Harassment in public places in India is nothing new. Countless incidents where perverts of all ages, education and profession express this heinous form of power bestowed upon by a patriarchal society. While for decades, women have been silenced and sexual harassment – on the streets, in locals, flights, restaurants, schools, colleges and workplaces – normalized by their own peers, parents, teachers and social circle at large, in India, the women today have decided to put a uproot this evil. We are taking a step forward everyday.
In another feisty display of courage and strong will, a young women flying solo in an indigo flight to Bhubaneswar decided to publicly humiliate and record the aged creep who kept poking her from behind the gap between the seats. She reached a point of intolerable rage and courageously decided to take matters in her hands.
In her own words,
“This man on the seat behind mine, put his fingers in the seat gap to touch me!!! I was very shocked for sometime to react. By then the flight went to landing mode. Then the moment flight touched down, I got up. Saw his hand was again on the side ready to take up any opportunity to touch me!!! I created such a scene, humiliated him in front of the whole flight! He thought like usual girls will keep quiet and he can get away with this! I have lodged an FIR now! He is a very rich man of Bhubaneswar and is now very humiliated in front of the people who know him. Cant believe the ordeal I had to go through but being silent is a crime! The police officer was very helpful and the Indigo staff remained with me throughout. The man is under police custody currently.
I clicked his pictures and made videos, shouted so loud that the entire plane came forward to see him! i made sure i humiliate him as much as possible because I know law will do nothing”
It didn’t end there. Once the flight landed, the girl took the man to the police at the airport. He accepted his mistake but remained unabashed and smiled all this while.
He even accepted to have a daughter and that he would’ve forgiven a harasser who attempted something similar with his own daughter.
This incident, however regular, brings many facets of sexual harassment to light. One, many men (harassers) feel no remorse or shame even when they are publicly shamed. Two, people who encounter a lady facing harassment don’t bother to stand with her. Three, women generally accept misconduct from men everyday.
While women have begun to stand for their freedom of movement and right to loiter in Indian cities and towns, we are still some way to go.
But, we are rising! We hope many more women do the same. More courage to all of you.