How many women will raise their hands if asked if they had been harassed or ‘eve-teased’ (as the phrase goes)? The terrifying reality is that many of you reading this already know the answer to this, which is to say too many. The worst part of this? Many harassers get away scot free largely because of a culture which pressurizes women to be silent or not speak up about what has happened. Even if they do speak up, the matter is supposed to end there, with the women ‘forgiving’ their assailant.
And that’s how the vicious cycle continues, with woman after woman falling silent in face of society’s insistence to ‘let it go’. And it takes a great deal of courage to break out of this cycle, courage of the sort that Samya Gupta showed when she decided to speak about her own experience of harassment in a Facebook post:
I was sexually harassed today. Yes, harassed by man around 40 years old, while I was travelling back home in a Bus, filled with 30-35 people. While I was taking naps sitting on the second last seat of the bus, the man made inappropriate moves towards me from the seat behind me.
The moment I realized, I stood up from my seat, yelled and asked for his ID Proof, to which he obviously refused. I secured support from my co-passengers. He apologized. My co-passengers asked me to accept it, and let it go.
But I decided otherwise. I decided to not let it go. I decided to not let an audacious eve-teaser to go free merely by apologizing. And why to let it go? To allow him to make ‘apology’, a weapon, to get away? Because Eve-teasing is not that big an offence? To wait for him to convert into a rapist? Like really? EVEN A MINOR INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT TOWARDS A WOMAN WITHOUT HER CONSENT, IS ACTIONABLE.
I asked the bus driver to stop the bus on the next closest Police Station. I gained support of a couple of my Co-passengers, and I am really grateful to them.
I went to the Police Station. I gave a written complaint. The procedures I was made to abide by in the Police Station, were too not co-operative. Also, being a law student, I realized everything written in the Criminal Procedure Code is purely fictional. The accused was handed over to the Police. The FIR was lodged.
BUT. But the happenings did not really come to end. After a few distances were covered by the bus, the bus was occluded by some of accused’s acquaintances. They tried intimidating me, threatening me. Pointing on my character, they even professed that the accused is a father of two children and is therefore innocent. And even went on alleging I must be goofing around with various guys every now and then, therefore my allegations have no sense of veracity. And only because he happens to be a father of two children he shall be presumed innocent. APPLAUSE!
But, no matter what, I am and I always will be glad that I did not let it go. And every time anything of such sort happens, I will ALWAYS fight for it. Because eve-teasing is not a small offence.
P.S: DON’T WAIT FOR AN EVE-TEASER TO CONVERT INTO AN RAPIST. TAKE ACTIONS EVEN FOR THE SLIGHTIEST INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT DONE TOWARDS YOU.
Read her original status here.