Harassment is a huge issue in many metropolitan cities of India. A large percentage of Indian women have faced or are facing this menace. Whether it’s while you’re in public transport system or public places or shopping malls or multiplexes, women find themselves vulnerable to the threat of harassment everywhere. It is a complex problem, and requires more attention that what it has actually got.
This new year, I was in Kochi, Kerala and I got to know that if one wants to enjoy, they should go to the Fort Kochi New Year Eve festival. As this was my first time, I thought I should visit the place and see why everyone was going there. One of our friends was staying in Kochi with his wife, so he and his other friends decided to take me out for a New Year party. We were eight people (6 boys and 2 Girls) which included two married couples. I was told that the place will be crowded and that I should be careful. I said it was completely fine, and asked them not to worry. But I think, when you talk about crowds in India it’s not just about the number of people; it’s about the number of hands that can touch you at any point in time.
We were entering Fort Kochi, and the place was too crowded, and we had reached there around 12.00 am. I was shocked to see that a guy while coming out, just touched one of the girls in our group and pressed her butt. I was so angry that time that I shouted on that guy and tried to hold him up, but because it was really crowded, he managed to run from that place. That whole night I was wondering If I could have done something, but I had been unable to, because of the crowd.
The question that I want to ask on this platform is, why does a crowd in India mean that instances of harassment will happen? Do women not have the right to go and enjoy different occasions? And why do guys think they can do anything in a crowd?
As many women will be marching on Jan 21 to reclaim public spaces, I would like to say that I will make sure that you go out wherever you want to.