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Gender Female

Was: a victim
City: Coimbatore
Was wearing : I don’t remember
Reaction: Helpless/passively endured
Incident was: multiple times

Being a girl is never entertaining if you are leered at and hooted at like a circus animal; not because of the harassment but because of the by-products it comes with. It was never entertaining, for me, at least always. I was around 9 and I found that my breasts had started to grow. For a nine-year old, it only appeared curious – the way it grew and how it stood. For me, it only filled with thoughts like ‘what was inside it!’ ‘would it keep growing!’ and ’why are my tops getting tight?. That being said it was only an addition of my body that I didn’t know what to do with. It didn’t occur that my ‘recent’ addition could possibly look like an object of lust for a guy. That day, I had gone to the bazaar with my mom; it was crowded, as usual and the dark evening was visibly lit by the lights from various stores. My mom was holding my hand with a firm grip and was leading through the crowd; I was still a child for her. Among the bustling crowd, I suddenly felt a man’s robust hand, firm enough, reaching one of my breasts, holding it for a second and squeezing it. It happened in less than a few seconds, when my mom was still gripping my hand and walking. I was too small to be shocked, but I was scared: scared at men, men who were of the same gender of my father. That night, I told my dad, “Appa, today…at the bazaar…one guy pressed my breast like an auto horn.” I was only that innocent to come up with such analogy. My parents were obviously shocked and unanimously decided, “Let’s not take her out for some time.” For a genuine opening up it’s always loss of freedom for a girl. I started receding in and when it happened the next time, I didn’t tell a word to my parents.

I was around 10 when it happened, and I was at home with a guy who I called ‘brother’; when I thought people are what you call them by. He was an electrician and I was sticking around to see how he wires things. At one point, he pulled me towards him and started to play with me and making me laugh. He threw me up in the air and caught me; he made me sit on his lap and put his hands around and started to say stuff that made both of us giggle. I didn’t pay attention to what he said as there was something else that was holding my attention. Something was moving under his dhothi;  I felt wriggling under my thighs. And in some time, I felt it against everywhere, once against my thighs, once at my bottom, once here, once there. He was still cajoling me like a kid. It took a while to realize something was not normal. This had not happened when I sat on my father’s lap. My mom accidentally came there now, and called me aside. Her face was flushed and told me to come downstairs. I now clearly knew something was wrong; it took a bit of wrestling to come away from him. I knew what it meant only after a long time.

Now my shell had started to thicken; I had stopped talking with random guys and if I had to, I did it with utmost precaution not to let them near me. My trust on men came with great effort on both the sides which took time to overcome. I started standing up against them doing whatever I could. I thought I had the courage to fight back; I have grown strong. But a few things didn’t let me be so.

I was 22 and I went to a movie with my sister’s family. Towards the intermission, I felt fingers from behind searching for something, first from the bottom of my seat and then from the sides. My heart was palpitating and I moved to tip of my seat. I was out of reach. I was sitting at the edge and was gazing at the screen nervously.  It’s not the groping or the look that makes harassment obnoxious but the after effect that makes it  – ‘it is better when you avoid’. I wanted to stand up and kick that man’s ass. But I didn’t have the courage to do it. I would only end up losing my freedom. My sister would think ‘if this happens when we are around, then what horrible things might happen to her when she is alone’. I couldn’t afford to lose my freedom once again, and I couldn’t passively endure it. I made myself hard to reach. After the intermission, the same guy had misbehaved with my sister and she started to yell to Mother Kali. That guy, being threatened, ran off. My sister’s courage was commendable, but my courage could have backfired.

I didn’t want to experiment how they would feel if I stood up, my question of freedom is more important to me to experiment with; but I knew they would definitely be worried. A few parents live in a myth that they have to bring their daughter up sinless and pure, something like ‘untouched by human hand’. The moment you tell what has happened, that their Cinderella-like-little girl has been abused, their myth gets crushed. They are comfortable with Cinderellas locked up at home than with a girl who fights back; it eases their heart that way.

I am being whistled at, I am being bruised by dark hands and I stand up when I am alone. I avoid and don’t fight back when my family is around, with their Cinderella myth intact. Would parents call their child and ask her to ‘Stand up and be bold’ the moment she says something she doesn’t know what to do with?

 

*Name changed on request

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black-mail-icon-256-x-256Gender woman

Was: a victim
City: Perpetual Abuse which happened at Coimbatore
Was wearing Jeans and Shirt
Reaction: Helpless, Passively Endured

Perpetrator was a Family member or Relative and aged around 20

Incident was : Recurring

Experience:
I so empathize with the other women who have shared their miseries out here! That’s because I have been through all that they have been through- the regular gropings, brushings and verbal assaults directed at my physical body!!! I have had my fair share of physical and mental torments but I am not going to elaborate on that; I am going to share with you an incident of my life which completely changed me for good.

When I was in college, I had a boy friend, a very charming one that too, or thats what I thought until I got to know him completely! He was what every girl would dream of her husband to be like! Sweet, Funny, Brainy, Having lots of friends, good at creativity etc. But then, little did I know that he would be good at verbal abuses and all the more good at manipulative stuff too!

Why did he abuse me verbally? Because to him I was always wrong! The way I dressed, the way I looked, the way I led my life, my dreams, my aspirations, my friends were all wrong! And if his friends think I was wrong because of something then again I am wrong because they thought so! And hence “I deserved to be taught a lesson”! And the lesson came in form of multitudes of verbal abuses! The words that were used would be something beyond your wildest imagination!

And why did I put up with all the shit you can ask! I bore it all because I fell for all his manipulative acts! I believed him when he said I was wrong/ I was terrible/ I act like a b**** and also believed him when he said I made him act the way he did!
One important question to ask now! What did he use for manipulation?
Suicide Threats!
I was gullible enough to believe that he loved me and that it was the magnitude of that love that made him not want to live without me and hence the suicide threats naturally followed! And he was the cynosure of all eyes and so I trusted that there was something wrong with me for making him mad!

You might ask did you not realize the emptiness in his threats after a point in time? Well Folks, just when I was about to, he went beyond just threatening! Popping some strange pill or the other, taking in some quantities of pest repellant-quantities not enough to kill him but more than enough to terrorize me- ensured that he exercised a strong control over me and my actions. Guess he was happy about that. But let me tell you friends those 9 months were the worst months of my life! Every night whenever we used to have an argument-over things which were of highly inconsequential and insignificant in nature; something like me wanting to dress up for the next day’s function in the college and he not wanting me to do so-which would result in him hanging up rudely, I used to stay awake wondering if he would be alive the next day or would he have done something that would make me regret for my lifetime. I would even go to the extent of wondering how much of shame I would be causing to my parents because of all the police intervention that would naturally follow a suicide. The torment I endured until the next day when I receive a message or call from him is inexplicable and its something that I wouldn’t want to endure again in my life.

Slowly his suicidal threats became more and more unpredictable and were starting to seem desperate with him wanting to commit suicide for every dime and reason, and his verbal abuses were also becoming more and more intolerable! That’s when I decided to throw caution to the winds and decided to break off from that relationship which by then had completely drained me off my energy!

But he had stood true to his words and killed himself but not without garnering enough attention! The days before his death he made himself look very sad with unshaven beard and tonsured head so that the world would believe his pathetic stories after he died. He sent e mails and letters to my family, his friends and my friends(Practically to everyone I ever knew!!!)the day before he actually died. His death added credibility to the lies in this letters. He made it look like I tortured him! He made people believe that I was responsible for everything. And naturally people believed him! I was made to assume the stature of outcast overnight!
It was then I realized that the world would rather believe the lies of the dead than the loud cries of the alive! How long would it have taken for me to end my life with another similar letter expressing the tortures I had to endure because of him both before and after his death? But trust me, I never wanted to! Because I knew that I would get nothing by proving anyone wrong! And even if had managed to prove them wrong, I knew my life is worth more than just that!
What did he achieve with the attention that he garnered after his death? Yes he did turn the world against me but then that was just temporary! The world did get tired of recounting his story over and over again and it did start to take notice of my achievements soon after and people did come lining up to me to get help as and when required. The world did look up to me when I made it to the IIM and the world respects me now for who I am, for the position I hold in the society!
Yes soon after his death I did get the feeling that life was unfair to me; I was made to suffer endlessly for no fault of mine; I

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was made an outcast for no reason! But then I soon realized there was no point wallowing in self pity. Trust me friends wallowing in self pity is like getting addicted to alcohol, only that its worse! I had a tough time getting out of that state. But I did! I looked around and realized that I have been gifted with much more blessings than many others and instead of looking at what I did not have, I started looking at what I have.

This self awareness helped me lead a better life and it had helped me mature to levels unimaginable! And now looking back I am glad that I was made to endure all the suffering because that had made me a strong person I am now! And I love myself all the more for being strong and yeah for being smart:-)!
And yeah none of this would have been possible without the help of my ever loving family and close friends! I understood what it means to be loved unconditionally and I am more than glad that I got to know something that is generally taken for granted!

 

*Name changed on request

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Gender man

Was: a witness
City: Coimbatore
Perpetrator was a Stranger

Incident was : One time

Reaction : Helpless/Passively endured
Was wearing Chudithar/Salwar Kameez with dupatta

Experience:
I was walking with a female friend of mine and a guy just casually rubbed his hand against her butt – it looked intentional. I looked back at him, he smiled and walked away. I thought my friend probably didn’t notice, but I couldn’t let it go. I asked her about it she brushed it off with a “let it go, it happens everyday”.

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