It’s a shame that every other day we hear the news of some obscene act against women. On one hand the entire nation is talking about women empowerment and on the other there are incidents of rape, molestation, acid attacks seen on the news every other day. Are women really that much in danger? Why are there incidents which prove that men have the audacity to do anything they please to a woman? How dare they?

Recently a 22 year old shared her horrific ordeal on Facebook. She has been born and brought up in Mumbai and is very well aware of the pros and cons of living in a metro. One odd day when she was travelling from Borivali to Dadar, there was a man who masturbated to her in front of everyone. Instead of creating a big scene, she decided to call the authorities which are in charge of women’s security. There reaction to her complaint will make you furious.

Here is her Facebook feed:

Mass-Train-Bait/ Masturbate
Mumbai
Train from Borivali to Dadar
2 pm

I’m sitting in the train, going back home after meeting friends who live in Borivali. I’m in the ladies compartment, there are about 6 other women. I’m sitting on the side that can see the handicapped section of the train, but with railings in between. On my left, there is another girl. We both are listening to music. In the handicapped section is a man. I’m looking at my phone and I see him waving at the girl through the railing. He’s put his hands through and has reached half the distance to the girl’s face. I cannot hear him, I’m wearing headphones.

I reduce the music, out of curiosity and also to see whether she needs help, I do not turn. Looking down at my phone, I hear him calling her madarchod. I heard it at least 6 times in the 30 seconds I listened. I looked at him, our eyes met and I looked down again.

 

There are many mentally challenged people who travel on the train regularly and I’m used to many of them cursing, so I thought him to be one of them and let it go.

The split second where our eyes locked, he took the chance to come to me. He came to my side of the compartment and put his hands through just like he had done before.

He called me the same, another 6-10 times.

 

I looked up and just kept looking at him for 20 seconds. Thinking of what I should do. Meanwhile, he puts his hand down, whips out his penis and grins at me, he starts masturbating. For those who know me also know that I have seen this too many times. Maybe that prepared me to do what I tried next. I was rational, calm.

And I asked the other women to tell me the police helpline and also yelled that this man was showing me his privates.

They gave me the helpline. I had just run out of credit in the morning, so the girl he was waving at first gave me the phone. I called up the helpline.

The next paragraph is a summary of that conversation:

I told the person on the line all the details. The train was just approaching Kandivli. Which compartment, what time. All of it.

Then I told him that this person had also called us what he did. And then the person on the helpline laughed. He found it funny.

I asked him whether they’d pick this person up at Kandivli.

He cut the call.

I’m not sure what happened. When Kandivli came, the man got out of the compartment and started walking towards the doors of the ladies compartment. 6 women who could easily take him down, started yelling. I stood up and walked towards the door. He told me he would rape me. I told him to do it. (I only did so because I knew he wouldn’t and because the time permitted me, so did the space.)

Learnings :
1. Our helplines. Do they really help? Or is equality for women just a trend for marketing and PR?

2. Rape is supposed to scare me. Stop being scared by it. Stop making it a big deal. Somewhere there, it will stop.

Don’t take me wrong.

Rape IS a big deal. But physically, mentally for the pain it causes. not because the honor of this society lies in my vagina. Not because I will be SCARED by the prospect because my life will be ruined.

I once even called a suicide helpline that didn’t pick up. The irony.

This woman’s incident is scarring in many ways. The man showed her his privates, masturbated to her, when she called for help, she didn’t get any and was laughed at, he threatened to rape her and walked off. Isn’t this the ground reality which is often over looked by the people who say that they are making things safer for women. I know change is a slow process but the authorities should take action so that next time any pervert thinks twice before doing any such thing.

According to me, in this incident both the man who masturbated and the authorities are equally responsible of imposing a threat to a girl’s security. The man threatened her to rape and the ones who were supposed to be taking care of these incidents laughed it off like a joke.

We respect the girl for sharing her ordeal with us and we hope that the authorities start behaving in a mature way before something like this happens to one of their own.

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