on my butt. I moved away. The man moved with me, stood behind me and again poked me. This happened three of four times and I kept moving away wondering why this man is poking me. It was only years later that I understood what he did that day…that it was not a finger that poked me.

Incident – 3 – School bus
Age : 9
Perpetrator : Driver, aged around 50
I was wearing : School uniform
Incident : Everyday the driver would give me a special seat near him on the floor of the bus right behind the gear. Used to enjoy sitting there as he used to tell me children’s stories. But I was not comfortable at how he used to put his hand to my private parts every time he shifted the gears. Stopped sitting there after a while. Did not tell family as I was scared.

Incident – 4 – My ‘cousin’ story
Age : 21
Perpetrator : Cousin, Age : 21
I was wearing : Salwar kameez without dupatta
Incident : I was very close to this cousin as we are of same age. Thought of him like my own brother. Once we went to take bath like always in the river and I distinctly remember him looking at my body in the clinging wet dress in a way like never before. Everything changed after that day. He would find some excuse to touch me at every possible instance. Maybe hold my hand or feel the skin on the back of my neck or run a finger along my arm while talking to me. It was not exactly ‘brotherly’. It was easy to understand that much. I started to avoid being alone with him. One night we were all watching a movie and slowly all the family members went to bed. I stayed as almost 75% of the movie was over. Wanted to finish it. Finally only we both were there. He was sitting on the sofa and I was sitting on the floor. He got up to adjust the speed of the fan and came and sat on the sofa against which I was leaning. While casually making small talk, he kept a hand on my shoulder. I stiffened not knowing what I should do. The he slowly started to move it down my front. Those few moments were the most tortuous ones of my entire life. Should I stop him? How can I? What will happen if I scream now? If I make a scene, our families will get into a fight. I just froze for a moment. When his fingertips crossed the hemline of my dress, I caught his hand. He hastily pulled it out and said something about how my hair has grown thicker lately. I was panting, probably seething with anger and self-loathing. I got up abruptly, didn’t look at his face and stiffly walked out to my room. I cried all night. So many years have passed now and I still haven’t been able to forgive him. We do talk civilly but he avoids making eye-contact with me. I have never been able to trust any man after that incident.

I have never talked about any of this to anyone. Out of shame. Though I am not the one to blame. For the first time, I am glad I did.

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I don’t know what to say about the double standards of our society. I believe almost every girl is told in their families to behave in a certain way, in a certain manner and follow some protocol as it seems. But I wonder if boys are also told the same? Are they also taught at homes to behave in a certain way? To not to harass anyone? To not to rape anyone?

I doubt.

2-3 months ago, I was dropped by bus at the bus stop and I started walking towards my house. There was this guy who was staring at me but I kind of ignored him and kept walking. Meanwhile two boys came on activa and the guy who was staring at me also joined them and they went away.
For a second I was relieved but the next moment I was horrified. The boys on activa asked the one who was staring at me, “Now you’ll rape her?”

I was dead scared and started walking fast towards home. I could never imagine that comment coming from them and even now when I think of it, it haunts me as what if my house was far away from bus stop or what if they had caught me or what would have happened then.

I am not safe any where. I wish the boys were also taught by their parents to respect the girls.

 

*Name has been changed on request.

3 Comments

Was: a witness

City: Busstop/Chennai

Was wearing Chudithar/Salwar Kameez with dupatta

Reaction :  Helpless/ Passively endured

Incident was : One time
Perpetrator was a Stranger , his age less than 20

 

Experience:
I was around 20 then. I was riding on my bike with a friend at around 4:30 in the evening.  We heard a loud laughter when we were just crossing by a bus stop.So I slowed down my bike curious to know what was happening. The bus stop was located on the opposite side of the narrow road in a non-busy area that we were travelling on. But we could still make out what was happening there. A girl presumably back from college, was alone in the bus stop. Two guys presumably in their teenage were on a bike standing very close to the girl and passing lurid comments. We could see that the girl was not reacting at all (probably coz she has been through a hundred situations like this). But we could still notice the disgust on her face.
The first thing my friend said was ” Check out ..Have you ever seen eve teasing live”?..And I reacted jokingly saying ” Lets take a U-turn and bash the guys like how they show in masala action movies”..He laughed and said”Those guys are definitely younger than us , but they look more menacing like proper hooligans ..so im pretty sure they would bash us”..I laughed and said “Dude..I was just joking”..and continued home.
Yes this was how pathetically we reacted to the whole situation.
Till today this has been haunting me and feel we should have done something.
I feel very sorry for the girl and our complete nonchalant response to the whole situation..

vik_pro

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