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Blog Archives

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.

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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: 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! 🙂

 

6 Comments

Gender Male

Was: a victim
City: Train
Was wearing shorts and shirt
Reaction: Moved away silently
Incident was: One time

Perpetrator was a Stranger and aged 30-40

Experience:
Just a brief about myself first…as a kid..I have always been shy type..I have been totally unaware of things or topics related to sex till quite a long time..and anything related to sex (scenes in english movies..or even rape scenes in hindi movies..which at that time were quite prominent)were considered quite inappropriate and made my parents change the channel ASAP!

Anyways…about the incident..Its been a long time…I was most probably going to Delhi with my dad (he had some medical check up)…and I must be around 10 or 11 years old..It was day time and I was sleeping on lower berth. There was this another uncle who most probably boarded the train from same station (as he has been sitting with us for a long time and had seat in same compartment), he also lied down on the seat as there was plenty of space there. Before that he had asked my dad to go and rest on top berth as he was not well that time. After some time I felt a hand on my thighs and slowly he was groping me. I was not aware of whats going on…as mentioned…I had no idea of all these things! So I kept my eyes closed as if I was sleeping (dont know why I did that!) and maybe that encouraged him and he tried sliding his hand up in my shorts. Luckily, the shorts were a bit tight maybe and he could not succeed in what he was trying.

All this time even when I had no idea of whats going on..I was a bit uncomfortable and after some time I acted as if I was waking up and he instantly removed his hand!

This incident was long lost in my memory and I somehow recalled it while reading the posts here. Luckily for me, this incident didnt traumatize me much and I later almosst forgot about it. Maybe the reason it didnt have much impact on me was my ignorance. Had I known that I was being abused at that time…or had I known what abuse is..then maybe this incident would have scarred me for life! I would say ignorance did protect me! But, having said that..somehow I still remember this incident and some parts are still crisp clear in my memory! Maybe, if I was not that ignorant kid, I would have shouted or screamed..or maybe would have just woken up..and that would have avoided this incident!

In our society, sex education to their children is something  which makes lot of parents feel awkward…but even if some parents do have “the talk” it is when the kid is grown up (and mostly knows a lot thanks to friends, etc.). I feel if the foundation of this topic is laid at a very early age and open communication is maintained..maybe a lot of such incidents could be avoided!Metro-North_train_1567_enters_Stamford

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Gender Male

Was: a witness

City: Chennai

Was wearing I don’t remember
Reaction: Helpless, Passively Endured

Incident was: One time

Perpetrator was a Friend or acquaintance and aged Less than 20

Experience:
I was in my 10th Standard and was returning from some classes in Ashok Nagar with a few of my classmates. We were three in the cycle in which we were riding. I was in the front, another classmate was riding the bike and a third one was in the back.
A few college girls were passing by and the guy sitting in the back started passing some comments on the girls. I was annoyed by his behaviour and got down from the cycle and started walking my way back when suddenly the other 2 guys turned around the cycle to

the direction in which the girls were going and started riding fast. When they got closer the bastards slapped the back of one of the girls and fled.
It was such a disgusting feeling as I had a sister back home who would have been as uncomfortable with such an incident.
I met those guys again the next day and gave them a lot of gyan on why they should not have done it …blah blah… but it never really sunk into their head…
For some weird reason I never severed relationship with these perverts until the early stages of my career and today looking at what they have done to their co-workers, family or others around I wish I realised that perverts should be made outcast as early as possible and not be allowed to mingle with the society.

My lesson from this is that if any of us find people around us who do not fit our moral values better stay away from them as they hardly change… I may be wrong and some may really change but I’ve not known anyone who has been a pervert in School days but changed later to be a

responsible and moral citizen.FINE ART PRINTS, CHILDREN

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Gender Female

Was: a victim
City: Pondicherry
Was wearing chudithar/salwar kameez with dupatta
Reaction: Helpless, Passively Endured
Incident was: One time
IMG_8854
Perpetrator was a Stranger and aged 30-40

Experience:
This is an unforgettable incident because it happened on my birthday. I was on my way back from Chennai to Pondicherry that Sunday evening. It was around 9:30 PM. Really glad that i had bumped into my roommate on the way back from bus stop to the hostel, i was walking along with her discussing how my day had been. On the way towards the hostel, in the middle of a residential colony, a guy in a cycle came in my direction, groped me and whizzed past before either my roommate or i realised what just happened. Never had i felt so powerless, never so humiliated. I was wearing a traditional chudidhar with dupatta pinned on both sides. I was walking in a safe residential colony. I was not alone. This was not supposed to happen under such circumstances. And yet, there i was, watching the bastard cycle away into the dark, not knowing how to get back at him.

That was the day i truly realised that no matter how modestly i dressed, there are always men who would continue to stare below my neckline, who would continue to grope me in public. All the stigma attached to “modern clothes” was just rubbish.

No Comments

Gender Male

Was: a victim
City: Main road in Chennai
Was wearing school uniform
Reaction: Helpless, Passively Endured
Incident was: One time

Perpetrator was a Stranger and aged 40-50

Experience:
What could possibly go wrong by just accepting a ride back home from school?

The incident happened when I was in high school (standard XI).  I was walking home from school when an old(ish) man with grey hair and riding a motorcycle, stopped and offered me a ride till the bus stop at the end of the road. I figured I was lucky that day since I had never got an offer from any stranger before, and I was in a hurry back home anyway; I accepted the ride. Halfway towards the bus stop, he asked me where my house was; I told him, and he replied that he is anyway going somewhere close by and he can drop me in a bus stop near my house. I agreed a second time, thinking that I was lucky after all.

However, soon after, in the middle of the road, he stuck his hand behind him, and started rubbing my genital organ. I resisted his advances, but I did not have the nerve to react or fight back. This went on for a little distance, and then he took my hand in front of him & forced me to rub his organ. I resisted a bit more, at which point he threatened me saying, “Don’t act like a good boy. I know what you do when you boys are alone.” (By the way, he spoke fluent English.) I was initially too stunned at that comment to react; slowly I mustered my courage and forced him to stop by threatening him that I will try to get the attention of a traffic cop standing nearby.

I got down immediately after he stopped the vehicle, but he didn’t let me go completely. He caught my hand, forced it up on his genitalia and asked me to squeeze it for him. “One hard squeeze, and I will let you go.” I was just thinking of getting out of there asap, so I first obeyed him instinctively. But he was not satisfied with my squeeze, asking me to tighten my grip more & more. When I couldn’t take it anymore after a stage, I just loosened my grip and repeated my warning that I will call for attention unless he lets me go. He relented finally, and I walked away.

Aftermath: I was quite shocked for a few days after the incident. Fortunately, however, the incident was rather brief, and it did not leave any long-term or disastrous impact on me. I do think about it from time to time, feeling embarrassed by my helplessness in that situation. Finally, this incident remained a complete secret for about seven years, until I told my friend last year. I did not know how to bring it up with my parents, friends, or teachers.Photo-on-2-22-13-at-6.26-PM

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Gender Female

Was: a victim
City: School van/Mumbai
Was wearing school uniform
Reaction: Helpless, Passively Endured
Incident was: One time

Perpetrator was a Friend or acquaintance and aged 20-30

Experience:
There were two incidents that happened at different times in the school van, by two different perpetrators. I was about 15 years old when this happened.

The first one was a school kid, a boy who was a year younger than me and studying in the lower class. He would sit next to me in the school van, and tried to stroke me on the back and sides and behaved as if nothing happened whenever I gave him a glare. He continued doing this for a couple of days, until I cried out angrily in front of everyone to stop it. He behaved as if he had no clue what I was talking about, but fortunately didn’t touch me again.

The other incident involved the man (we called him uncle) who drove the van. On the way back home, there was a time when all the other girls had already been dropped off, and I was the only girl remaining in the van with other school boys. I don’t remember how it all started,  but the van uncle was making lewd remarks about a girl’s private parts and all the school boys were enjoying it and laughing over it. Knowing that I was the only girl around, I could understand that it was aimed at harassing me, but I didn’t know how to react as even my school “friends” were joining in the abuse by laughing at it. Although, this was a case of only verbal abuse, it left a much deeper scar on my psyche than the former one or any other incidents of abuse because I couldn’t retaliate or talk to anyone about it at that age. Moreover, it was done by someone my family trusted my transportation to.
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It is very important for girls and women to retaliate and talk freely about such incidents, and to produce an environment where they feel free to do so. It is also necessary to educate school kids, both girls and boys, on how to react to such situations, when they themselves or a friend is being threatened.

*-Name changed on request

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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

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