My age: 13 years
My mother and I were returning back from library and it had become dark but the time was just 7o’clock in the evening. As we were walking down the road, I heard a group of buys singing loudly ‘Jaadu teri nazar, kusbhoo tera badan’. I turned around to see a raucous group of boys singing suggestively and waving at us. I was appalled. It was the first time I had faced eve-teasing and I didn’t know what to do. We just walked fast and caught an auto to home. Later I pondered if my dress had been too tight or suggestive, but the salwar that I had worn was a loose fitting one. I didn’t realize at the time that some men don’t need instigation to act heinously against women.
My age: 14 years
I was travelling in a private bus to my hometown. As a child I used to visit my ancestral place at least twice every month since it was just a short journey of 45 minutes.
I used to enjoy those trips and the journey in bus. But that day as I sat in the seat next to the window, I felt something near my armpit, like a light touch. I turned around to see that the guy behind me had put his hand in the small space between two seats and was trying to feel me. I was terrified but I didn’t yell or create a ruckus. I just made sure that my back didn’t touch the seat. I was feeling uncomfortable sitting like that but I was silent. I should have stood up and slapped the guy behind me, yelled at him hurling all kind of verbal abuses at him, but I didn’t. Why? I didn’t want to create a scene in the bus.
After that there had been many similar incidents when guys in the seat behind me would try to feel me by either trying to wiggle their toes or squeeze in their fingers in between the seats. To this day, I don’t particularly enjoy travelling in buses because it reminds me of those incidents.
My Age: 17 years.
I was on my Class 11 final exam study holidays and I was busy preparing for my Math exams when my father’s friend visited our house. My father had expired when I was just 4 years so I didn’t remember much about his friend.
Even though I was a young woman, the so-called friend of my dad made me sit on his lap and was talking to me. It felt awkward and embarrassing but, we let it go since he was an old, respectable man working as a lecturer in college. After a while, on the pretext of teaching me he sat beside me and, started feeling me at all the wrong places. He was in my house, sitting amidst my family and he had the audacity to act lecherous with me. Even then I was silent; actually I was dumb-founded. He was my dad’s best friend. How could he act like that with me? Something instantly broke within me; I couldn’t put a finger on that feeling. Anyway my brother realized what was happening and kicked out the old man from our house.
Later I realized that I had lost trust in men. Apart from the men in my immediate family, I didn’t trust anyone. I saw everyone with my dark tinted suspicious eyes and I believed that all men had some hidden intentions and I swore never to let a man come close to me.
My Age: 26 years
I used to come home from work around 8 o’clock, catching the local bus to home. One day as I got down, I saw a man on bike and he was busy staring at me. Around this age I had got rebellious. I had had enough of being “man-handled” and I stared back indignantly. I walked past him and felt a bit happy at out-staring him. As I walked to my home, the same guy came towards me in the opposite direction and touched my breast with his hand outstretched and went off. I wanted to fling my sandals at him, yell and raise my voice. I wanted to do something, anything, but I realized by that time, the ass**** had rode away.
After I reached home, I took a bath but still felt dirty. I cried and then I hated myself, for not reacting back quicker, for letting him off so easily. I wanted to kick him where it would hurt him the most, wanted to gouge his eyes out, dip him in hot scalding oil, do anything just to ease my pain of humiliation.
That’s when I realized that I had had enough of this touching, pushing, feeling business. I just couldn’t tolerate it anymore. I promised myself that the next time I faced such an incident, I wouldn’t keep silent. I would do something, even if it meant creating a ruckus or a scene, I would do it. Silence is not always golden, not when it’s considered a sign of weakness. I would stop empathizing with myself, stop feeling like a victim.
In movies when a girl is raped by the villain, there’s always the hero, or the brother or friend who comes to the rescue. But in real life, there’s no one except me, the one being raped. So it’s better to stop depending on a savior and better arm myself so that I’m equipped to defend myself.
I realized after almost 3 decades that I wasn’t to blame if such incidents happened. No matter what dress I wore, no matter what time of the day or night it is, no matter if I stare at a stranger or keep my head bowed, I will be molested. I’m not to be blamed. If anyone is to be blamed it’s that ass**** prick who thinks that his extra leg gives him an edge over his counterpart gender.
I promise to empower my daughter with knowledge, to teach her the difference between good touch, bad touch so that tomorrow if she had to face a similar situation like mine she should know that it’s ok to yell, it’s ok to hit back, it’s ok to create a ruckus but it’s just not ok to blame herself.
P.S: The above incidents are just few of the many groping incidents I faced and I’m sure that every girl has had her own share of such nightmares. I also realize that all men don’t belong to the ass**** prick category. There are many who are good, honest and kind men who respect women and I’m grateful that most men in my life belong to this type.