I Caught A Guy Masturbating To Us And The Police Did Nothing

Posted by Isha Chitnis in Gender-Based Violence, Staff Picks
July 12, 2017

“Eww, why did you shoot a video of him doing that?”

“Isn’t it a natural thing? Don’t make a big deal out of it.”

“This is normal in India, just ignore it.”

These are the reactions I got when I told people I took a video of a guy jerking off while staring at a friend and me in our train coach at CST Station in Mumbai in the early hours of the morning. I have heard of many instances where guys have jerked off to women in trains (and other places), especially foreigners and solo female travelers. I cannot even begin to imagine what they must be feeling when they’re just out to explore this country and they’re greeted with penises. Or wait, now I can imagine it.

What I experienced on the morning of June 29 was nothing short of disgusting – both in terms of the masturbating guy and the reaction our ‘protectors’ gave to it.

My train was to leave for Nashik from Platform 13 at 6:15 AM. I reached the platform at around 5:45 AM to find the lights in the train switched off and this gentleman inside the coach, staring his eyes out at me and unzipping his pants. I thought I might’ve misunderstood something and moved aside so that he couldn’t see me. He shifted his seat and wasn’t shy about letting me see what he was doing. When my friend arrived and the lights turned on, his confidence only grew and he kept at it, staring at both of us, not even shying away from my phone while I was shooting him masturbate. My first thoughts were- “I don’t want to travel with this man in the coach. If he’s not afraid to stare at me and show me his private parts, he won’t be afraid to do something else, something worse.”

It doesn’t end here. I am not one to keep quiet when something wrong goes down, so I left and asked around for the police. I was redirected twice and finally reached the platforms where the locals run from, where there is a police desk. I showed them the video, which seemed to not affect them at all. They told me to find an office near my platform, I told him there wasn’t one. He grudgingly agreed to come with me and strolled across the station without any sense of urgency. When we reached the coach, we saw the perpetrator run into the next coach and escape from there. He knew he did something wrong. The police officer obviously didn’t see him, because the man had freaked out and run away. I pointed in his direction to the police official, he just said, “That guy must also have a reservation. Go find a place to sit elsewhere,” and walked away. Without doing ANYTHING.

TRIGGER WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO

So, now to answer your questions.

Why did I film this?

Because I would have no proof. Even when I did, nothing was done. I did my bit, I experienced something wrong happening and I felt violated, so I approached an authority whose job is to protect me. What did he do? Nothing. He told me to adjust and find another seat. Why should I tolerate someone masturbating to me? Why should I adjust to someone invading my personal space and making me feel violated and sick? Sir, would you adjust to someone making you feel disgusted?

I even tweeted to the Ministry of Railways at 6:17 AM with the video. No response.

Why did I make a big deal out of this, when it is natural to feel sexually excited looking at the opposite sex?

The fact that you think it is normal for someone to unzip his pants, show me his penis and jerk off while staring at me in a public place shows that there is something very, very wrong with you. Yes, it is natural to be attracted to the opposite sex and to feel excited. That’s how the population of this country has reached 1.31 Billion; it’s natural. But there is an aspect to it that men in this country completely seem to miss when they’re doing something – how it makes a woman feel.

It is natural when there are two consenting adults involved. It isn’t natural when you’re subjecting me to something I am not comfortable with. How difficult is this to understand?

Why can’t I accept this as normal? 

That’s easy- because it isn’t.

Did I feel honored that he was masturbating to me? Absolutely not. It made me sick to the stomach. I wanted to find him and ask him what motivated him to ruin my morning when all I wanted to do was travel to my destination in peace. I hate that men in India have the power to do this to women. Or rather men all over the world do. This is assault, this is abuse. This is not flattering.

It’s useless writing open letters to the police or the guy who was so excited he couldn’t wait to show me what he was “feeling”. The letters will never reach them. How would that police officer react if the same thing that happened to his own wife or daughter or family member? His protective instincts would kick in and he would react to it. Are my friend and I not important enough to warrant a reaction to someone violating our personal space? Are the police officers paid only to cater to a particular section of the society? We’ll never know.

Why did it take me so long to publish this? Because I know we cannot depend on anyone for help. Not even the people who take protecting people on as a life mission. It’s not important enough to them. I have proof.

IMPACT UPDATE: Within a few hours of the post being published, it went viral and the police acted on the evidence. The culprit has been caught.

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