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Gender Female

Was: a victim
City: Street/Hyderabad
Was wearing long skirt and top
Reaction: Reacted (yelling, complaining, slapping, fighting back)
Incident was: One time

Perpetrator was a Stranger and aged 20-30

Experience:
Having lived in Hyderabad for as long as I could remember, I’ve always considered the city to be one of the safest places for women. You could hail a cab home as late as 2 AM and still get home safe without a shadow of doubt & fear! But it all changed a few days ago when I found myself in a very uncomfortable situation which thankfully got averted before things got too ugly.

A couple of days ago, I had purchased some new furniture to refurnish my apartment and made plans to meet some friends for dinner after. I got a little delayed with the carpenters assembling the furniture in my house but decided to meet my friends anyway since the restaurant was only 2 kilometers away! Before you speculate on what I was wearing, let me clarify that I was wearing a below-the-knee long dress and a blazer over it so yes, I was decently clothed.

I was standing around the corner from my house, waiting for an auto and I managed to find an empty auto over 10 minutes later. I had just gotten into the auto when a stranger who was walking by stops and makes an unwelcome gesture as if he wanted to kiss me. Women usually get teased on the roads all the time and men jeering at you is nothing new but this seemed different because he seemed to want to pull me out of the auto. I got annoyed and told him to mind his own business and leave me alone. He seemed a bit agitated at this, looked at my dress and tried to pull it at the knee. By then I had lost my temper and landed a huge slap on his face and asked the auto driver to start so I could just get away. Much to my disbelief, the auto driver didn’t react at all. He wouldn’t even turn his head and see what the fuss was all about. Noticing that I was quite helpless, the bastard grabbed my arm tried to pull me out of the auto. I lost my balance a little but still managed to stay in the auto because the street had gotten pretty silent and dark. I quickly reacted and started badgering his head with the iPhone in my hand and hit him pretty hard at least ten times. He shifted his position a bit and I assumed that he was finally pulling away from the fight but he suddenly groped me and tried his might to inflict pain. It all happened so quickly but as soon as he groped me, I realized that I could kick him and so I kicked him really hard in the gut, with all my strength. As soon as he fell back a couple of paces from the blow, I yelled at the auto driver to start and take me to the restaurant as soon as possible. All I wanted was to get away before the bastard could do anything else. The auto driver starts the vehicle, drives about 2 meters and stops again so he could get a glimpse of what this bastard was now doing. Fortunately, the asshole finally lost interest in fighting and walked away saying some horrendous things. Meanwhile, the auto driver takes his time before he starts the vehicle and finally began driving me to the restaurant. I didn’t know if he was amused or just didn’t care. I saw the bastard passing by the lane I live, into a parallel road of a different neighborhood. He seemed like a construction worker, was drunk and seemed to be carrying a parcel home.

On the way, I realized how everything happened so quickly and that the bastard left a few bruises and nail marks in my arm and my chest. Feeling devastated and hurt, I demanded the auto driver to tell why he wouldn’t help and if all he could do was just sit and not react when a girl is screaming out for help. To my horror, he replies saying, ‘I thought you knew the guy. Why else would he grab you?’. Utterly shocked, I yelled at him saying, ‘It’s not my fault some idiot tried to grab me and why else would I scream for your help if I wasn’t in need?’. He drove the rest of the kilometer in utter silence. Though I acted pretty quickly during the incident, I was frightened and called my friends to ask them to meet me downstairs when I got to the restaurant. I was shaking when I met them and couldn’t even drink a glass of water so they dropped me home so I could clean the wounds and get some sleep. It’s been two nights and I still can’t sleep in peace without the event playing in my head every time I close my eyes. I’m lucky I got away with just a few bruises. I hate how those three minutes robbed me of my sense of security for the neighborhood I stay in and the city I love.

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I realized that onlookers/ strangers might not even bother to react or care enough to help you out. I bought myself a pepper spray can and placed an order for a stun gun online so I can carry some kind of self defense device. At a time when there is so much public anger on the lack of safety for women, I can’t help but wonder, ‘Do people not care unless something bad happens to them personally? Or are they just being insincere?’. I’m not really close with my parents or relatives so I haven’t even told them. For all I know, they’d blame me for going out in the night. But I know I’ll get over it in time with the help of my friends. I also know that I can’t and won’t let the fear cripple me and that I’m going to do whatever I can to help support campaigns against street harassment. Over & Out.2616510-Autorickshaw_India

7 Comments

Gender Female

Was: a victim
City: House/Hyderabad
Was wearing school uniform
Reaction: Helpless, Passively Endured
Incident was: One time

Perpetrator was a Neighbouimagesr and aged 40-50

Experience:
I was 12 or younger- I was walking down the street near my house in the afternoon. It was a sleepy residential area, considered very safe, when a guy started stalking me. I did not know it at the time and hence was oblivious. I felt someone staring at me and when I turned back, he was across the road, he had removed his penis out and was leering at me. I was brought up in such a conservative family that there were no talks ever about anything related to guys or sex or anything. In fact, at the time, I was so clueless, it took me a while to realize that was his penis. I was more scared of the expression on his face- he had an ugly look of hunger. I got very frightened and ran away from there. I brushed it off as one brushes off seeing a mad person on the road.

The next time was when I was in eighth class and returned from school earlier than usual. I was supposed to pick up my keys and my snack box for my tuition from my neighbor- this was a regular thing in case my mother had to go out. When I when to the neighbor’s house, I got to know that

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he was the only one home and as soon as I had my back turned to him, he grabbed me from behind and groped me. I was stunned and could not move for some time. Then I mumbled that my mom will be coming now and fought and pushed him away and ran…

I was always told not to trust strangers/ wear traditional clothes etc. and hence was very very guilty after this. I remember nothing but guilt, not even hatred for him. I did not wish that he should not have done it- I only wished that I wasn’t trusting- because, as far as I knew, we are supposed to be very careful or else…

I know now that I was not at fault, except when I could have shouted out, told people about it. But I was never taught that it was okay to talk about this. Even when my mother taught me basic hygiene, it was with a rightly expression of disgust- it was not in our culture to question/talk about any of this… forget any education about how to address all the sexual energy.
I hope something changes with initiatives like this.
There were many more incidents other than the above two. Enough of those happened in public transport that I think it is as safe as walking through a red light area at midnight- although it is a myth that most sexual assaults happen at night. Or to scantily clad rebellious girls.

*-Name changed on request

No Comments

Gender woman

Was: a witness
City: Hyderabad
Was wearing Chudithar/Salwar Kameez with dupatta
Reaction: Moved away silently

Incident was : Recurring

Perpetrator was a Friend or acquaintance and aged Less than 20

Experience:
This is not just a passing moment but a tortuous one year ordeal of a young girl about 13-14 years.

The beautiful girl that I am talking about was in her 11th standard when she was stalked by a male senior student from her college (He was infact just one among the lot she had to face every day at college). Inspite of the girl’s indifference towards him, he persistently talked to her and eventually expressed his interest in her. Not withstanding rejection he then threatened to harm her else to harm himself.

Through all this the girl could do nothing but be scared and pray that she does not have to face any awkward situation. This said the girl could not even express her anguish to her parents as they reprimanded her when they sensed the attention their beautiful daughter received ( no mistake of hers).

fortunately, the girl did not get to see a bad day, however the lone battle was very difficult for her especially at such a young age. Today as i read through ibreakmysilence.org i see many similar stories. And I believe that this is a result of society’s attitude (including

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parents) towards a victim in sexual harassment cases. Most people even today see the victim rather than the perpetrator as the cause of the mishap (as we hear people blame it on woman’s clothes else her socializing nature etc.,.). From all this I just want to say that if we let go of this attitude, no woman would be ashamed or hesitant to share her stories and would garner strength to fight back and avoid domestic violence at the least!

jeans-banned-at-indian-school-over-eve-teasing-1355159778-4431

No Comments

Gender woman

Was: a victim
City: Hyderabad
Was wearing school uniform
Reaction: Helpless, Passively Endured

Incident was : One time

Perpetrator was a Stranger and aged 20-30

Experience:
I was 10 years old when I was cornered by a stranger in

the lift in my building. I did not shout. I didn’t even ask him to stop. I didn’t know that I could. All I knew was that I hated what was happening and I did not know what to do to make it stop.

I went home and scrubbed myself for 3 hours, hoping that that would somehow undo whatever happened. I did not use the lift for 6 months after the incident. I don’t even remember what exactly happened. All I remember is the feeling of helplessness. And disgust.uniform

No Comments

Gender woman

Was: a victim
City: Hyderabad
Was wearing picSalwar Kameez/Chudithar (without Dupatta)
Reaction: Reacted (yelling, complaining, slapping, fighting back)

Incident was : One time

Perpetrator was a Stranger and aged 20-30

Experience:
Almost a year ago, one afternoon, I was walking down a pretty big main road in Banjara Hills. Now if you have lived in Hyderabad or visited, you will think that this area is far from being shady or rowdy. Some goon on a motor bike saw me from the other side of the road and hooted. I glared at him and continued walking. I was walking against the traffic.

He turned around, driving opposite to the traffic, quickly groped me and sped away. All this happened in a matter of seconds. Another man walking in the opposite direction saw this guy coming, saw the entire episode. As I riled up, pulled by chappal out to retaliate, and hurled abuses, the guy on the motor bike leered and was soon out of reach.

My eyes met with the other man’s on the road who saw the entire thing. He did not react in any way. Not a flicker on his face. Weirdly, *I* was embarrassed after our eyes met. For a few

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days, I thought hard about this feeling and the entire incident. (btw, for the curious mind) I was wearing a salwar-kameez (not like THAT should matter).

Would the man have walked away without any reaction had I tripped and fell? Isn’t this incident a great violation of privacy, a bigger pain than a physical bruise? How can someone be so callous?

I was embarrassed that he probably saw me with a glimmer of ‘you brought it on yourself’. I pitied him for that.

It all starts with *indifference*. Perhaps, to an extent it is protecting yourself from any harm (like a fight with the perpetrator). As long as we don’t stand against such

incidents that occur, even to strangers, we will never move forward as a society.

People are indifferent when there is an ambulance on the road, they would rather race beside it, using the area it clears up, than halt. There is a thin line between being selfish and being inhumane. See it.

1 Comment

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.  The reason I want to highlight my mum’s experience is to emphasize that no woman in India  feels 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  they were standing throughout the journey.  A youngish chap decided to act fresh and push and graze and brush from behind. My firebrand father noticed it and  gave 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

Woman, Victim

It happened in a Playground/Hyderabad

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Victim was wearing a School Uniform and was Helpless, Passively Endured

Incident was : One time

Perpetrator was a Neighbour, in the age group of 30-40

I was in my 7th standard. This army guy was a neighbor. Brother and I played with him after school everyday. And sometimes, I would go and play alone too. His family was away. And one day, he joked about something. He just held me..Like you rotate kids in the air holding their arms. He did the same. After a bit, he felt my chest part and held me too tight which was when I felt extremely uncomfortable. I knew something was wrong about that, and I was uncomfortable and scared about sharing with my mom. I never really told anyone. But I kind of hated that guy after that day. And never went his place again. I knew something was wrong, but was too young and ignorant. Didn’t know what it was. Kids should be taught that they shouldn’t be touched in their private parts in a wrong way.

* – Name changed on request

 

1 Comment

Gender man

Was: a victim
City: Hyderabad
Perpetrator was a Stranger

Incident was : One time

Reaction : Helpless/ Passively endured
Was wearing school uniform

Experience:
Once when I was a kid of maybe ten years of age, I hitched a ride behind a man on a scooter because the bus was taking too long. I never took a lift from anyone before but that day I had some plans with friends so I thought I should get home faster.
It was a big mistake, because not 5 minutes into the ride he started asking me some very personal questions and made me very uncomfortable. I knew enough to know that what he was asking was abnormal; he tried passing it off saying he’s a famous sexologist (I didn’t even know what that was) and tried molesting me reaching one hand around to the back and controlling the vehicle with the other. I was struggling and tried moving far back but couldn’t as it was a scooter and I was afraid of falling too. So I couldn’t escape his clutching fingers.
He then went on to say “Oh I forgot a file back home, do you mind coming back with me and getting it?” I said “No, I’m getting late, please let me down here and I will go”. He dropped me off and went away. I shudder to think what would have happened if I’d have gone where he wanted to go.

1 Comment