This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

I Was Molested At A Mumbai Railway Station, And Here’s My Story Of Anger And Guilt

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Submitted Anonymously:

Picture this: Railway station, one in the afternoon. A suburb of Mumbai. Girl rushing to a birthday party, realises she doesn’t have the balance on her “Smart Card” to get a ticket. Gets a ticket, then, seeing as she’s going to be late anyway, stands in line to recharge the damn plastic rectangle. There are only two people in line, she reasons. She’ll just catch whatever train.

woman molestation
Photo Credit

A man stands behind her, a couple just behind him.

Here’s where things get weird.

The man behind her stands really, really, really close. Keeps bumping into the girl. Girl says ‘Excuse me, please don’t touch,’ in three different languages (who knows who speaks what language in polyglot Mumbai), moves twice or thrice herself. Finally, she pushes him with her elbow.

Then the couple notice something is very wrong. For one, the guy’s fly is open. For another, he’s intent on grinding up against the girl. For a third, the girl is clearly trying to avoid him.

The guy in the couple (let’s call him A) grabs hold of the man (let’s call him Umbridge) and the girl of the couple (B) grabs me and drags me to the RPF on the nearest platform. The RPF officer comes with us and we reach the spot just as the crowd starts laying on the attacker.

We take Umbridge to the railway station chowki to find that we can’t register a complaint here. We go to the main police station in town.

(By then, the birthday party was pretty much just a distant daydream.)

A and B come with me in one auto, Umbridge and one male and one female cop in another. We reach the station (no, the police didn’t pay for the auto). The guy starts whining and cringing, forgive me, I didn’t do anything, first time I did this… no juice.

We take him inside, to the front office, there’s a lady cop waiting for us. She takes down my name and details, and asks me if I want to file a complaint. A and B are willing to sign along, but then she cautions us in Marathi – don’t file if you don’t intend to chase it. The guy will simply get off on bail otherwise, and you won’t be able to do anything about it.

Practical advice. We reconsider. But I’m angry and upset. I want to see him punished. I say so to her. Her face literally brightens. She says, come with me.

She takes Umbridge and we follow, to an upstairs room which looks like a large common room. Some odds and ends of furniture (a wooden bench, a few plastic chairs, a shelf, two Godrej cupboards and some hooks on the wall) are there, as well as a doorway into another room, where we can see some cops drinking chai. The room has a small window. No curtains, but it has some very aesthetically pleasing bars.

She calls in a male officer, asks him – where’s the belt? He looks confused. A and B are standing behind me, looking worried. The male officer then says, never mind. Let’s start.

Apparently, the whole station knows about my case. Bizarre.

The officer starts slapping Umbridge, hard. On both sides of his face, on his back. He then moves on to kicking him and saying, ladki ko aisa karta hai? The guy has the guts to say, ghar pe maa hai, maaf kar do. This enrages the male cop more. He kicks the guy in the groin a few times – when Umbridge finally bursts into tears.

We go back to the front office, where they now take down his details. Finally, the unfindable belt is found, and we go back up – now they make him kneel, hands in the air, and start hitting him on his palms. After every few strikes, the policewoman asks him to slap his hands on the concrete floor.

A and B, who’ve been anxiously following this entire process, now look utterly shell-shocked. Umbridge’s face is bright red and sweaty, while both the police officers are looking hard and self-satisfied. And I? I feel nothing. I’m just watching them hit this man.

After a bit, they start hitting the soles of his feet. Again, after every few strikes, they make him jump up and down, as hard as he can. Umbridge by now keeps trying to retreat into any corner he can find. The room seems danker, and for some reason, I feel brutal and guilty – is it indeed because of me that this man is being beaten?

This goes on for some more time. By the end of it, the man is sweating profusely, and crying – weeping is a better word – his face is red, his nose is running and his hands are shaky. He can’t stand up, but they make him do it anyway and we troop back into the front office.

Finally, I file an FIR – though the offense is entered as “Public Nuisance”. Molestation isn’t entered on to the record. A and B also agree, no point in pushing it. It’s also obvious that the cops aren’t keeping on the paperwork, all that a formal complaint entails.

The sad puddle of snot and tears is still sitting on the floor in the room. We leave.

What next?

No one ever tells a girl what to feel after something like this happens to her. No one helps very much. One friend says oh sh*t then changes the topic. Another has selective memory apparently and doesn’t remember an hour later.

But I can’t bloody forget!

I’m depressed, upset, tired. My mother and my best friend dragged me out, took me for dinner. I went for a movie the next day. The same image pops into my mind. A balding, middle aged man, wearing a tee shirt and jeans, standing in line behind me at the station.

I keep feeling I could have avoided it. Why did I need to put money on my card anyway? I already had a ticket.

Is this survivor’s guilt? I don’t think so. I think this is a result of how I’ve been conditioned to think of myself since I was a kid – with confidence, but also in a shrinking manner. Oh, me? No, not a big deal, really. Don’t trouble yourself.

And I also keep wondering, was it me? My clothes? My demeanour? But what me? I was wearing a full sleeved tee shirt, dark pants and floaters which I’d bought with my mum at Bata. Comfortable. I simply wore them because I had a train ride ahead and wanted to nap. And what demeanour? I was standing in a line, damn it. Is there any provocative way to stand in line? I’d love to know.

Too often, people play games to blame the victim when something like this happens. It was her fault. Her clothes, the way she looks, the way she stood. The way she behaved or the fact that she drank. Or the time she was out. Tell me, does this apply to me? And what should I do, then?

And regardless of whether it was my fault or not, I still feel guilty. I feel like I’ve vindicated all the old women who told me, in whose faces I’ve always laughed, that young girls shouldn’t travel by local alone. I’d asked, and why shouldn’t I? Now I know, don’t I? They’re crowing in my head now. Smirking, saying, I told you so.

Violence against women in India is only increasing. There’s even a Wikipedia page dedicated to it, which gives us some startling statistics: the number of reported rapes has gone from 21,467 in 2008 to 24,923 in 2012. Modesty related offences (Assault with Intent to Insult Modesty and Insult to Modesty) have gone from 52627 in 2008 to 54524 in 2012, and so on.

And these are only the reported offences. As is well known, a large proportion of incidents against women in India go unreported.

You know what I thought, after looking up these statistics?

I’m glad I was only molested.

What I feel whenever another sensational rape case is reported in the news?

Thank heavens it wasn’t someone I know, or heaven forbid, me.

May God smite me for saying that! I’m sure it’s ridiculous to express an interest in God right now, but who knows? A lot of these people, the attackers and the attacked, need Him or Her right now. I am literally counting my losses. As if sexual offences tally up in the balance sheet at the end of the day.

India is facing an epidemic of attacks on women, young and old. Women, the beautiful, are being attacked by men. Beauty, at what price?

You must be to comment.
  1. Aditya Malpani

    Kudos to the couple to help the girl and the girl to pursue the thing. The molester has felt the heat for it though police should’ve put a proper case against him.
    I feel if such violence has to stop, it needs conscious effort from women to fight against the oppressor. A tougher stand will be a small step for a giant leap.

    According to me the number of reported cases do not make as much significance as the conviction means. For unreported cases, there are fake reported cases also, specially after the change in laws that made sexual offences gender biased and each false case is a slap on the face of actual victims as it distorts the perception. A proper example in this case is section 498A

  2. letmetellu

    I understand what you went through… n kudos to u for taking a stand n going to the police station to file a FIR…i loved the entire article minus the part where u said ur old aunties told u its not safe to travel in local trains alone…pls! Everyday thousands of women travel alone including me… n i hv never felt unsafe.. not even at midnight… just cos it happened once doesnt mean its nt safe.. n there’s nothing… absolutely nothing for which u shd b guilty.. n the behaviour of cops was disgusting n inhuman!

  3. Templetwins

    So this guy was trying grind you which is a crime but being too lazy to pursue the case you wanted him to be punished (tortured) which is also a crime, committed by people of authority (police), on behalf of you. Now as an outraged victim of alleged molestation you were willing to see some law broken in order to see that guy tortured in front of your eyes by police who should uphold/enforce the law. I am sure the guy who tried to grind you was not rich or powerful, just some pervert with bad social skills, if it was someone powerful from the society then perhaps the same cops would break the law in order to support the hypothetical rich guy. My point is that we need police reformation, they have to follow procedure not to act as goons on behalf of people.

  4. Gaurav

    Sorry for my bad English.
    I still don’t understand that why are/were you feeling guilty? Just because he was beaten mercilessly ? Please don’t sympathize with molesters otherwise they will repeat this damn thing again. or you were feeling guilty because proper law was not followed? If the latter is the case then also it was not your fault

  5. Ujjwal

    Well, at least being a girl gives u the right to protest. What about boys?
    I was molested in Delhi metro too. A girl brushed her arm against mine. I have all the reasons to believe that was intentional.
    Once, the metro jerkingly applied brakes, a girl took support on my abs, I ignored, but she didn’t remove her hand quickly( was she trying to feel me abs?). She didn’t even say sorry. What was that?
    I can’t even complain, as people would call me whinny or the girl would simply lie and prove me guilty of molesting her, and as always, everyone would trust the girl. Then I would be defamed in my society.

    I don’t want to talk about crimes again women anymore, because, if look for hidden issues, which I don’t have time to explain (wait for my book), u can learn that this issue is both sided.
    I can provide many disadvantages of being a boy, but we don’t don’t cry over that. We look for solutions.
    In short, we must not divide crimes against women, and those against men. We must fight against crime and assume that injustice to women brings injustice to men , too, as my book isn’t out yet.

  6. Monistaf

    I am sorry that you were molested and that your personal space and rights were violated. You did the right thing in taking him to a police station and filing a complaint. What about his rights? Yes, even though he is a man, even though he did wrong, he is still human and is entitled to basic human rights. Your rights were violated, so you took him to police station. His rights were violated and you just stood there and watched!! He does not deserve to be whipped, kicked, slapped or beaten up. He deserves his day in a court and punishment in accordance with the law. After all, you had two eye witnesses to the incident and could have easily proven your case. Even though you felt guilty, obviously it was not enough to do something about it. We cannot afford to be complicit with injustice, because as the saying goes, injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere. Imagine if the roles were reversed and a woman gets arrested for solicitation. Would we all be complicit with a police officer beating her up? We won’t tolerate any violence by law enforcement against a woman, no matter how wrong she was, we should respect the same rights for men too. When we look at the lessons from the greatest revolutions in history, we will realize that “if we do not feel their pain, it is inevitable that we will feel their anger”.

  7. Priya

    In a country where women are told 'not to go out alone after sunset' or 'the girls wearing jeans are at fault' for someone committing a crime, I think its extremely important to carry a self defense mechanism at all times. Not everyone has learnt karate and taekwondo, so carrying something like chilli/pepper spray will help. You could actually face up to the man and warn him that if he doesn't back off, you will need to act in self defense and what happens to him will be his fault after that point. If he doesn't back off after that, well too bad for him.

    Of course, you could be dragged to the same police station, but at least with a few such incidents, people will know women carry these things and they will start thinking twice before misbehaving.

    Its not a practical solution in a developed country, but in a place like India, it would work I think.

  8. Indian Boy

    Good you got him trashed instead of filing a case. We all know our law and constitution is a joke and bailable easily.
    You warned him and that was enough. Sometimes by mistake a guy can brush up against a girl unknowingly and a warning is ok for that if you feel it was done intentionally but this guy went on and on and needed to be kicked.
    I think he just touched you from behind so its not so serious and you can continue your life without feeling embarrassed. Good Luck.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Birbal Jha

By Snigdha Gupta

By Anisha Reddy

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below