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Never I had thought that this would happen to me or never I was told that this happens to almost everybody.
Neither I knew how to react nor I was told by anyone as how to react.
Little me was left to draw conclusions on my own and create boundaries by myself.
But I wanted to BREAK MY SILENCE!
It was a time for family vacation. Bags packed, camera check, and we were all set for Srinagar.

But what our water bottle got emptied at the station. My mom asked me to go and fill that up from the water cooler.
While I was filling it up, a guy who must around 16-18 years in age was also there and the very next moment he made an extremely disgusting gesture which I can’t forget till date.

He gave a flying kiss and some lip movement which left me in shock, disgust and anger. I did not know how should I respond but all I felt was very bad and shameful. I now think that I should have slapped him then.

It was not just once. My personal space was violated twice and thrice. Once I was coming back from my tuition at around 6:30pm and a guy of around 20 years came on activa and passed a lewd comment.
Once I was waiting at a bus stop and when I boarded the bus a guy from behind touched me in a very bad manner.

I don’t understand that am I supposed to be chill about it that anyone can come and touch me the way they want or say anything?
Answer is an obvious NO. But why don’t we talk about it or why we are not taught as how to respond to these situations.

I feel light when I share this and I wish it inspires thousands of me who don’t know what to do and who don’t know whom to speak to.

 

*Name has been changed on request.

No Comments

Gender Female

Was: a victim
City: Bus/Chennai
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:
It was a Sunday afternoon, I was in my third year of engineering. I was returning to my hostel in Kodambakkam from Kilpauk in 17-D bus. The bus was very crowded. I was standing as there were no empty seats. I am a sturdy girl of height 5 feet 6 inches.(You will know why I am mentioning this at the end of the post). A lean and short guy hit me once, I thought it was because the bus was very much crowded and of the bad road. I moved away from him standing facing the windows. The bus became little crowded as it crossed the Valluvar kottam stop. When the bus was nearing the Meenakshi college stop, he fell over me from the back with force , that I was about hit the windows.Think as how hard he would have pushed me that a girl of my height would have fallen. I started shouting at him all abusive words I know. I even said that I would give an Eve-Teasing complaint. Nobody around me said anything not even the conductor.The lady who was observing us was the only one to say that I moved away from him and still he was after me. He got down as soon as he hit me and I still remember as what he said. He said it was me who was falling on me. I still cant forget that day. I cant forget how angry I was,very much more on the public which just stood watching.

Incident 2:
I am no stranger to bus travels in the night. As usual, I was travelling back to my hometown in a private bus from Chennai at 10:00 pm bus. An old man of respectable age came and told me that I was occupying his seat and that my seat was the one before his seat. I got up and changed the seat. It was in the middle of night after all the lights were shut off. I saw his fingers coming from back. I pulled up my seat. Then again he tried to touch below my neck. This time, I got up and occupied the front seat where his hands wont reach me. I was fuming over. The bus was not crowded. I kept vigilant the entire journey. When I was about to get down in my stop, I pulled over my laptop which was above his head and dropped it on his head. He cried in pain. I took the bag and went ahead with out looking back

I wish I had more courage those days. I tried my best to erase these things from my memory but they haunt me whenever I travel alone. As now I always carry a small blade with me.

No Comments

Gender Female

Was: a victim
City: Bus, Chennai
Was wearing school uniform
Reaction: Reacted (yelling, complaining, slapping, fighting back)
Incident was: One time

Perpetrator was a Stranger and aged 20-30

Experience:
It was during my 12th. My school is situated behind a Men’s College and the school’s closure timing and the college’s coincide.
I was waiting for a not-so-crowded bus at the bus stop for quite sometime. Later I had to get into a crowded one. Few of the college guys were passing explicit comments about me for which i decided ignorance is the best thing. Later, one of them tried getting close to me or i would rather frame it as molested me. I screamed at the person and kept yelling until the bus was stopped. The bus conductor tried quietening me down and completely ignored the guy who was supposed to be punished.
I wanted the bus to be taken to a nearby Police Station. But the elderly people in the bus asked me to forget the whole incident and think that none of it ever happened. The bus conductor asked me to get down the bus so that the bus can start moving again.
It feels so wrong that women always are expected to never retaliate to such situationsquiet

2 Comments

Gender Female

Was: a victim
City: In a sleeper bus from Mumbai to Goa
Was wearing jeans and shirt
Reaction: Reacted (yelling, complaining, slapping, fighting back)
Incident was: One time

Perpetrator was a Stranger and aged 30-40

Experience:
I clearly remember that evening. I was really excited as I was going to Goa in December 2011 to attend the Sunburn Festival. All my friends were joining me from Bangalore and I had booked myself a lower berth on a reputed sleeper bus to reach Goa comfortably overnight.

I called my mother from the bus to tell her I am safe as the seats opposite mine were booked by a family of four and there were many youngsters in the bus who were going for the festival too. The lower berth behind mine also belonged to the family sitting in front of me.

I kept my bag near my face and slept off that night. In the middle of the night I felt that something was falling on my face. I adjusted the straps of my bag and slept again. It happened again. I then felt something itching on my face. Like something touched my face. I thought it was an insect and slept again. It happened a couple of times again.  I knew something was wrong. I was up and watching. I saw a hand creep in from the seat behind me to feel me up. I freaked out and did not sleep the whole night. I kept the lights on too.

I knew the guy who was doing this act was the father of two children – from the family sitting in front of me. I wanted to yell then but I thought I would create a scene and his wife would be disturbed. I kept quiet. But I was really really angry.

I had fortunately made friends with a couple at the tea stall last night when I was standing alone. In the morning when they asked me if I slept well I told them about the entire incident. The guy (the friend) was really angry and called the man who did that act in a corner to confront him. He started apologizing straight away and begged to us not to tell his family because his children were with him.

The girl who also became my friend insisted that I tell his wife about this as such men should be punished. We went up to the man’s wife and told her about how he was trying to touch me last night from the berth behind mine. To our surprise, the lady started defending the husband! Later when I got really angry and I said I would complain to the police she said she was sorry on his behalf and that her husband had a medical problem.

I then shifted my seat and sat with the couple for the rest of the journey.

I met both kinds of people on the same bus that day. Ones who don’t care about humanity and the one who go out of their way to help you and ensure girls feel safe in any environment in our country.

I thank God for meeting those people for I myself would have never gone up to that lady / yelled at that guy because I was scared I would scar a family.

But today when I look back, I know I did the right thing because I BROKE MY SILENCE! ­čÖé

 

6 Comments

Gender woman

Was: a victim
City: Bus, Park, everywhere
Was wearing Chudithar/Salwar Kameez with dupatta
Reaction: Helpless, Passively Endured

Incident was : multiple times

Perpetrator was a Friend or acquaintance and aged 20-30

Experience:
The one thought that always comes to my logical mind, when I hear of sexual abuse is this… Why should we, as victims, be ashamed, ever. It has been long since we have ignored the monsters, who have mistook our tolerance to be our weakness. Our silence has been taken for submission.

Today, I would like to share a few lessons I learnt, through my story. I had a taste of fear, embarrassment and an assault to my dignity too, not once, not twice, but several times. It is appalling that all of us have similar stories to tell. Our men can keep us safe and we can, together, keep our daughters safe, only when all of us know what we go through each day. As I walked through incidents of

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my life, even as a little girl, I let go all the fancy myths of a the world being beautiful and built a safe sheath of facts around me, which is sad , but a practical guide for survival. I would like to share it with all girls and parents too.

My first brush with the ugly side of life was when I was 9. My parents bought me a bicycle and asked one of my young relatives to tutor both my sister and me. He was a young boy of 16 and my distant brother. As little sisters of his, we trusted him more than anything and he proved us wrong. We were taught fewer lessons of cycling, and bigger lessons of life. After a couple of days, I complained to my sister that the guy has been touching me in ways he should not. She agreed that everything wasn’t right with her too. We took it to our parents, who were equally shocked, and being teachers at heart, went to the boy’s parents to impart some moral science lessons to him. However the boy’s parents strongly dismissed our complaints and threw my parents out of their house. Today as a grown up man, the boy faces charges of dowry assault and sexual harassment . How I wish they took time to hear us, then.

Myth 1: Your little girl is too young to be sexually abused.

Myth 2: Your little girl is in the safe hands of a relative and you can leave her un-monitored.

Myth 3: Your boy comes from a great family background and hence cannot perpetrate sexual crime. [ Please identify early and nip it off, at the bud ]

I was probably 12, not even mature enough to understand the adults world. I was only taught that the world is a beautiful place and to greet everybody with a smile. I was at a supermarket, with my parents around, and my cousin brother holding my hand. A man passes by, probably a middle aged uncle and I give him a pleasant smile. He returns a wicked smile and pinches my chest. I step aside in embarrassment. I was in safe hands, I was fully covered and damn, I was not even an adult yet – none of it matters. That day I believe the innocent smile turned into a skeptical one and continues to.

Myth 4: Sexual harassment does not happen when parents are around.

I was 13 when I was travelling by bus and a man kept rubbing his penis against my shoulders standing next to me. This time I was brave enough to tell my uncle accompanying me. He only replied, “let us get down in the next stop”. The only logical thought I had was, “Why should I get down?”. That day I began to question.

Myth 5: Your little girl complains so often. DonÔÇÖt take much notice since she is a kid.

Myth 6: Your girl is safe if she is taking the public transport [ Not at all. Please talk to her each day ]

I was 14 and was traveling by bus to my village. The man behind me groped me, while the uncle sitting next to me was all over me. I got up and complained to the conductor, who meekly gave me another seat. That very day I saw that not everybody stands up against shit, and probably I should do it myself.

Myth 7: People around you will always stand up, in your support. [ DonÔÇÖt expect support. Just be confident to fight it out]

I was 15, and was at a cousin’s marriage. My cousin’s neighbor, who was atleast of my grand dad’s age groped me and pulled me towards him, all in the name of love and care. I quickly resisted and jumped back.

Fact: Age, family, caste – Nothing matters – such acts can happen with anyone and anywhere

I was 16 when I was being followed by a fellow student, who was stalking me wherever I went. My mother asked me to be cautious, but probably did not take it very seriously, considering he was a class mate. One fine day he stopped my friend to inquire about me, she took the incident to her dad and to my dismay, her dad complained to my parents about me and not the boy. My dad looked at me, smiled, placed his hands on my shoulders and said “I trust you my little girl. I will sort this out for you”. I am so indebted to my dad for those words of support

Myth 8: Your girl is safe with her classmates.

I am 29 today. Not a year has passed without one such incident happening . But I am proud I have learnt to handle it better.

The other day strangers asked me for directions and as I led them their way, they began to pass lewd comments. I shouted back and called the traffic police.

I was walking to the station to catch a train back home and a drunk teenager follows, asking me to accompany him home. I yelled so loudly that an entire coach stepped out in support.

My widowed maid told me that there was a family fight and her brother in law told her ” I will get both your girls raped” without any remorse . I went to her house and threatened him that I will get him arrested the next time he makes such remarks.

I realize, nothing around me has changed, but I have. I learnt my lessons the hard way. I am definitely stronger than what I was when it all started – bold, capable and outspoken. I encourage every girl to protect herself and not become easy targets.

WHAT HELPS: Be confident, be loud, discuss with your parents, friends, and relatives, and always, shout for help. “I’m not sure if it was a deliberate act” is a common thought that comes to our mind, under such circumstances and the prime reason for young girls to endure such nonsense. Brush it aside and shout for help. It is our innocence, our unpreparedness, our timidity, and the habit of giving the perpetrators the benefit of doubt, that leads to such brazen acts of abuse and assault.

We have no choice, but to only grow stronger from here. Let us build a safe haven for each other. Little acts of caution, little fingers of support and a LOUD CLEAR SHOUT OUT can go a long way. I only request all men to be more sensitive towards what a lady is put through each day and to stand by them. One single voice of support from our own men comes a long way.

Despite all this, it is amazing how we women still continue to lead an extremely sane life, strive to keep our families secure, perform fantastically well at work and continue to explore life with enthusiasm. It requires not a heart of steel , but a ‘heart of a lady’ to do that..ibms_pic

6 Comments

Gender woman

Was: a victim
City: Bus

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from Kerala to Bangalore
Was wearing Jeans and Kurta
Reaction: Reacted (yelling, complaining, slapping, fighting back)

Incident was : One time

Perpetrator was a Stranger and imagesaged 20-30

Experience:
I have faced numerous incidents where different types of perverts tried to touch me inappropriately, mostly while travelling in a bus/train. I will post as much stories as possible, since I hope that it may inspire atleast one person who usually suffer in silence decide to open their mouth and react.

I was travelling from my hometown to Bangalore in a Volvo bus on a Sunday evening when this incident happened. Me and another girl were sitting on adjacent seats. Behind us were 2 guys, college students probably. Initially we did not even notice who were sitting behind us.

When it was late night, when lights were dim and almost everyone was sleeping in the bus, the girl sitting next to me told that the guys sitting behind us are probably drinking as she could smell alcohol. After a few minutes, I felt there is a hand on my seat very close to my face. I slowly moved my head away from the hand. Then I could see that the hand is moving closer to me.

In a normal circumstance I would have chosen to make use of a safety pin or a blade or a nail cutter, but all these things were not accessible to me as it was stashed under my seat. I decided to speak up and I turned to him and asked “Whats your problem”. His reply was, he wants to take something from his bag which is under my seat and as I have pushed the seat back, he could not take it.

I pulled the seat up and asked him to take whatever he wanted fast. He said he is done and I pushed it back again. After a few minutes later, his hand was again on my seat. I could also feel a foot being pushed up through the gap of the seat and backrest. I decided he should not be left like that. I again asked him what he needed. This time his reply was that he cannot sit because my seat is reclining.

I told him that every other seat in the bus is reclining and I offered him that we can exchange seats with him so that we will be sitting behind them. He did not want to do that and was again trying to touch me.

I must point out that not a single person in the bus even opened their mouth or offered a help. I directly went to the bus attender and told that we are having trouble with these people and we would like to have the seats changed.

Thankfully, he was a good man. He came inside, and took this guy to the back of the bus. I have no idea what was the conversation they had. When he came back, the attender told me, you will have no more problems and if there is any trouble, just let him know.

After that the rest of the bus ride was peaceful and he did not attempt to trouble me.

No Comments

Gender woman

Was: a victim
City: Bangalore- KSRTC bus
Was wearing Jeans and Kurta
Reaction: Reacted (yelling, complaining, slapping, fighting back)

Incident was : One time

Perpetrator was a Stranger and aged 40-50

Experience:
On a night-time bus where the ladies seat was not available, I was a little relieved to see that I was sitting next to a decent-looking educated man(a well paid professional from the looks of it),probably in his mid-forties.
This relief was short-lived, since after 2-3 hours had passed I felt a hand on my thigh. I pushed it away, giving his ‘asleep’ state the benefit of the doubt since it was after all an overnight journey and he had seemed quite a passive man. However this was repeated in a manner that is unmistakeable a few more times and I had had it. I didn’t create a scene as I probably should have to humiliate this prick. But I did take his hand the next time with both of mine, and twisted his fingers hard until I was sure he would feel pain. And I got off at the first stop I could.KSRTC_Volvo_Airavat

No Comments

Gender woman

Was: a witness
City: Bus/Hyderabad
Was wearing Sari/Half Sari
Reaction: Reacted (yelling, complaining, slapping, fighting back)

Incident was : One time

Perpetrator was a Family member or Relative and aged 30-40

Experience:
Many perverse acts against the modesty of Indian girls/boys/women happen in public areas and this story is no different. I personally have lost count of the grazing, brushing, touching, obscene staring incidents that I have been through. But this is a story of my mother’s. ┬áThe reason I want to highlight my mum’s experience is to emphasize that no woman in India ┬áfeels safe in public places, no matter her age. Around 11 years ago, (I would put her in the middle-age category), she was travelling with my dad in a state-owned government bus in Hyderabad. The bus was crowded and ┬áthey were standing throughout the journey. ┬áA youngish chap decided to act fresh and push and graze and brush from behind. My firebrand father noticed it and ┬ágave hell and hellfire and all hell related synonyms to this priceless gem of an idiot. The other passengers were in splits because of the entertaining abuses and the continuous verbal tirade against that guy. The guy was shamed into getting down. My father apparently still didn’t calm down and continued on a spiel to everyone in the bus about morals, ethics, so on and so forth.
A shout out to a man like my father who always stepped in such awkward situations, even when it did not involve his female relatives.  A shout out to the few bus conductors in Hyderabad who have actively tried to make sure female passengers were safe. A shout out to Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandes who bravely tried to save their friends. A shout out to my mum for being vocal about one of her many terrible experiences.IMAG0080

2 Comments

Was: a victimBMTC__BUS_164836f
City: Crowded Bus/Bangalore
Was wearing school uniform

Reaction : Moved away silently

Incident was : multiple times

Perpetrator was a stranger, in the age group of 20-30

Experience:
I don’t think I have told this to anyone until now, but I think it’s time I broke my silence too.

I must have been about 8 years old, I don’t quite remember too well. It was a very crowded bus and I was standing (with my dad somewhere nearby). Two young guys offered to make space for me in their seat. I vaguely remember one of them being really nice to me, so I decided to sit. They made me sit down between them. The really ‘nice’ guy held me a little too tight and kept winking at me. I didn’t know what bothered me but I was instantly uncomfortable. He forced a kiss on my cheek. I called for my dad and got out of that seat. Thankfully my dad came by and nothing else awkward happened.

Fast forward a few years, I must have been 12 or 13. This one I remember quite well. I was with my grandmother coming back from whitefield in a crowded bus (just my luck). We had to adjust with this very elderly man (50+) because I was too small a kid to take up a whole seat for myself. This old man instantly struck up a conversation with my grandmother. I remember that he was extremely nice and polite and soon diverted all his attention towards me. He soon started hugging me. Then he asked if he could kiss my cheek. Weird! When I didn’t say anything (one of the problems in India.. children cannot speak badly to adults even when they are trying to abuse them), he just forced one. I don’t think my grandmother even realized that I was uncomfortable. I don’t blame her, she just thought this man was being affectionate. I started to squirm and turned my face far away from him. He continued to try forcing more kisses when I just told him to stop and that I don’t like it. I think he actually asked me why, in a coy way as though nothing was wrong and continued his attempts. I think he soon got out of the bus. I remember being extremely relieved after that.

I didn’t quite realize why both these situations made me so uncomfortable until much later. I’m glad I became extremely cautious after that while travelling in buses.

2 Comments

Was: a victim

City: In KSRTC bus..on the way from Bangalore to Calicut

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

Was wearing Chudithar/Salwar Kameez with dupatta

Incident was : One time
Perpetrator was a stranger, in the age group of 20-30

Experience:
I travel frequently from Bangalore to Calicut via Kerala RTC bus. This incident took place a year back or so. As always I had booked the Ladies Only seat for his journey as well. An elderly lady and I were the only occupants of the Ladies seats. As the bus was in the middle of the journey I felt as If I had stepped onto someone’s leg who was sitting behind me. At first I thought it might be my mistake that I stamped him. Then after few minutes it happened again when I relaized that KSRTC bus seatings are not that small enough that a back seat passenger has to extend his/her legs. It had ample space. Then it happened again. This time I was sure this was not an accident and this guy was doing this on purpose. I stood up and shouted at the him who happened to be a man in his 40 or 50’s. I told the bus conductor and the elderly lady about this incident. They scolded him very badly and then he stopped behaving indecently.

The bus employees were very supportive and kept the guy away from me. They also ensured that when I got down at the destination I was picked up by my husband.

Unless you react things will never work out.. As long as we stay silent the opponent will always feel that we are weak….

ksrtc

1 Comment
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