A prevalent question asked by men’s rights’ activists is: If women are getting assaulted and raped, why do they not report it?
In the recent wake of the Hollywood fiasco (where all the people who have been accused have faced very little flak and will continue to make billions), the question becomes rhetorical.
What happens to the common people, though? Why not report when the perpetrators are people who do not have any power? Obviously, some of the reasons include the perpetrators being close relatives and friends and the lack of evidence – which, I must say, is almost impossible to obtain when it is a case of sexual assault.
Which person in their right mind would tell a girl over a call/text/ WhatsApp message that they have sexually assaulted her? A similar proof where the girl has recorded something is not an option available at every instance of the assault.
I am a person who loves visiting historical places and monuments. I love the subject and spend my time watching historical documentaries on Netflix. I visited the Purana Qila (Old Fort) in Delhi because I knew it was a historical site and had a broader history than just being a fort for Humayun and Sher Shah Suri.
I went there along with my boyfriend (let’s call him Chris for anonymity’s sake). Both of us are not natives of Delhi – he has recently moved here for a job, and I have come to visit for an internship. We had absolutely no idea that Purana Qila had an extremely shady environment and was frequented by couples who did ‘activities’ there ranging from making out to intercourse!
We went there and started walking straight to the buildings. Suddenly, a boy stopped Chris, and asked him- “Kyun bhai? Kahan ja rahe ho? (Where are you going?).” Chris was taken aback, and before he could say anything, I reacted. I pulled my phone and threatened the boy that I was calling the police. I asked him what his problem was. He revealed that his friends had been secretly taking a video of us. I screamed at him and told him that this was a crime and I could get them behind bars for stalking.
They started apologising, and the boy after fiddling on his phone told me that he had deleted the video. However, my gut told me something was wrong, and I snatched the phone from that boy and browsed through the gallery. Surprise! The video was still there, in all its stalkerish glory.
I immediately called the police. Meanwhile, both Chris and I went to the main entrance of the Fort to wait for the police. There the authorities of the Old Fort started questioning us about what had happened. They pulled Chris aside and told me to stand away from him. They asked him questions like what were we doing? Were doing anything inappropriate?
Chris got really angry and asked them if we would have created such a fuss if we had actually had been doing something inappropriate. They responded with a “No one looks like they have done anything wrong anyway.” I had to intervene at this stage. I told the authorities about my parents and threatened them that I come from a family of IAS officers, and I won’t hesitate to take action, especially since I had done absolutely no wrong.
On hearing that I was connected to IAS officers and a current cabinet minister, they changed their stand completely. Chris then showed them the video that had been taken. They completely changed their stance after that.
After waiting for about 45 mins, the police arrived proudly (they wanted to satisfy all the people who called them). They asked me what had happened, and while one of the officers was asking questions and trying to clarify what had happened, the other officer secretly called Chris and told him: “I really don’t care what your relationship with that girl is. She might be your sister, friend, or cousin. It does not matter to me. But she will be deeply humiliated if you pursue the case.”
Chris did not say anything. He came and told me what the police officer had said. I had half a mind to get my parents involved and take those boys to the police station. However, it is a very sensitive time for me, and I cannot afford another tension at this point. So, I decided not to pursue the case.
I realised that I had tried to stand up for myself, and two things had ended up happening:
1. I was moral policed by the authorities.
2. I was denied my own agency.
Chris was supposed to decide what to do. What was a girl to do at such a stage? I did not know, so I screamed at them. I told them Chris was nobody to decide what was to be done, and that if they wished to talk to someone about the case, it was me.
This is a disgusting incident that took place. It angered me to no end. My agency was taken away. Why are girls supposed to do only what the males present with them tell them to do?
The police authorities have no right to moral police anyone. I was there of my own volition. I was not harming anyone. I was walking. Walking in this country has become a problem.
If every time girls report incidents like these and are moral policed, who will want to report incidents like these?
And people say the need for feminism has abated.