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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 man

Was: a witness
City: Society/Gurgaon
Was wearing Long Skirt and top
Reaction: Reacted (yelling, complaining, slapping, fighting back)

Perpetrator was a Neighbour and aged 20-30

Incident was : One time

Experience:
This happened to a close friend of mine, in 2010 when she was around 21 years old. I am going to narrate this in first person, as she had told to me. I think it will have a better effect.

To take a break from stress, I had gone with two long-time close male friends whom I and my family trusted, to a regular pub. After some drinks I had become unexpectedly drowsy. We were about to leave, and were approached by a guy whom I just knew from my neighbourhood. He’d asked me out once but nothing had come off it and we weren’t friends or anything. This man claimed to be my friend from my society and offered to drop me home. I was too drowsy at the time to confirm or deny, and my friends, with a few drinks in themselves, thought it to be convenient and so loaded me into his car and let me go.
I was in a totally dazed state at the time and had only fleeting glimpses of where I was and what was going on. We entered my society, and he led me up the building. But after we entered the apartment it turned out it wasn’t my home; it was his. I was totally confused at the time and was asking where my home was. He didn’t even bother asking me or explaining his intentions to me. He lay me down, undressed me and himself, and only when he was just about to enter me, God knows what force took over me but I reacted and pushed him off with my legs violently. This convulsion finally forced me back to some degree of consciousness, and struck some fear in him. I figured out what was going on, screamed at him, pulled my stuff back together and ran out of there and got back home.

At home I broke down completely and after a long time was able to relay the events to my mother. But I just didn’t have the heart to tell anything to my father. After recovering a bit by the next day, I confronted the man who tried to rape me, and he pretended total innocence, claiming that I was in by consent, and asked me to forget the whole thing and move on!

When I told my friends (who were supposed to look after me) about the events, they first defended themselves without even bothering to understand what I’d just been through! I don’t even remember what I had said to them in my drowsiness, but according to them it was enough to completely trust a stranger with me! They shifted the blame to me, saying I should have told them properly. How the hell could I have, in the state I was in?? I had gone WITH them specifically so they could step in and PROTECT me in case I can’t protect myself. Oh, and the best defense all three of these men had for themselves: “It’s not my fault, I was drunk, not completely in my senses.”

It was a very long time, several weeks of crying and questioning before my friend was able to move on to some degree of normalcy. She didn’t have the ability to approach the police and risk all that exposure (especially a place like Gurgaon!). So that bastard got away and who knows, he might have repeated it again with other women also by now. Heck, she couldn’t even tell her dad or siblings. Her own childhood friends had abandoned her and then shrugged off all responsibility. Anything could have happened to her that night. It was sheer luck that it happened in her own housing colony that she was able to run back to her home on foot. Many others in her place have not been so lucky. For a long time after this she would keep asking me if there was something wrong with her, if really somehow she was to blame for what happened, and if not then why does the world act like it?

I was very disturbed on hearing this. I had just moved to another city and could do nothing except be a listener and consoler. We could not bring any attention to the matter – her father was NOT to know. The attacker is at best, another regular young male just like me. When with my buddies we regularly fantasized and joked about one-night stands, “if only I could get some chick drunk enough so I can bang her”. The same thoughts must have run through that guy and without caring about her consent, he jumped at the opportunity. But upon seeing this from my friend’s perspective, and listening and feeling how it feels to be on the receiving end, I was just shaken completely and left questioning my manhood, my ego, everything that made me proud of myself as a man. What if I or one of

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my friends ends up doing something like this?

I think the best way to prevent something like this from happening with others, is to share the story and shame other men for the attitude we have towards women. I’m doing this for her and for everyone who has or will be through such an experience, and for everyone who’s ever thought of doing something like this to a woman. I know I have. Thank you for creating a space for this.

*-Name changed on requestimages

2 Comments

whosays-picGender woman

Was: a victim
City: House/College/Office
Was wearing Long Skirt and top
Reaction: Moved away silently

Perpetrator was a Friend or acquaintance and aged 20-30

Incident was : multiple times

Experience:
I had 4-5 experiences which had made me feel uncomfortable.

First incident was when I was attending math tuitions in my 9th grade. The math teacher(who was atleast 65) was touching my neck and slowly trying to move his hands downward. I pushed away his hands. My mom happened to see this when she had come to pick me up. But I continued the math tuitions which I shouldn’t have. He did not repeat it after that, though. I still feel I should have slapped him tight.

Second incident: I was alone at home and the contractor who constructed our home came to see something. I was standing and reading something.He came and groped my back. I quickly ran away and called my parents. I stayed downstairs and outside the hose till he left. My grandmother came from my cousin’s house and questioned him. I believe he was embarassed.

Third incident: It was in my office. One of my friends came and talked to me when I was in the early morning shift. No one else were in the cubicles nearby. While talking he came and kept his hand on my thighs and tried to push it up. I moved away from that spot. Somehow I did not tell him then and there. I pinged him the official messenger and told him I am not comfortable with whatever he was doing. He made some excuse and said he was trying to teach me something and bla bla bla. Today I feel I should have complained to the hr. The same guy used to ping me in messenger and talk to me about bra and stuff. I called him a pervert and blocked him in messenger.

Fourth incident: I was climbing the college stairs and one of my classmates came and groped my hips. There was no one else near by. I moved away and messaged him that I am not comfortable with gents touching me in any way. He apologized by texting.

Fifth incident:There was some email wars going on and one of the guys called me something bad. I told him that it is his girlfriend. He got pissed off and wrote 20 emails with lot of abusive stuff like I will do anything for money, sleep with your brother and a lot other things which I can’t even write here. I asked him to fuck off. I should have forwarded it to the college dean. Alas! it is too late.

I did not react or escalate these sexual/verbal abuses in all these cases above. Today I regret and believe that I should have reacted in a much better way.

1 Comment

Gender woman

Was: a victim
City: Uncle’s house/ Dubai
Was wearing Long Skirt and top
Reaction: Moved away silently

Incident was : One time

Perpetrator was a Stranger and aged 40-50

Experience:
I have never really talked about this incident much because it was always something which I wanted to forget. But I guess the Delhi victim’s case has affected me a lot…I don’t want any girl, or boy for that matter, to face hell like she did.

I was 10 or maybe 11…I don’t really remember what I was wearing exactly, most probably a long skirt and top, but I guess it is irrelevant here anyways. I was staying over at one of my uncle’s place where I always spent a few days whenever I had holidays. My uncle, aunt, my cousins and me were watching a movie. They had a painter working in their bedroom repainting the walls. I had seen the movie before and hence soon got bored. I have always enjoyed watching people at work, be it carpenters, painters etc….love to watch them transform things into beauty. That day was no different. I quietly slipped off to the bedroom to watch that ‘painter uncle’ work. I watched him for sometime and we talked I guess a bit while he was working. After sometime he came over to where I was standing, and told me that he had a daughter just like me and that he missed her. Saying this he lightly touched my cheek and a moment later, my back. I instantly knew that something was wrong and left the bedroom quickly and slipped back silently to the hall. I didn’t tell my aunt anything because I was mortified and also because I was scared that I might be told off. However, a few days later, I did mention this incident to my mom while she was getting me ready for school. I remember trying to be very casual while saying it but I was sure Amma could hear the thinly veiled pain in my voice. I could also hear the fear in her voice when she asked me if he did or say anything else to me. The relief in her voice after hearing my negative answer was evident, even to my young mind. She asked me to tell her without any delay about any such instances in the future and obviously never to go off wandering alone. Even though this incident was never again mentioned in my presence, I did overhear my mom talking to my aunt over the phone, asking about the painter’s details but they couldn’t locate him.

This was my first instance of being a victim. There have been many more especially during  the period when I did my degree in India…most happened whilst travelling. Sadly, I never reacted angrily in the first couple, but later, after talking to my friends I realized that even angry glares helped to stop this humiliating experience.

I want India to be safe for women. I have spent most of my life outside India..the few years I have spent there had been great but have been scarred by instances like this…I want to turn my dream of a safe India into reality..and would be even more happier if I saw it happen in my lifetime…..

In memory of Jyoti, in memory of the cruelty she was subjected to, in memory of the life she might have had….let us join together to start the end of this social evil…..let’s stand united against sexual abuse…..let’s react…let’s break the silence…finally!

 

brush

Share your experience with us and the world! You will be helping others who went through something similar; and you will show the world what it really feels like! We will knock some sense into people, one person at a time.

Break your silence at http://ibreakmysilence.org/tell-your-story/ or you can also call us at 07696078820 to talk to us.

1 Comment

Gender woman

Was: a victim
City: Local train/Mumbai
Was wearing Long Skirt and top
Reaction: Helpless, Passively Endured

Incident was : One time

Perpetrator was a Stranger and aged 20-30

Experience:
Victim, female, Mumbai, local train on the Harbour line around 6 pm.

Disclaimer : I honestly have no recollection of what I was wearing. My ten-year-old existence didn’t pay much attention to clothes, anyway. And I also have no idea how old the perpetrators were.

Mom, Dad and I were returning home, to Vashi, after meeting family friends in the city. During the onward journey, Mom had shepherded me into the jam-packed ladies’ compartment of the train, and Dad had squeezed into the general compartment. I was bewildered by the crowds, but it was a great adventure! I love train journeys, and the few trips to the city were special treats. Since we were returning at an off-peak hour, and we boarded the nearly-empty train at the starting point Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mom and Dad decided to travel together, with their super-excited daughter. Remember what people say about the simple pleasures of life?

I had a window seat, and the train ride was perfect. Up until Wadala Road. That’s when a sea of people swarmed in, and suddenly every inch of space in the train was occupied by people pressing against each other. The transformation was instant, and I could sense the change in my parents’ mood immediately – mom gripping my hand a little tighter, dad telling me to keep close to them when we had to disembark. For which there was still quite a bit of time, but we were already preparing for it. I think I remember Dad making a hopeful remark about some of the crowd leaving the train at Mankhurd, which arrived before our stop. Unfortunately, we had no such luck.

In the few moments that we navigated through the thick crowd, despite having two people doing their very best to protect me, I was groped by two people. One trying to squeeze my non-existent breasts, and one putting his hands between my inner thighs. I know these were two different people because they happened at different points in that short route, and we were the only ones who were moving. And yes, I am sure they were not “accidental brushes unavoidable in crowds”. It’s true what they say about “good touch, bad touch.” Even a naive ten-year-old knows the difference. Both times, I looked up, trying to figure out whose hand it was, but I couldn’t. It was insanely crowded, we were making our way towards the exit, and maybe at some level, I wasn’t even trying too hard. For one thing, I had no idea how to react, and for another, I was desperate to escape.

I have a vague memory of mentioning something about the crowd to my Mom– after many days spent thinking more seriously than I ever had, and feeling dirty. Looking back, I think if I had shouted or cried loudly when the first instance occurred, or in some way alerted my parents to what was happening, I might have been spared the second instance of groping. I have no doubt that they would not hesitate even momentarily before taking on a possible villain, or even the entire faceless crowd. But I was a shy and quiet kid, and my natural reaction had been silent shock.

Eventually, I mastered different techniques of evasion. Mumbai, and later, Bangalore, gave me lots of opportunities to practise my skills. Nimble side-stepping. Using elbows to ward off “unpleasantness”. Wearing a “busy” and “no-nonsense” look. Using my backpack as a protective layer. Never, ever letting my guard down.

I don’t think there’s anything remarkable about my story. It’s an ordinary story that involves a couple of random perverts and a defenseless kid. But it was my first time, and, to quote

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1 Comment

4167512864Was: a witness
City: Madurai

Victim was wearing Long Skirt and top

Incident was : One time

Reaction : Moved away silently
Perpetrator was a stranger, in the age group of 20-30

Experience:
My sister and I returned home in the night at around 8. My mom asked her to buy some things from the nearby shop. Our house is located at the outskirts of the city. So the area was not well developed: No proper street lights were there. My sister returned crying and shocked. We asked her what happened, she kept on crying. Then she told us that a guy followed her on a bike and reached out for her neck and she didn’t know how to react, so she sped up the bike and came home. Immediately, my dad left home to check who that was, but that idiot wasn’t there. It took days for us to make her come out of her shock. One cannot wait for the police to be on the prowl at every street corner all the time awaiting acts of eve teasing, the sad fact is that not many eve teasers are brought to book.The police see through the seemingly innocent pleas of an eve teaser and take stern action against these shameless offenders, but that is only when the matter comes to their notice or eve teasers are brought to them by public action.The sense of shame will ensure that they never turn to such a thing again and further this will serve

as a severe warning for others who even think of indulging in it.

1 Comment