The second you realize what happened you’re so afraid that you cannot even gather the strength to scream. You freeze with fear. Overnight journey in a dark bus. You’re deep asleep and wake up startled to find a hand squeezed between the seats fondling your breast. Is this really happening? Is it just a nightmare? Are you disoriented because of the avomin (to prevent travel sickness) tablet you took? How long has this been happening? How did you not wake earlier?
2- You don’t know what to do.
You feel helpless. It’s too risky to react. What if the others don’t support you? What if it angers the pervert and it does more than just groping? Gory death scenes in horror movies flash through your mind. You’re being paranoid. All you need to do is ignore it and pretend like nothing happened. What if it grabs you again? What do you do? Not react?
3- You have no proof.
You scream out and raise an alarm, what next? What if the others in the bus judge you instead?(happens in India) You don’t have any proof. What if your scream isn’t loud enough to wake the others and alerts it instead? How is it going to shut you up? Gag you? Hurt you? Kill you?
4- You suffer in silence.
The incident plays in your head over and over again. What could you have done? Why were you chosen? You’re wide awake at 2 am in a dark crowded bus. You cannot see the face behind you but you felt that hand. You felt the pain. You hear its tormenting laugh. It is laughing at your ordeal, planning what to do next. Plotting to hurt you, harm you, insult you but only you can hear it. You listen, helplessly.
5- You doubt yourself.
Were you hallucinating from all the stories you read? Everything seemed normal until that moment. You remember falling asleep. The effect of the pill was taking over and you felt drowsy, safe and comfortable as you fell asleep. How could it have thought of molesting you? Were you hallucinating the whole incident?
6- You’re ashamed to reveal what happened.
Is something wrong with me is the first question that comes to your mind. People may or may not believe you- how is that possible? You were modestly dressed. I don’t see the demons behind you, I see a well mannered young man. You’re imagining things, you stupid girl!
7- Your loved ones come after your life instead of hunting down the monster.
You should’ve been more alert. How could you have been so careless? Why didn’t you react or do something? I thought you were bold. Did you enjoy it? Whats done is done. No more solo travelling. Why don’t you work from home? Why do you create problems everywhere you go? You can’t even take care of yourself. You never let us live in peace. We are always concerned about your safety. We love you.
8- You’re scarred for life.
Traumatised. Questions unanswered, shame for being the victim, regret for not responding, humiliated feeling. Others wonder why you’re being fidgety about travelling. They wonder why you plan and replan everything. They think you’re being paranoid. They haven’t seen what you have. They haven’t heard its sniggers. You’re weird.
No tips for you. To the two young educated bearded men who had seats behind you in last nights bus.
If non-consensual sexual encounters excite you, try them on your mother. It’s bound to be a lot more exciting because it’s not just non-consensual, it’s also incest! How lovely! Just like those porn videos. Want something even more exciting? Try fondling your grandmother’s breasts when she is asleep, it has, even more hash tags- #non-consensual #elderly #incest. Delightful!
If that thought disgusts you, sexually molesting a stranger in a bus should too. We are on the bus to travel to our destinations, not to star in your perverted sexual fantasies. It’s a crime. A crime that can get you imprisoned. And some day you will be in for it. I hope some day soon.