...and then

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Stop calling it "eve teasing". You are being molested, not teased.

Update:  


Last evening, I took my toddlers out to play. We stay out a long time because a) the outdoors are a great way to get healthy and find wonderful new things and b) I like to tire them out like that so they sleep well. Because, really, as a mum and a working one, there's only so much you can take in a day. But that's a different story.


It was a Friday (as you know it's the Arab world's Sunday). We usually play in a grassy little patch a bit away from my home. Today, as I saw it was really lonely there, I decided to stick around in the empty parking lot of a large government building near my home. I usually have my help or my husband with me because managing two toddlers who don't understand road safety very clearly yet is difficult. Today, it was just me and the kids. 


A while into play, a Honda Civic began to cruise up and down the road adjacent to where we were. I didn't pay too much attention because assholes like that usually drive away if they see you aren't interested. Soon I saw the car had turned into the parking lot we were playing in and had parked nearby. I calmly gathered the kids up and moved to the other side of the road, where there is a place to play but is pebbly. As soon as I did that, I noticed the car pull away and I decided that was the end of it. 


After a few minutes I noticed a man walking up and down the stretch of pavement we were playing on. He didn't pay us any attention so I thought it was a resident on his usual evening walk (I am new to the area). When it got dark, I took both the kids - carrying the younger one -- and walked towards home. Most of the area is pretty well-lit and busy; there's just one patch that's dark and dodgy. When I got there, my older child spotted something on the road and stopped to marvel over it and ask questions. I moved closer to the pavement as she started discovering more god knows what on the road. And suddenly stepped smack into this tall hulking guy standing way too close to me. It was the same guy who was walking. Silly as I am, and disturbed as I was by his closeness, I didn't quite realise it was the same guy who was in the car. He came forward to pet my son, who I was carrying, and I took a couple of steps back. He began asking them their names and the niggling warning bell got louder. Before I could grab my daughter's arm and head home, he had reached out again to touch my son's cheek and in the process brushed his hand against my chest. I saw red, gave him a hard shove and started shouting and charging at him but he fled and there was only so much I could do with the kids around. 


My blood boiled as I went home and told my husband what happened. He stepped out immediately to see what could be done and I saw the bastard drive past our house again. I don't know if he was keeping an eye or he just needed to go to the end of the road to turn around his car.


I most definitely intend to report this but I am getting feedback like expatriates will not be helped much in case it gets reported. I've been told to go through an Omani friend or colleague who is well connected. Have any of you living in Muscat reported any such incidents? I know a lot of women face such crap. But have you reported?


*****


Eve teasing


I don't know how many women can safely say that they have never been molested in their lives. If they've been out in a public space, it doesn't matter what they are wearing, whether they are in great shape, whether they're lovely to look at or just plain, they will have been grabbed. 

Very often, when the question of molestation comes up, everyone loves to label a city safe or unsafe, depending on what frame of mind they are in. I find it astoundingly silly and baffling that the basis for deeming a city safe (or unsafe, as the case may be) depends on incidence of reported rape and other attacks. In a city like Bombay, which I will vouch for as more or less safe for women, for the most bit, I was molested in more ways than one.

Once, I stopped to ask for directions and this creep, who would have been barely 20, said he didn't know what I was asking about, stuck his hand out, grabbed my breast and ran. Unfortunately for him, my reflexes are still in decent condition. Couple that with roar-inducing rage, I chased him down, got him by his shirt and beat him up in every way I know. Kicked, slapped and punched him with one of these in my hand. Not only is that a hair-ornament, but it's my most effective protection against molestors. He got away after a bit but I think I damaged him enough for him to remember not to touch a girl for a while, unless she wants to be touched.

On the local train, if I ever got into the compartment where there were also men, more often than not, I dragged an offender out with me. The thing with these guys is most of them don't start on you till the train stops at a station, when the crowd is moving and shifting. They grab you just as you are getting or they're getting out, hoping you don't realise what happens. So I usually am prepared for an attack; drag them out and starting hitting him and/or abusing him till a crowd gathers and takes over. Which is why I love Bombay. A woman's word is gospel. At least in my experience. As opposed to Bangalore, where the men look at you as if you've just offended them by even existing. What a hostile mean city Bangalore has been for me. 

Another time in Bombay, a friend sat alone in the first class compartment a little late at night, going towards Town (South Bombay). For those who have done that will know why it's a bad idea. First class is the perfect option during peak hours but a really bad idea late at night because it's practically empty. Also after 8 p.m. (or is it 7?) men are allowed in ladies' compartments as well. So there she was hoping to reach home without any incident, when a man comes and plonks himself opposite her, whips out his penis and starts masturbating in front of her. I can't remember if I have mentioned this here before but it is the most disgusting story of molestation I heard from someone I know. I am not including child abuse and incest stories because that is way beyond molestation. 

Yet another time, I've been kissed by someone in a senior position who I worked for. He had joined me and a friend for dinner, conversation went very well. I don't know if we had similar interests or he was just being polite and attentive. But the evening ended with him insisting he drop us girls. I lived really far off from where we were having dinner and after much protest (I really was perfectly okay with going home alone at 1 a.m. Still am.) we decided it would be churlish not to accept and so we were dropped back. My colleague was dropped off first and as I lived farther, I was alone with him till we got home. We chatted about this and that, I got told I was charming etc etc. And then, just as I said goodnight and was about to step out of the car, after a cursory, polite thank-you peck on the cheek, I was at the receiving end of a full-on adult kiss, with a little tongue thrown in. To say that I did not expect it at all is understatement. To my shame, I didn't report it. Don't ask me why. Maybe because there was no violence, maybe because he was always so polite and gentle before and after. Maybe because he did major damage control after that, but I didn't report it. I am still confused today as to why I didn't.

And I am not even talking about things like talking to my breasts instead of talking to me, exposing yourself to me or texting me to say when you are drunk that you want to "fuck me" (a colleague in Bombay called Manoj did this. And he found my number through someone else. Unfortunately, I forgot his last name. His poor wife had gone off to have a baby or something), and being hearing lewd things being said as I or some other woman walked past. 


My questions are these: 


1. What is it that makes some men violate a woman's personal space and touch her? Who gives them the right to do that and think it's bloody okay?
2. What is it that separates a molester from a regular man? What makes two men look at a woman and react in two different ways: One checks her out, finds her appealing and stops with that, while the other one reaches out and touches her? What is that essential difference? Lack of control? Lack of decency? Bad upbringing? A disdain for women?
3. Do they also look at the women in their home with the same filth in their eyes with which they look at my breasts or butt or thighs? I mean to ask do these men who touch women without their permission on the streets also touch their women -- mothers, wives, sisters -- at home? Are these, in effect, perpetrators of incest? Or is it just other women they feel comfortable grabbing?
4. Are women responsible for these men having absolutely no fear to touch, grope, or expose themselves to women? Have years of "just ignore him" behaviour emboldened these men to do as they please? Would a man think twice if he had been beaten by a woman for touching her or passing a lewd comment at her?
5. If I have some male readers, can you please come out on this and tell me what treatment -- extreme or otherwise -- would deter a man from molesting a woman?
6. Is this restricted to developing countries and others such as Oman alone or do developed countries see molestation in such a daily, on the street, everyday manner?


A blogger friend recently told me that one of the reasons he likes Muscat is because it is safe, that things like the above don't happen here. 

Fact: The first time I saw a man's penis: Here in Muscat, when I was about 13-14 years old. A man close to where we were playing was hanging around exposing himself and trying to get our attention
Fact: The first time I saw a man masturbating: Here in Muscat. Late evening I was hanging out clothes to dry on a stand in the balcony and this guy was parked perhaps 20-30 meters away from our home, jerking off. I didn't realise what was happening till I almost finished with the clothes.  
Fact: The first time I was grabbed: Here in Muscat, in Ruwi, while walking with my parents when I was nine years old. A man walking past grabbed my then non-existent right breast.
Fact: The first time I got surrounded by a bunch of guys and seriously groped: Here in Muscat. Age 12, cycling home from my dance lessons when a bunch of tween-to-teenaged Baluchi boys surrounded me and brushed their hands against my butt, my chest, my legs while saying things that to this day I haven't understood, in Hindi. 
As a result, when I walk alone, I walk with all my senses on alert. I walk with aggression and hold a bag or something protectively against me, with my elbows ever-ready to shove someone in case they touch me. Do you know how stressful it is to walk like that, protecting yourself constantly, without letting your guard down? Do you realise how painful it is to think that you can't enjoy a good walk alone for the fear of being touched by a creep? Do you realise how restricting, how rage-inducing, how utterly defeating it is to be that way every day? Do men understand why some women in countries where roadside molestation is rampant hold on to their men tight? Why they ask their men to ask for directions, buy a pack of cigarettes or walk half a step behind, very close to their men? 


Edited to add: A friend wrote in to tell me molestation is an issue that needs to be told again and again and again. Men, just ask the women in your life how it makes them feel, even better, think about how you feel when one them is attacked. Women, the more we talk the more courage we can instill in those who won't retaliate. Will women who read this please take two extra minutes to just comment and not leave before they do? Only for this post, please. If the men (if there are more than three) also can take the time I'll be very grateful.


Edited again to add: If I have any Omani/Middle Eastern women as readers, could they please tell me their experience; anonymously is just fine? I am just trying to understand if India, because it is so varied, has such elements and because by and large we don't have dress codes, that this happens to women. Does wearing an abaya, being brought up in a mostly segregated society and not having as many freedoms as women from other places have its advantages as far as molestation is concerned?

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162 Comments:

Blogger Andaleeb said...

You're right...about every woman sometime or the other having been molested. Every one of us has gone through some incident that has left some impact on the way we carry ourselves today. All of us will have some hideous stories in the past and yes, I too don't understand why men do it.

3:41 pm  
Blogger Rithu`s Dad said...

I think there is no answer to this problem (atleast from my small mind).. But only thing what i can say (contradict to your statemen of one men doing the another men not.. ) is, every MEN in the world has got it, No exceptions.

May be some very less and may be some more, If they get a Chance surely the do..!!

Do you think any one MAN in this world who doesnt look at women the way you have desribed??

I dont really think so.

I May be completely wrong, lets hear from other men`s here :)

5:43 pm  
Anonymous Chinkurli said...

Nice post there. Unfortunately, I've been at the receiving end a few times too many...or is that what all of us women think?

The saddest part is that even on the occasions when I've kicked up a big fuss, not one person from the crowd has come forward to support me (unless my friends are have been with me, and that's another matter altogether.) People have just stood by staring as I chased a molester, showering him with the vilest of curses. And all that the molestor does is produce an innocent look, and everyone around thinks that the woman is saying she was molested, just for kicks.

Whether it's just that lecherous look they throw my way, or they're actually pawing me...I feel horribly violated. I really wish I could knee those men in their you-know-whats. Since that's not possible (I'd feel too squeamish to let any part of my body come in contact with their you-know-whats, even if it is to teach them a lesson), I try to hit them hard. But it doesn't help too much. If I didn't feel so horrible about using violent methods, I'd be carrying a pepper spray or a stungun.

6:14 pm  
Blogger Abhipraya said...

oh Q, this is a Pandora's box. I have been walking the way you describe since I think class 4 or something. I used public transport in Bangalore and things I've seen, I don't even want to describe! But I have always been very vocal. Irrespective of people's lack of support; which btw Bangalore is notorious for. I will not let someone get away with it. EVER. I will scream, yell, even get violent if I have to.

But my question is why do I (we) have to go through all this in the first place? I mean what kind of mind thinks of grabbing a school girl's non-existent breasts at 6 in the morning, just for kicks?

8:55 pm  
OpenID revsjoiedevivre said...

I was all of 6 or 7 years old when this thing happened. That was one of those rare days when I had to take a townbus from school because my regular autorickshaw conked up somewhere. So Appa had sent one of the guys who worked for him to pick me up from school. This Uncle made me sit in one of the available seats and he sat a few rows behind me. In one of the later stops, a lot of people got in and the bus was pretty much crowded now. And just beside me, there was this guy so obviously feeling the girl in front of him. Now that girl could have been in her twenties and was dressed decently enough, so none can say the famous “she asked for it” argument. He felt her all over her back and kept kneading her behind and the girl looked visibly scared and was close to tears. She looked around pathetically. I was just scared seeing the whole thing and I asked that girl if she wanted to sit in my seat and if she could have me on her lap. She smiled at me amidst tears and sat and held on to me tightly and started talking to me. Just then, that pervert, smiled at me and kept meddling with my pony-tail. To any onlooker, he must have looked like this doting guy trying to play with a little girl. Then the next minute, he started tickling me and pinched my chest. Yes, I was all of 6 years old and till date, I cant understand what made him do that. I started crying which brought in a few people’s attention and he innocently smiled and remarked aloud that I must be tired after school.

I was in an only-girls school and the area around school was a prey-ground for a lot of such perverts. When I was in the last year of school we had special classes outside school hours and it will be late by the time we were allowed to go home. Almost every day there were guys flashing at us. Some days we'll shout out "Thats it? So small and you want to show off?". Some days we'd buy steaming hot soup from the canteen(2Rs for a large cup) and throw it on them when they come near with their zip open. Despite all that, we were always left feeling disgusted.

8:06 am  
Anonymous A British Gentleman said...

It's shameful to hear about things like this happening anywhere in the world, particularly in Muscat, which has such a good reputation for being safe. Unfounded, it would seem, and based purely on the fact that the local media are not able to report on crime because the ROP press office is either non-existant or totally useless.

As a man, though, I have to disagree with such as Rithu`s Dad. Not all men are lecherous turds. Just as TRQ said, some - indeed, most - men will at least check out a woman they pass, but only a small percentage will take that huge leap further to molestation. It's a lack of basic chivalry and respect - a sign of a sick mind, or one that has never been programmed with restrictions.

I would suspect (though I couldn't prove it) that the answer to question 3 in the main post is an emphatic 'yes'. I would suspect that these turds grew up without respect for their mother, meaning that they have no respect for any women.

Not all men are like this, and I must say that I don't appreciate being tarred with the same brush.

As for question 5, I've got to say that your approach with the guy in Bombay strikes me as pretty effective. A swift knee to the danglers would probably do the trick, too. Basically making a big stink and drawing attention to this pervert's attempt to get his kicks discretely. This is based on pure conjecture, though - not having tried it for myself, I can only guess.

Great post. I would say it was very brave - and it is - but pricks like those described above should be outed and that should not be prevented by an unneccessary sense of shame. They should also be dangled from a lampost, preferably by a certain part of their anatomy they seem to take such pleasure in showing off...

10:23 am  
Anonymous Spirited Seeker said...

Hard-hitting post. Almost all women will know what you are talking about.

I completely agree how difficult and even dehumanizing it can be to be always on gaurd, always watchful, always wary.

11:34 am  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Andaleeb: It's so damaging that violence and wariness has become like combing your hair or wearing a bra. It's something you do as soon as you decide to step out of home.

Rithu's Dad: Men will look, and that's okay. Sometimes it's disgusting, sometimes it's not. But I completely disagree with what you said about everyman, given the chance, will reach out and molest a woman. I speak from experience -- my life is full of men who are wonderfully decent. Friends who I have gone to sleep in the same bed with and those who have never once touched me. A brother who always minds his hands when he hugs his female friends. A husband, a father, uncles who are all utterly and completely decent.

Chinkurli: Being violated/molested even once is one time too many. don't you think? So you aren't wrong in feeling that at all! And that's what I mean about Bangalore. Such a mean, unfriendly sexist city - the men will do NOTHING if you are molested. Just thinking about it making my blood boil. And just weigh how you feel about violence in general against the violence done to you, and pepper spray, a kick in the nuts or whatever else will come easily to you. Remember, they deserve every bit of it.

Abhipraya: Good on you that you NEVER let it pass. Me too, if I can get the guy he'll get it from me. And that's what I meant about Bangalore. Why do the men look down upon women there? What makes them so bloody sexist? And about molesting a young child -- so many levels -- control, paedophilia, repressions, frustration.

RJDV: I hope the soup did some serious damage. More power to you. Like Abhipraya said, we should have to live with this nonsense. We should have to want to make fun of flasher's penises or throw stuff at them. Hell, we shouldn't be seeing penises till we want to! Thank you for sharing your stories with me and welcome to the blog.

A british gentleman: I am so glad to hear from you. I was beginning to despair that there were no men readers and if there were, they preferred to keep quiet over this issue instead of giving me a point of view that I can never cultivate. I am all for being checked out, but it's the ugliness in some men's eyes that makes me want to cover up. And I don't want to do have to do that.
When I met my husband, he showed me a couple of moves to get these men where it hurts but sometimes, like Chinkurli says, you feel like you need a bath after you touch scum like these. Thanks for taking the time to comment the way you have.

Spirited Seeker: SS, we shouldn't have to walk like that no? We shouldn't have to fear oncoming crowds no? We shouldn't have to care first about how tight or loose our clothes are before we love home. We shouldn't have to watch for molesters instead of watching the lovely sight of parrots at a busy intersection or feel the sun warming our faces. I am not a timid girl by any count but when I tense up the minute I have to walk alone outside.

12:00 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

RJDV: I mean we SHOULDN'T have to live with this nonense

12:03 pm  
Blogger Quicksilver! said...

If there’s anything that infuriates me more that being ‘brushed against’, ‘bumped against’ or hearing stories about the same from my female friends, is when someone says ‘It happens to everyone, why are you reacting so strongly. Chalta hai’ The other exasperating remark being ‘What did you do/what were you wearing to deserve this?’

Ironically, it is the women in a womans life who almost always pass this remark.

Like charity beginging at home, the change in attitude also needs to begin at home. Parents need to teach their girls AND boys how to respect the other gender. That extra large dose of morals and giving respect to others, which Indian parents seem to love thrusting down their daughters throats from the time she is born could be safely halved and shared with the sons as well.

It would help hugely if anyone who witnesses an incident as such would come forward to help beat the bejaysus out of the offender.

1:33 pm  
Blogger Sumira Khan said...

Thank you for this brave post. I'm sure it touched a chord with every woman who read it, because unfortunately, that is how common molestation is in the world. Everyone has seen some form or the other. More power to you, girl! I think pepper spray is a mandatory weapon for every girl nowadays.

2:54 pm  
Blogger shai said...

Everything rings a bell... except the incident with the Baluchi boys. How scary. I would be scarred for life if that had happened to me.

One of the things I hear that enrages me is 'She dresses like that, so she's asking for it' As though demure dressing makes any difference.

I am intimidated about retaliating simply because of my small frame. As a daughter there were times when things happened and my mother refused to believe me or dismissed it... I make a conscious effort to not do so with my daughter. Call me hyper vigilant, but when she told me she was put off when her new music teacher told her she was very pretty, I chose to take her at her word and said tata to the guy.

3:37 pm  
Anonymous sutz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:37 pm  
Anonymous sutz said...

Hard Hitting Post and one that made my blood boil. I have and never will understand why some men indulge in this and why others who stand by and watch can live with themselves. I've never been around when someone has misbehaved with a woman but I know for sure that there is no way I would just be a bystander and watch it go down. I wish women would be more vocal and be stronger... You will be amazed at how much effect a swift KICK in the nuts will have... Sure, its hard when you are a kid.. but if I have a daughter, the first thing I'll teach her is to defend herself against such parasites and make sure her kick is strong and on target!!
Kudos to you for actually baring your experiences and helping others deal with simillar situations. Sharing pain always helps deal with it.

3:44 pm  
Blogger Shamona said...

My psychology teacher took a class on molestation one day and explained why many women are too scared/shocked to retaliate when she is being molested. Whn a woman is victim to molestation, she unconsciously belives that it is her fault! This thinking is reinforced by society's 'Look at the clothes you wear/Why do you come home late at night?/Do not go out alone'. That lecture was my biggest lesson in life. I learnt that it is NOT my fault when a man touches. I learnt that I must NOT keep quiet and ignore it. I learnt that if I want to be treated with respect, I will have to fight for it. And I did.

3:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous
4:32 PM

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/woman-teacher-on-trial-for-having-sex-with-pupil/113259-19-93.html?from=tn

one of many incidents of boys being molested. just o show there is a flip side too. im a woman who has had to undergo these things and its scary to read them. but there is the other side tooo

4:38 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Quicksilver!: Absolutely. I left that aspect out of this post because as you said, it is murder-inducingly infuriating to hear those two comments. But thank you for bringing them up. And so true about other women being our worst enemies sometimes. The clothing thing -- it annoys me to now extent. How dare they suggest that a molester's lack of control and decency is acceptable in the face of what I am wearing? As I am sure it's happened to you, you'll identify with the fact that I've been pawed even when I was in a salwar kameez or wearing a coat.

Sumira: Bang on. Every girl must carry a juda stick and/or pepper spray, and use it if someone even as much touches her hair.

Shai: I am greatly disturbed when I hear how common accounts such as yours are, where parents dismiss it. I feel bad for the parent too. They're in denial and don't want to accept that someone they know could have touched their daughter. I am so glad you did what you did with the music teacher. My heart beat just went up when I read that. I'd tear into him. And about having a small frame, I understand completely, but you've got to remember it is the reaction that a molester is afraid of, not the intensity of the violence you may choose to react with. Hugs.

Sutz: Welcome to the blog! And thank you so much for your comment. I am going to keep my fingers crossed that you have a little girl when you decide to have children. We need many more strong girls. Hats of to you for deciding to teach her what I consider a basic skill in life :)

Shamona: Well said Shamona. I think somewhere I realised that it is NOT my fault that these men were being sick; which is what gives me the courage to beat them up every chance I get. My mother still insists I shouldn't wear clothes that invite attention. That if "she dresses like that, she's asking for it." And my mum's a very liberal person in most ways, who thinks on her own even though she was taught to merely follow. I know where she comes from, but I don't condone it. And kudos to you for learning that lesson and standing up for yourself.

Anonymous: Thanks for that. I am aware of this case you've posted and others too; in fact, someone super close to me in my family was abused by two people in his childhood, at two different points of time. Why I think it is more difficult for women is because they face it on a daily basis, in daily situations, unlike men, who face it mostly (and I could be wrong) as children or teenagers. And no problem about the misplaced comment; I am just glad to know you're reading my posts :P

4:58 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Anonymous: But coming back to the link, this was hardly molestation. He was 16, probably thrilled to bits that he slept with his pretty teacher.

5:02 pm  
Blogger Sumi said...

dear s,
i think this is the best post u have evr written.

i dont knw wat to say or rather wat all shall i say to suffice my need to speak here. im choked up wth emotions.that of utter desperation,pain, rage, rage and rage. i wonder if theres a single girl child in this world who hasnt been molested in way or other. i express my deepest appreciation for writing abt this here. if one man who reads this post will rethink before raising his hands to do the filthiest deed, thats it. im thinkng if theres any way that this post might reach many more. such is the impact. congrats again.

cant leave without sharing my experience of various levels of molestation.
i first saw a man masturbating wen i was 14 yrs old. definitely, i didn understand anythin except that he is doing wrong. i was waiting for my school bus and this un-mentionable creature who was standing on the same side of the road crossed the road and stood opposite me. then he did the thing. that too covering with a suitcase he had in his hand. so that the other people standing next to him wont notice. imagine his pain arranging an exclusive show for me. i remember starting shivering. my whole body was quivering like im goin to collapse any moment. till date i regret for not reactng from my side, i cudve shouted, sprint at him and hit him in all possible way i cud, atleast make others notice wat he was doing. nothing. i stood there, frozen, praying for my bus to come asap. the rage is inextinguishable evn a mere thought of it brings.

oh! said too much.

5:15 pm  
Blogger scarlet pimpernel said...

Just being vocal and reacting violently is not just enough. Molestors should have a fear of being recognized and branded.Gals should click their faces and media should dedicate some airtime or space to let the world know these mens faces. A man may have a perfectly normal life and yet he may molest some one when he gets a chance, why? because he dont have anything to fear .. at the most he may be punched sprayed up on or beaten up by a crowd and then when he reaches home he is safe and respectable again. Myself i had a chalta hein attitude to all these until some one close to me was molested by some one i held in high esteem. I still have not recovered from the shock because i was the one who introduced both parties.Take the fight to their doorsteps thats the solution.

5:18 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Sumi: Thank you so much for your encouragement girl. And thanks for sharing your story. Every single time I've heard a new story today, I've wanted to snap someone's neck. At 14, there's very little you could have done. I am amazed you didn't run away and waited for the bus.

SP: I don't agree with you at all. I've seen the fear in these men's eyes when I've beaten them up or shouted up a crowd. If we were to click pictures of every man who molested us, our phone memories would be full. That said Blank Noise, started by Jasmeen Patheja, had a movement that did this. I am not sure how successful it was. And if the media were to run molestors faces, 24 hours in a day wouldn't be enough.

5:57 pm  
Blogger Raj said...

I still can't figure out the percentage of people, who are on the saner side of things. Hearing similar stories from people closer to me is only increasing the anger on this chauvinistic majority in this uncivilized society (not that a civilized society is any better)

I believe values is the core to all this. A son, from a parent's perspective, is always left on his own to judge between respecting womanhood and seeing them as an object of desire, and it looks like most of them end up making the wrong choice. Even learned men go far beyond established idiosyncrasies to take advantage of situations

The saner kind either had a good upbringing or a incident in their life that has affected them

6:00 pm  
Blogger Amber said...

Excellent post. It pointed out the problems and provided uplifting solutions and brought forth questions I have been asking for a long time. Very empowering!

6:33 pm  
Blogger Judy Balan said...

Phew. I was cringing for the most part, especially the 9 and 12 year old bits. Though I haven't been through half as much, I do know how extremely stressful it is to even walk down the street (where I've lived all my life) post 8 pm, alone. It's sick and one of the main reasons, I've always wanted to move. More so, for my daughter. But then, Josef Fritzl was from another, supposedly safe, land. And every country, it seems, has its own stack of horror stories. Child abuse, especially. Which I personally think is a whole lot worse.

You should get this one published.

6:39 pm  
Anonymous Mary said...

Like most women who read it, this post stirs up some very painful memories of very similar stuff endured down the years. The first incident of molestation I remember (on a train) was when I was a skinny kid of 8 or 9, when an 'uncle' elbowed me. What he was groping for in a prepubescent child is beyond any higher understanding.

The worst years were the 5 I commuted on buses & trains in Madras - to college and then work, during which, like you've described here, I was ALWAYS on guard - a file or folder clutched tightly against me, the other hand ready to hit out or scratch, face stern or scowling to ward off the bastards who were likely to think of me as easy prey if i looked nicer or vulnerable. And like you've said, it's the most draining, restricted, frustrated way to go about daily life, and men will have no idea ever how much it takes out of u. To this day, people say I come across as intimidating just thru mere body language and the way I walk, even though I have considerably eased up and no longer feel so threatened.

And, how do you justly 'understand' these men, the perpetrators? In India and Middle Eastern cultures, at least, I would still think it's the active and encouraged segregation of sexes in daily & social life and objectification of women to blame. High sexual frustration, without having legitimate, socially acceptable outlets must also figure. But then that doesn't explain why the majority of molestors are older, married men. On crowded Indian public transport, close proximity to women and the knowledge that you can 'get away with it' (unlike in countries where u could get an arm cut of for touching a woman) must make these men dare to do what they do.

When I started working, I was stunned to meet educated, urban, Westernised men who still thought of women as always 'different', sometimes dispensable and often the ones who had to 'adjust' in order to cohabit, work and live without friction. But that’s another topic of debate altogether.

In sexual molestation or any form of harassment (verbal, physical, at the workplace, bullying at school), it is vital to understand this - it's the following categories of people who are most vulnerable to exploitation: women, the very young, and the seemingly weak. Again, what you call weak is relative (financial, social standing, education, ethnicity, body size/image, are all parameters), and often, the physically disabled/disadvantaged.

Somewhere down the line, I stopped thinking of all this and just tucked away the painful memories. But they never go away. Every single memory is like a mental knife stab, which men, just by virtue of being born their gender, will never ever ever understand what it feels like. At least men with daughters of their own might sympathise or speak up or support women in the issue, but otherwise, sexual harassment and molestation is just bound to continue, as long as men see women as 'different', weaker & vulnerable. In spite of the increasing number of bolder women who WILL speak, act & hit out against the subhuman creatures, the perpetrators.

7:11 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Raj: Thanks for taking the time out to comment. I don't know about sanity. I think it's basic lack of respect for women that makes men do this. As for sons being left on their own without guidance, I have to disagree. The way a father treats his wife (the son's mother) and any sisters in the family is enough guidance for a boy to know how he must treat a girl, don't you think? Welcome to the blog, by the way.

Amber: Thanks for encouragement Amber.

Judy: Funnily enough, in my experience Madras has been the safest place as far as molestation and street harassment is concerned.

Mary: Wow. You should have done this as a guest post for me. You've said so much and with such strength. Thanks so much.

12:03 pm  
Blogger Raj said...

I don't think a girl child in the family can make a difference. Neither does a husbands treatment of his wife, which i still believe has a long way to go (at least from my personal experience). Morons will always look for excuses in their past life (including Tiger woods)

A man's unfettered mind, works only in one direction, unless it gets channelized by their own thought process or by incidents that has had a lasting impression.

I am not sure whether there is a solution to this problem at all. Education might reduce the occurrences, but changing nature - i guess its easier said than done

2:18 pm  
Blogger Rithu`s Dad said...

TRQ/M, i may have gone over too much, that was just becoz whats happening at the yonger age!!

Whats the way other than having your own weapons to protect women from men??

shudnt that start from every ones home??

2:40 pm  
Anonymous Roxana said...

More than 4 yrs of weekend travelling between Bangalore and Chennai has left me more wary (warier?) than I thought possible. For starters, I wear a long kurta and not t-shirts, with my jeans, when I travel. Not so much 'cos its modest, but for the fact that a kurta does not give anyone easy access to/ view of bare skin.I always have my safety pins and a Swiss army knife (no kidding) within easy access. I have poked a man hard with a pin, brandished the knife at a bus conductor and screamed at a man in the bus, with no one for support. I have friends who have had men trying to unhook bras (when they were sleeping on their side, on upper berths), felt up, threatened, cornered (long distance trains during off season). What is disgusting is that, in the end, the girl is always at fault.
A lot of my friends/ colleagues think of this as extreme. I have stopped trying to explain to them. It's about me and I will do whatever it takes to keep me safe. Yet to come across a man my age who doesn't think 'Maybe,just maybe, do you think you are taking this a little too seriously?'.
Nothing separates a molester. In the case of someone I know, it was the 78 yr old Appacha in the adjacent house. Worst part? They lived in a gated medical community and he had been living there for more than 30 yrs!

We can never talk enough about this. Sharing this link with friends.

3:48 pm  
Anonymous Roxana said...

I meant to say - what is disgusting is that, in the end, it is always assumed to be the girl's fault.

3:50 pm  
Anonymous Manju said...

all of us have gone through this and to be honest i dint like the post. y? cos it unnerves me. cos it makes me worry for the lil gals out there and it makes me helpless. i guess i was being the perfect escapist that i am.. if u can be perfect at escapism!!

abt experiences : protected schooling so cant say had much to face then! college. yes men going on cycles trying to grab u as they pass by. seen priests in their garb groping in buses and the victim silently suffering. aftr all if u accuse a priest will ppl listten?? in buses and theatres have used safety pins and blades and other sharp weapons including my long nails at men who tried to act up!

at a rock concert in delhi literally whacked sm guys who played the fool with my lil cousin. and i must say this here if the group had reacted i dunno what wud have happened that nite cos we vr alone... naive. but one of those guys friend protected us. so there are nice men out there.

what i hate most is the argument which most men and sm women have that the women ask for it!!!!!! th at is the heights!

I havenever sat silent; never will. always reacted and protected the gals with me.

but now im worried. and i dnt want to think abt it. i guess its cos of motherhood. i think that weakens u cos u can react but u dnt know how to prepare ur baby for it.

mayb u should also check out this book called bitter chocolate by pinky virani. dnt know if u have hrd of it.

i am very confident of dealing with such characters in india. but to b honest i am scared in oman cos i feel we have no edge cos everything goes in favour of the locals. i have heard of cases where the authorities turn a blind eye.. so im just playing it safe and staying cooped at home!!! for how long is the question??

5:30 pm  
Anonymous A British Gentleman said...

Just a little thought, on the subject of 'what to do about it'. Sadly, the solution on the ultimate scale of wiping out this deplorable practise is a wholesale reform of the way children are brought up. I'm of the belief that idiocy begins - as with charity - at home. This isn't a genetic thing because, as I said, not all men are freaks. Sure, there's the tail-end of the evolutionary imperative to procreate, but attacks like this are driven by a desire for control and dominance, not a desire to perpetuate the species.

Given that most parents do not tend to take it kindly if, for example, the government starts telling people they're doing it all wrong - not to mention the fact that it'd be a dark day for democracy if they started sticking their oar in and taking an active role in the upbringing of every child - it is currently only a short-term solution that I can suggest.

And, finally, I reach the point. I heard, quite a while back now, that people around you are more likely to respond to cries of "FIRE" than they are to "RAPE". I haven't the faintest clue why that is, given that there's usually sod all you can do about a fire, but there you go. This may not necessarily apply to the stories given here, so maybe "THIEF" - while you're chasing him down to beat the crap out of him - may apply.

The other thing is, and I realise that this must sound stupid, but reporting events of this sort is important. Vital, in fact. The world is now littered with security cameras and CCTV cameras and this kind of activity is both inexcusable and illegal. One of the biggest problems faced in rape and molestation cases is the lack of proof - it often unfortunately boils down to a 'your word against his' situation. Get proof and get even.

Of course, me saying all of this is all well and good, but I've never been in this situation before. It's like saying that you should jump in the bath in the event of an earthquake - sound advice, but it's all too easy to just freeze with panic when it comes to the crunch.

5:44 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Raj: I am not saying it will make a difference. All I am saying is boys learn from their father figures how a woman should be treated. And I absolutely agree that at the end of the day, it is each individual's responsibility to figure out how to deal with women.

Rithu's Dad: Yes, it should start at home. Education, reporting an incident and women speaking out irrespective of whether it was a full grab on a lewd comment. That is the way to go.

Roxana: See? This is what I mean. YOu know how mad it makes me to think that you have had to change the way you dress because you don't want to feel vulnerable, because you don't want some grubby fucking hand on you? And I know what you mean about the men who say we are taking too seriously. In some wonderful Karmic way, I've had the last laugh when some men I know have come to up and said they'd build me a temple and all womankind in general, after they had been pawed by a homosexual molester. I like to remind them that we live with that kind of a threat every day. I also ask you and every one else, would they say the same thing if it happened to their wives, girlfriends, sisters, mothers or worse, daughters? And let's not even talk about train journeys and the things that happen on them. No wait a minute. let's bloody talk about them! Let's gather courage to throw these men out of a running train. Thank you so much for sharing, your experience and the link.

Manju: With each new comment I am mad and angry. I am choked with tears of frustration. Roxana changes the way she dresses and you lock yourself up. How mad that makes me. Why should we have to do that. And more power to you girl, for speaking up, for lashing out, for protecting all those women you have.

6:33 pm  
Blogger SunnySmile said...

Wow, that was some post! And it just brought all those memories flooding back... Even incidents of so-called eve-teasing that I had filed away in the deepest recesses of my mind and 'forgotten'. I grew up in Salalah, Oman, with a year in between with my mom's sister's family in Pune.
And while I did see my first male masturbation case in Salalah as a 14-year-old, I don't know if that can be strictly classified in this category. I happened to walk into an empty classroom after school hours to pick up a book I had forgotten and there was one of our temp school peons going at it. To this day, I don't know how I did it but I just walked to my desk, pulled out my book and walked out, running only after I turned the corner and was sure he couldn't see me any more. I mean, he surely wasn't trying to molest me but why was he doing it in my classroom?
Of course, that wasn't my first bad experience... I had a horrible time as a flat-chested nine-year-old in Pune, when a relative would offer to cycle me home from school and this 50+-year-old guy would rub his hand against my thighs and panties! I didn't even know what was happening... just that it seemed so icky! After two days of that, I would sneak off through the back gate when I saw him or pester my older cousin or his friends to give me a ride back. Surprisingly those 14-year-olds never gave me anything more than a brotherly hand up on the cycle!!
My worst experiences were on the roads of Thiruvananthapuram. It's a city which I hate for its barbaric attitude to women. I feel it should be stripped of its status as state capital until its people can be taught to respect women. And this applies to nearly every Tvm-ite I know. Yes, there are exceptions but they are unsatisfactorily few and far between.
Cochin has so far been nice to me. Relatively speaking, that is. Apart from a couple of comments I have never had to deal with much in the eight years I have been here.
My daughter is four years old now and I dread the time when I'll have to tell her to be careful about everything and everybody. Already I am a paranoid parent, going to extreme lengths to keep her safe. But how long can I continue doing that? I just keep praying, and hoping...

12:29 pm  
Blogger Mama - Mia said...

sigh! i dont think there is a single woman who can claim to be "untouched" by these filthy experiences.

i must have been around 12 when a amn groped me in my sleep in an overnight bus. i wasnt even sure. and too young and scared to say anything!

once i was older and traveling by trains etc ofcos i learnt to take care of myself and making a noise. but there must have been so many times i couldnt do either as well! :(


and for life of me i cant figure out why men want to do it except that they are frustrated and basically have no concept of respect for women and their space!

a really powerful post!

1:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

S,

I've jumped on the bandwagon late, but nonetheless can't pass by without commenting! I am near to tears reading ur post and some of the comments. I have been a victim of molestation of different forms, but like one of them said, I have also tried to push it back to the recesses of my memory. For they are painful... far more painful than when my two-wheeler crashed into a wall and I sustained serious injuries, far more painful than when I had to leave my dad and come to Muscat, far more painful than the loss of my loved ones, far more painful than a heartbreak...

The first time I got molested was when my parents went for a party and left my brother and me at this aunty's house. I must have been six. The aunty's brother was in town and as my parents were delayed, she put us to bed. This uncle also comes to lie on the bed and before I knew it, the disgusting creature was running his hand up my thigh and then the spine. I wanted to scream but was too scared. Think I started in believing in God more after that day for the bell rang just before his filthy had could go anywhere else. My parents were back, but I did not have the guts to tell my mom or dad about the incident!

There have been more such indicents - an accidental brush of hand, a kiss from my a cousin that is so not brotherly, groping on the bus (our college used to be near a polytechnic institute and the guys were merciless when it came to molesting girls; they used to shamelessly grasp breasts and butts on the public buses)...as someone who lost her mum at an early age, it was not easy to voice out my emotions. My dad, I know for sure, would have run after the perpetrators with an axe if he had an inkling! But I was scared...I still don't know why I was scared.

As I grew older, something in me changed. The meek self started to give way to the more aggressive self I am today. I have become more vocal and yes, have ninja whacked quite a few guys who have tried anything with me in the last few years.

Coming back to a few of your questions, it's scary to think about the men around us. I mean they are fathers, brothers, husbands, uncles, grandfathers...yet when they see other girls/women, these relationships just vamoosh. At that they become carnal men! And honestly, S, despite have been quiet so may times during my early years, I feel one perfect way to shut them up is to be vocal about their actions!

Sadly, there are many of our ilk, the women, who tell their own daughters/sisters to shut up so that there is no shame brought to the "family". That's where the 'do not want to believe factor' comes in. Pity! Hopefully, the new gen women will bring about a change. U and I have too. And so do all the other women!

I have lived in three countries and visited various cities...this is not restricted to developing or developed countries. It is a disease that is rampant everywhere!! though I will not genralise and say the same of all men, many of them are!

The question as to whether women are responsible depending on the clothes they wear, it's quite a debatable factor. I mean, I wouldn't walk into the Sharjah fish market alone in a spagetti top and shorts...men ogle and also pass lewd remarks. Yet, I wud wear the same to a party!

It's a long fight ahead. And it should not stop with us...we should empower our children (boys and girls) to stand up against such men! Girls and women can do with all the support the world can give us!

2:22 pm  
Blogger Machiavelli said...

When u make the male of a species who is genetically inclined to be predatory in his sexual behaviour live in the same society as the female who has been weakened by so-called civilisation, the only answer is more civilisation. More ways to control male behaviour and more commonly-accepted ways to protect the female. To think of such behaviour as deviant is not the answer, all males are capable of such behaviour. Most have been taught to control it better that's all.

3:16 pm  
Blogger Chica said...

U wrote with such vigour... I wish it wud change things. I have been in similar situations to those u described. Even I walk always fearing to be groped/touched. It is a horrible feeling for sure. Maybe we should start beating the shit outta people who perpetrate this evil. Just thrash them in public view so that they are humiliated. Maybe that will work, or maybe it wont. But atleast the beating will make it better.

3:22 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

A British Gentleman: You're absolutely right about education. That is the only way to go. educate women that they can take action by resorting to the Indian Penal Code Section 298 (A) and (B), in India.
educate lawmakers that the punishment on these sections need to be made more harsh, instead of a paltry fine or a short time in jail. Educate boys and men of every background that women are not public property.
And the desire to control and dominate is definitely what spawns thse actions. But there's another reason -- to defile. TO make a woman, according to the perpetrator, impure so that she would be unacceptable to anyone else. "Purity" or a warped concept of it, is a big thing where Indian men are concerned, I think.
And the thing you said about panic. You know, I don't know many Indian women who's panic in situations like this. We'd be traumatised, we'd be sick, we'd be scared but panic, I don't think so. Because we've been living with things like ever since we've had a memory. We live with it everyday.
Reporting is one thing that I actively encourage. SO thank you for bringing it up. I tend to tell all my friends to go ahead and speak up, because there is a way out of this. The law affords us a way to deal with it even though we might end up being mummified in red tape.

SunnySmile:Trivandrum's bad is it? I've never been tehre so I can't quite tell you. But I feel teh same way about bangalore. Hostile, misogynistic and mean. Taking away innocence like that, misusing trust, those are such painful issues for me. You got lucky with Cochin. I've had some horrific experiences there, one as recent as five months ago, when I dragged the offender to the police station. He grabbed me as I walked towards a restaurant with my christmas shopping in one hand and my daughter in the other. I dropped everything, including daughter, on the kerb, chased him down and dragged him to the police. Cochin has shown me flashers, followers, roadside romoeos, everything. And at the risk of sounding overbearing, you should already tell your daughter what touch and people she should stay away from. Welcome to the blog.

Mama-Mia: Thank you for writing in. And thank you for drawing from within and making a noise everytime something happens to you. More power to you! Welcome to the blog.

Anon: YOu too like Mary, should have written to me, I would have carried these as guest posts. The pain and anger is so evident, and I honestly think we all need a little professional help to get a little normal. I still think you should be able to go to a fish market in the clothes you described and be able to come out without being stripped of comfort. Hugs, and thank you for sharing!

Machiavelli: True everyone is capable of everything. But you talk of the two sexes as if they have been forced into one society, instead of it being hte most natural way of life, which it is. Or maybe I understand wrong. And your statement -- that is what we are all looking for. What are more acceptable ways of protecting women? What are more ways to control male behaviour? I'd love it if you could explain a little more and thanks for commenting. Welcome to the blog, btw.

Chica: Thank you Chica, for writing in. The only way to change things is to constantly and consistently tell mroe and more women taht they need to speak out. And yes beating the living day lights out of these men, put the fear of god and women with sharp things/pepper spray on them. I hope you never have to face something like this but if you do, I hope you'll cause greivous harm. Welcome to the blog, by the way.

3:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It takes a lot of courage to even put up a post like this, TRQ. And I'm glad you had it in you to do it.

I come from a relatively protected upbringing - never had to use a bus for more than 1-2 kms and had the good fortune of having guy friends who would watch out for us girls all the way through. We used to go for tuitions at 5 in the morning and these friends would sit right behind us in the bus, walk behind us, basically keep an eye out till we were safely in class/home. After reading some of the accounts here, I realize how darn lucky I have been.

For your question 2, IMO, it's the upbringing and a lack of inherent respect for any woman (mom, sister, wife, daughter). For them, women are mere objects of pleasure and nothing else. Explains why they even have this sense of entitlement to grope.

One of my friends once told me how horrible he had felt when a homosexual guy gave him this completely lecherous look and, to use his words, 'undressed him with his eyes'. And he asked me how we girls go through this torture every day of our lives. I had no answer for him. It's probably something we're born with - adjusting our clothes, keeping an eye on every male person nearby, maintaining a safe distance from any living creature around - all these are like second nature to us, like breathing or blinking our eyes.

My husband never lets me walk even 100-200 mts in a shopping district. He's always a step in front of me, literally making way for me through the crowds. It makes me cry at times - our loved ones should not have to go through this nightmare, of having to watch out for their women every minute.

I probably don't have a lot to add to your post. It's just that we rarely get a chance to talk about such things openly (I dont know why!!!).

I sincerely hope and pray that none of us have to go through such incidents in our lives ever.

-- CP.

4:23 pm  
Anonymous A concerned guy said...

I was shocked on reading this. Thanks so much for opening up and sharing your experience with us.
Because most women resort to silence on such issues, people like us aren't even aware that such a situation exists. I was under the impression that such incidents are one in hundreds, if not one in thousands.
My sister travels in public buses, and so does my girlfriend.
The latter did tell me some incidents like this happened to her when she was alone, but reading this, I feel she told even me only the most extreme ones, choosing to keep silent on what she thought was 'minor'.
The truth is that where the dignity of women is concerned, nothing is too minor.
If the most minor of incidents goes unreported, it gives the pervert motivation for more. Absolutely unacceptable. I would even say that women should report even incidents that seem to be hardly molestation. Better to err on the side of safety.
Also, as others have said in their comments, I'd like to reassure you that chivalry still exists in the world and I'm certainly insulted to be categorized with people who behave this way.
Apart from creating a big scene every time this happens(which you already do, I guess), it would do good to discuss what happened with all your male(non pervert) friends. Educate the non perverts to fight the perverts I say. If everyone realizes how big an issue this is, some information might creep into the pervert mind too. It MIGHT make a difference.
Also, are you aware if there are any NGOs dealing specifically with such issues? Any websites/links?
On a closing note, I think this post would do a lot of good if it was published in the papers. Make people see the problem first. What do you have to say on that?

4:40 pm  
Anonymous Saurabh said...

Let me admit this is a very brave post. The incidents you described are extremely sick and deplorable. I am well traveled but have not heard as many stories like these in other countries.
Nobody has the right to violate personal space. In India, I see a sheer lack of respect towards women in specific, law and order in general. India, in a way, is a strange place where the religion most of the people follow has female goddesses and it also has the worst track record on the girl child births. Sadly, I think the latter is most of the people (men and women) belong.
Again it is this sense of respect that separates a regular man (may be a minority) from a molester.
When I was travelling to a place known for its violence/street crimes one person said - If you walk like a tourist you are bound to be the target but if you behave as if you walk on this road everyday then nothing will happen. I suppose the women, at times, give signals which convey something like- she is scared and vulnerable. But, if they have been through experiences that you described then I am not sure how to rebuild the confidence.
There is a need for an extreme measure/punishment which sets an example that deters men to perform such actions. There is a need to improve the policing and judicial systems which should be not are under the influence of politicians. And of course, change the thinking of people to respect females and humanity in general. For this we need better education, end to stupid superstitions.

4:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CP, again! Just remembered something..

There was this junior colleague of mine who was just 6-8 months old in the company. She came to me one day and said she's having issues with her super-boss (manager's manager) - apparently, he forces her to stay back late at work even for trivial issues, sits on her desk and keeps talking about arbit things all the time, comments on her clothes, etc. She was finding it very uncomfortable and was even contemplating quitting her job.

I was shocked, to say the least. I was always under the impression that my workplace was very women-friendly and all the men around were decent professional folks who would never do things like this. I was mistaken.

I told her to contact her manager (who happened to be a lady) and loop in HR. Our company also has an anon-hotline kinda thing where we can call up and raise our concerns. So naive of me! She did no such thing because finally it was her word (a 6 month old newbie) against that of an established Director (10+ yrs in the same company) and she was pretty darn sure it will get ugly. She quit after a month.

So, in a lot of cases, even reporting it or talking about it can backfire on us. In the corporate world, they take sexual harassment very seriously - ergo, the investigations that go into the allegations are also serious. If they have enough 'political' clout in the workplace, these scumbags can get out it easily and put the entire blame on the girl. My colleague was worried about this exact thing - she was unmarried and didn't want her name dragged through mud. She found it easier to quit and move to another office. She didn't have an answer when I asked her what she'll do if the same thing happens there also.

She at least had the option of quitting and finding work elsewhere - what about women who cannot quit due to financial reasons, who put up with such nonsense day in and day out? Women who work in small time offices where there's no redressal mechanism in place for sexual harassment? I shudder just thinking of their plight. All I can hope for is they have the strength to get through all this.

-- CP.

4:59 pm  
Blogger Machiavelli said...

Thanks:) We already have good methods to modify natural male behaviour to suit social life. Counselling in the more liberal places to beheadings in some places. Essentially all this have to make men scared enough to keep mind over body. And i disagree...society as it is now is not the most natural way of life but the most convenient. This a piece I wrote on rape some time back http://bit.ly/aC6IRH Might be hard to digest but essentially agrees with u

5:02 pm  
Blogger Akshay said...

You have raised some amazing questions that need a lot of thought while answering and some answers may be really controversial and raise even more questions.

1. What sexual pleasure does a man derive from molesting a 6 year old girl? Is the problem psychological,social, or personal? I mean even if a man is sexually frustrated unmarried and cannot get enough sex what does he see in a small child? For that matter what do many "holy babas" and "priests" find in small children?

2. Small things lead to big results? If men at home dont respect their women, their children are not going to.

3. Pornography has a huge role to play. Female assets are exaggerated and shown to be solely for pleasuring men. While people can make an active choice of watching porn who will educate them about its after effects. Have seen so many teenagers gaping at women and their assets because many of them dont talk to girls. So women are objects of desire. Some people take it too far and others stand and just watch and comment.

4. Bollywood has a significant contribution to eve teasing. Ladki naa bolegi matlab haan hai, aati kya khandala, road side guy gets the babe, rapes are glorified, songs are titillating, heroes effortlessly seduce women, no female oriented movies in mainstream are some of the reasons why perception of women in society is left to being an object of a man's desire.

There are some of my views. Rape should be treated at par with murder and justice should be swift. Any lawyer asking questions to embarrass the victim should be treated at par with rapist and women should carry mace and spray at the face of any damn male pig.

5:22 pm  
Blogger Maddy said...

First of all I would like to say…..What you did for the man is the right thing. Congrats. I am sure he would think twice before even looking at another girl.

As long as a girl/lady is confident enough to fight it out, I guess half of the problem can be tackled by them. I wish I could make my teenager daughter to read this and give her the confidence to tackle this menace.

I don't know if I have an answer your questions because even I am wondering.....is it because they were not properly educated, or women in their family not treated in a good manner,are these people think it is adventure(until caught), is it animal instinct?

5:40 pm  
Anonymous A said...

how come the only non-reaction from you in this post has been involving an official colleague , that too a senior. Strangers, you did raise your voice against. Why is that?
Professional dilemma? Very curious to know

6:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

S- This post brought back several buried memories. I've gone through some terrible experiences with men both as a child and as an adult.

Although I would love to say it’s the place that makes the difference, I believe it’s the person. I say this from my own experiences from being in Muscat, India and now Canada.
There are some very sick men out there, who feel that it’s their divine duty to physical touch and be inappropriate with a child and or adult of both genders. Unfortunately, if these perv's have an inkling that they can get away with it, they will try and reach out or brush past or in more serious cases fondle and be intimate.
Sadly what most of us girls and women take away with us when we go through these un-kind memories; is how to react the next time/ what to teach our kids/how it effects us with our partners and other male friends and or older male acquaintances.

It's burdening to always be “on alert".

Although currently, these topics on “molestation”, “incest” and “rape” governs attention, we definitely need more visualization.

Thank you for this post and for the others that shared their comments. I take refugee in knowing I am not alone.

7:39 pm  
Blogger AJVJ said...

I guess there is one main reason behind these incidents:
The whole arranged marriage setup.. i don't think most Indian men are happy with their spouses and some of them, kinda show that resentment/suppressed malice towards other women..
In my opinion, if there is atleast one woman u love in yr life, be it yr mom,sister,wife or gf, u won't be doing this stuff to other women..
That said, nobody is a saint and an occasional 'checking out' is pretty normal, and girls shud not go paranoid abt that..!

10:16 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

CP: You are one very lucky woman. And I hope you never have to face even one moment of molestation ever. But you know, like you said, why should we have to go through this, why should our families and those who love us have to go through this. My husband would get into a fist fight with a man who touched me, if I haven't already given the guy a good beating. But I don't want him to. About your colleague, I honestly think she should have ahead with the complaint. But as she didn't, let me tell you something and I hope you will tell her too. Because if she's faced it once, I am pretty sure she's face it again. In companies, especially those thoughtful enough to have a cell that takes women's complaints where sexual harassment at work is concerned, are mortally scared of even one small complaint. It would have been this girl's word against her boss's. If the company had taken her word lightly -- as you both assumed because she was new -- then they'd have dug their own grave, because if she had known better, seh would have gotten the Women's Commission or other such organisation involved and the press would haev had a field day with the reputation of your company. Remember, the minute a complaint about sexual harassment goes into the system, it is taken extremely seriously, even if the complainant is 1 day old in the organisation. No one wants a Phaneesh Murthy on their hands. I hope you'll remember that. This is in fact matter for a whole different post. Thank you for taking the time to comment and for signing off with initials :)

A concerned guy: I am shocked that you are shocked. I thought everyone knew how common this problem was and as I read more comments I reaslise that most men have no idea that this is happening on a daily basis with women who are out there on the streets going about their work, like me. I am a journalist and a lot of my work requires that I step out of office. I use a lot of ricks, no buses, and my legs to get me places. And almost everyday there's a bit of molestation -- either someone felt me up, or someone passed a lewd comment or someone stared at my breasts. And I agree with everything else you've said, making a scene, enlisting male friends to help and that if you keep quiet, it is encouragement for the perpetrator to become bolder. Thank you so much for saying this. And I know there are a whole lot of good men out there, you know; thankfully my life is full of them as family and friends. Thanks for standing up and being counted in that list. I don't know about NGOs but a woman called Jasmeen Patheja is doing some fantastic work with her project called Blank Noise. I have no statistics on its reach and results but I am all for what she does. You can find her work at http://blog.blanknoise.org/ I urge all of you to head there to know more about this problem.

Saurabh:Thank you for your kind words and your time. You've made some very valid points but I've got to tell you, I've realised men pick on women irrespective of the vibe, the clothes, the age, the physical attributes, beauty etc. So some men might want to traumatise a woman who looks scared adn vulnerable, and others might want to bring a woman like me -- who looks the world in the face -- down a peg or two. Again, as A British Gentleman observed, it's about control.

11:34 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Machiavelli: Heading over to your link now. Counselling? Do you honestly believe you can get most of these men to say they've done something wrong and get them counselled? I don't think so. They believe it's a bit of fun, nothing to get all worked up about. And the minute a woman retaliates she's a bitch. You really think counselling is a solution?


Akshay: Thanks for taking the time out to comment. If you aren't a paedophile, you'll never know what pleasure a man can find in little children. As for sexually frustrated, you'll be surprised to know, that most offenders are men past their prime, married and most of the time sexually active. It isn't the lack of sex that causes this depravity as far as I am concerned. Bang on about responsible pornographic viewing and Bollywood's warped warped idea of a woman, consent and what counts as invading personal space. Thank you so much for making thsoe very important points.


Maddy: Thanks for your comment. You know, the things I've listed here, are only a few. My original list is longer... A neighbor father-son duo molesting me when I was 6 or 7. A playmate of mine, only a year older than me, when I was 7, another ex-boss who tried his tricks in a very clumsy manner, a man who grabbed my butt when I was taking my grandmum to hospital. My list, like msot women, I know goes on. And not a single one of them is minor for me. I hope you will send this to your daughter so that she can take care of herself, so taht she knows it's a dirty world out there, that coexists with the protected one she now perceives. Every girl and woman should be prepared to deal with this. Also just being confident enough to react only solves the problem on a day to day basis, not permanently, lastingly. Also my other point is women shouldn't have to face that. It drains them out so much to beat up a man every day, to walk protectively, to live life out there on tenterhooks.


A: It's still a source of shame for me that I didn't report it. I don't know why I didn't. Maybe I didn't want unpleasantness at work, maybe I thought I was responsible for being in that position by accepting the lift back home and so I was to blame. I have no answers. I just cannot understand why I didn't do it. SInce then, I have reported another senior and today I am brave enough to not mind unpleasantness at work because of it. Then I was not.


Anon: You've got the right word, such a burder to walk alert all the time! Thank you for commenting adn taking the time out.


AJVJ:I don't think I agree about the arranged marriage thing. Let's not blame that tradition for yet another fault in society. And as I said in my comments earlier, I am all for a nice once-over if it stops at that. Men and women equally love being checked out and I have no hassles with that. And please understand that MOST women have no paranoia about being checked out it. It's when men go further that we want to burn the city down.

11:35 pm  
Blogger hardik said...

Hi,
I read the article but didn't have time to read the comments . Forgive me if what I say has already been covered.

As far as Muscat goes, I think it has come a long way since you were 13-14 years old. If you know which places are the wrong ones to be at the wrong times, you can be pretty much safe 100%. Stay away from Baluchi areas, narrow streets after dark. I think Al-Khuwair is a very safe area to live - compared to Ruwi..

And regarding all your questions about men, I think those men are stereotypical MCPs and really don't know where to draw the line - they either don't think or they do think and lie to themselves.

Regarding dealing with molestation on a personal level, I would highly not recommend chasing men - as they usually run off to the places where you would likely be cornered by others of their sort. I personally know one friend who attempted to chase a molester and almost ended up getting raped. It's a big NO NO.. Please please never try to be a hero and chase - Stay as near to the general public as possible.

My answers from the top off my head would be -

1. Basic Animal Instinct

2. I would say a disdain for women - most molesters are MCPs

3. I wouldn't know - I guess they lie to themselves and draw the line there.

4. I wouldn't be so arrogant as to call women responsible for this - but yes, if more severe actions are taken then more men will shy away.

5. I don't know - use one of those electric tazers and direct it at his genitals ( I highly recommend all women carry around tazers )

6. I've only stayed in Oman and India so I can't comment beyond that..

12:28 am  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Hardik: I am assuming you aren't a woman. Otherwise you woulnd't say many things that you've said here. I take offense to what you said, "don't try to be a hero." Do you realise we chase and hit these men because we want retribution for those men touching our body without our consent? Because they dare to think it's okay? We don't do it to be heroes, Hardik, we do it because we are hopping mad, we are murderously angry, we do it to be able to look into our own eyes.
Good point about chasing someone down into strange alleys. But I think if we can't catch up with a man within 30 meters of him running, we don't give chase.
Wrong place, wrong time. That could be said of any place in the whole world. Muscat has come a long way since 88 - 97, which is when I still lived here continuously (my family still lives here, has been here for 22 years and I've visited them every year. I have in fact moved here this year.)? How do you say that? Did you grow up here too? As recent as last week I got grabbed by a man while walking in khuwair, was at the receiving end of lewd comments and got honked at by passing cars. This involved Indians and Omanis as well, no Baluchis. Every day I hear worse stories than mine. Al Khuwair is safe? Please read this earlier post of mine http://therestlessquill.blogspot.com/2010/03/night-at-police-station.html and tell me if this is the mark of a safe area.
Thank you for taking the time to comment. Encourage your female friends to speak about the things they face, maybe you'll get another more accurate picture.

12:51 am  
Blogger AJVJ said...

@TRQ: well i don't think u comprehend..prob u had a good husband and u were LUCKY..most people are prob not...they might be good ppl individually but if they lack compatibility, life becomes hell..why else do you think that most molesters are middle aged men with a family n kids n al tat..?
If you love yr wife, you won't have the need to grab someone else's privates!

7:53 am  
Blogger AJVJ said...

and the whole arranged marriage thing is something that's been forced upon us..i don't think things were the same 500/1000 years ago...i'm just digressing here..

7:56 am  
Blogger Machiavelli said...

U missed my main point. Counselling works for some but I also mentioned beheading in the same sentence. My point is getting the male to control his natural instincts by whichever means applicable. If all of us were left to our natural behaviour the men will try to force themselves on any healthy woman they can find and the women will be fighting off all such men till she finds one healthy enough to mate with. She will also get rid of the man as soon as possible because he will only be a burden to her after childbirth. BUT since our capability of higher reasoning revolts against this natural behaviour and institutions like marriage was thought up to control it.

8:51 am  
Blogger Akshay said...

Hi All

We seem to be confusing the whole issue of molestation with "man is an animal, curb his instinct" behavior.There are two major factors that determine human behavior ( man or woman). The first is genetics and the second is social conditioning. Genetics is relatively simpler to understand much more complicated to predict. Social conditioning on the other hand has a lot to do with perceptions. Your upbringing, exposure to world, understanding of world etc depends on what you see around you, what you discuss with friends, what you think you can get away with and many such things. So this whole thing of man is an animal so he has carnal tendencies to violate anyone is rubbish. Its scientifically nonsense. Social conditioning is responsible for this perception which is strengthened all around the world by news, movies, sleazy channels etc. Women and men have to be brave to change this mindset. If instead of showing how badly a women was raped in a lonely area, news focuses on how the severely culprits were punished such cases would automatically decrease. Its like lottery. If lottery adds show 1Lakh people who lost instead of 3 who one, no one would buy lottery.
Even animals do not go around forcing themselves all the time. Monkeys, Bees, even lion prides are matriarchal in nature. So these blind perceptions are indeed ruining us. Its time to de-glamorize sex instead of making a billion dollar industry out of it because its suits everyone to keep it behind wraps. Middle aged men are worst molesters. Mainly because family grows so loss of personal space in home, they dont share relationship with wives where they can discuss their sexual fantasies, wives during menopause lose interest in sex and droves of such men drink together, make sleazy jokes and decide that molestation is a bit of fun. Once slapped in Public most of them will think thrice before doing it. Its not genetic for men, just social conditioning.

9:27 am  
Blogger Akshay said...

Also please stop spreading the gospel of men are animals. If for 20 years bollywood and hollywood showed men grabbing another man in the privates arouses one man, many men will be groped and grabbed in the streets by other men believing in the absolute truth of what they see and believe. No animal does that.

Its just so typical to follow and believe everything you see without thinking about it. What being a man means is defined by Axe, Sunny Deol, Tom Cruise, Levis, and your own perceptions. So please spare everyone of any more discussion on Men are animals.

9:40 am  
Blogger Machiavelli said...

@Akshay Isn't your suggestion of publicising punishment also social conditioning? And isn't social conditioning essentially curbing natural instincts? I am not against it. In fact I am all for it. Publicising of penalty and public punishment comes somewhere in between the counselling and beheading I mentioned as ways of curbing natural behaviour in a previous comment.

9:47 am  
Anonymous tomboy said...

Really. Every woman has to go through this. Grabbing, backslapping and maybe worse. If you are travelling on a public transport every day then you have to prepared for it every single day. It becomes a part of life, we start expecting it and device ways to defend ourselves. But Man! Can we not live in peace and without this stress? Can we not just take a walk with our defences down and feel free? Is that too much to ask for? The sad part is that this is prevelant all over the world!

10:11 am  
Blogger Akshay said...

Absolutely buddy, when you publicize punishment, you are using the social conditioning to your advantage to prevent such episodes of disgust. Natural instincts are really very few and mostly reflex. You touch a hot thing withdraw your hand. That's natural. Someone hits you. Whether you hit back or not is your conditioning. If you really look deep inside you, you realize that you can see the reason why you respond they way you do. So the scope of natural behavior is actually very limited and minimal.

12:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,
This is an excellent post. In a way, because atleast girls who have not been exposed to any of the above so far will become aware of all the difficulties they have up ahead for them. But there is a reason why I am anonymous and the reason is shame. Here all of them talk of standing up to men who do such things. In most cases, I have stood up against them. I am ashamed of the some cases where I chose to ignore them. The thing is the mind seems to be so occupied with personal problems that these issues even though they add to our distress, fail to take top priority. The attitude becomes: this keeps happening all the time. Why should I waste my time creating an issue. I have loads of other things to do.

If you have any suggestion to improve the courage women usually possess for standing up for themselves that ll be great. Because all my friends who are girls are very similar to me in this respect.

12:43 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

AJVJ: I don't comprehend for sure. I have a great husband and I got lucky. But, and you don't need to know this, this is my second time around and I know what hell exists when there's no compatibility. But arranged marriage to be blamed for molestation, incompatability and 9/11, I don't think so. Also, at the risk of offending you, love has nothing to do with the desire to control.

Machiavelli: Hmm I don't think it's that simple. And I probably missed your point, the first time around. I think we don't give enough credit to natural behaviour. What is to say that natural behavior doesn't include seeking companionship. But I totally agree with you about getting men to control their instinctive urge to dominate and control.

Akshay: I don't think anyone's confusing the issue. I perfectly agree with you on the nurture versus nature difference. You definitely may have a point about why middle-aged men do it more than others. I never thought of it like that. Just one thing, where in the post did you get the impression that I was "spreading the gospel" that men are animals? I love men and I love animals, and I like to think I know a little about both, although, admittedly, the latter are easier to understand. I don't think anyone here thinks "men are animals". Meanwhile, if anyone DID say that, they don't mean they are four-legged creatures, all they mean to allude to is the animal instinct in all of us that makes predators out of us. I don't think anyone means to allude to sexual behaviour of animals. And you know, the scope of natural behaviour is a lot more than we credit it. Just watch your children, if you have any, and you'll see, how they learn things without them ever having seen anyone do it.

Tomboy: Amen. That's all I am asking. Can we not walk free like our men do? Welcome to the blog.

Anonymous:
Not having responded some of the time is nothing to be ashamed of. Very few women are raised to fight when they are molested. Most of us are taught to "dress decently", "walk decently", "not attract attention" and to ignore "small things". So it isn't your fault if you haven't reacted. YOu don't need to add shame to what we already feel when we get off the street. And the one thing that gives me courage to react is the anger I feel at being violated. Your body is yours and you have the right to its safety. No one should be allowed to touch it. Also I think, tomorrow it could be my sister, mother, daughter facing this and then I am ready for murder.

1:41 pm  
Blogger meteoraqueen said...

Such a brave attempt, the blog! I have never talked about the incidents out ever. Every single woman, must have gone through the whole thing.

2:05 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

meteoraqueen: Can I ask you why not? Thanks and not take away from your acknowledgement but this didn't seem brave at all because I talk about it so often. It just got out of hand recently and I had to vent.Btw, welcome to the blog.

2:10 pm  
Blogger Akshay said...

Hi Restless quill. The gospel bit was not for you but for other people who talked about animal instinct in man. That word is also misconstrued almost to show man's supposed superiority over animals :).

Sorry if you thought that that comment was meant for you. Even i did not confuse animal to animal instinct but even the word animal instinct is not being fair to animals. Many animals may feel really ashamed to be compared to many sexual predators you mention in your post :)

2:46 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Akshay: Oh okay, I thought maybe I said something that gave off that impression. And no need to apologise, please, we're just clearing things up here no? :) And I couldn't have said better what you said about these offenders putting animals to shame! Well said.

3:08 pm  
Anonymous B u b b l e s said...

An awesome post TRQ. I'd never have the courage to put this all down. The more I read.. the more I squirmed in my seat..The first time I was molested.. I was 5.. At that point I didn't quite realise what was happening.. It was unspeakable.. Over the years.. many more incidents happened.. And its all scarred me to such an extent that I never travel alone in a men's compartment in a train. Like you mention.. I am ever alert and all that.. Initially I used to keep quiet... The fault is on me.. Tamil cinema induced I am filth type of reasoning. But not anymore..

Thanks for writing this and stirring up a few emotions!! Sharing it to friends and on twitter.

3:47 pm  
Blogger Undercover Dragon said...

Bravo TRQ!!!!

Simply wonderful.

We all need to work on the answers to your questions and the potential solutions.

Undercover Dragon

5:01 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Bubbles: Thank you for your kind words. I hate how popular cinema has perpetrated such atrocity on the mind of the Indian woman, and the man too. I am not too much of a film buff so it never even struck me that it could have been an influence. Thank you so very much for sharing it. I hope you know better than to think it is your fault, now. Even if you don't beat your molester up, at least raise your voice, gather a crowd, give him something to worry about.

UD: Thanks very much. From where I stand, the problem looks huge. And solutions few and far between. But thank you for the encouragement.

6:02 pm  
Blogger hardik said...

TRQ, it was absolutely not my intention to offend women by calling you 'heroes' - I merely meant to say it just like your dad would - no ill will or malice, but only concern for your (women) safety.

Also, I spent a lot of my childhood years in Muscat ( 97-06 ) and I was always under the assumption Al Khuwair was a relatively safe area for living. I am extremely sorry for all that you had to endure. Maybe I was protected against knowing all this stuff ( you know how Indian parents are ) , and apologize if my ignorance showed in my last comment.

I think if the issue becomes a national one - stricter punishments for offenders has to be levied on people. If in some countries, blasphemy can be punishable by death , then so can molestation..

9:32 pm  
Anonymous R said...

Just wanted to add to what you said about companies taking these complaints seriously. I work for Phaneesh Murthy's ex-company. The Grievance redressal body here is one of the strongest I hear of. We define sexual harassment as anything that can be construed as offensive by the other person. So if you are ok with your male colleague commenting on your 'nice clothes' and I am not, I still have the freedom to raise it as a concern. And get a hearing. I do not have statistics to talk about here, given the extreme confidentiality (the extremity has to be seen to be believed) of this Body, but that is the beauty of it - this sense of security and confidentiality. Most women refuse to report due to the fear or threat that they percieve to their jobs.
Which brings me to the lesser (I dont believe there is such a thing as a lesser crime, only what is construed to be so) crimes like commenting on a woman's clothes/weight loss/ good looks - where does one draw the line? What about the men at work who think nothing of talking to my chest? The passing glances? Men who disrobe you with their eyes? Lots of questions and an attempt to find answers.

7:05 am  
Blogger AJVJ said...

@TRQ: well i thought u didn't comprehend...now i know u DON'T..

All you feminists wanna hear is -men must be controlled/punished, female empowerment,women are helpless,laws must be stricter,molesters must be lynched and that sorta things...
Well I guess its your blog and your views..and some of it is true..
but imagine, if someone has a lovely wife at home(whom he loves/likes blah blah), would he go about doing those nasty things??

Psychologically speaking, only when u hate the women around you do you molest someone else on the road..

I'm not saying arranged marriage is the only reason, but just tat most molesters are ppl vexed with their marital life..
Apart from tat, another contributing factor is the whole "sex is taboo, desires are carnal, kids must be protected" atmosphere tat most indian kids are brought up in..even If there's a kissing scene in a movie, ppl close their kids eyes n do all sortsa stupid things...It is just not a mentally healthy scenario to grow up in..All the parents are doing is making the kid feel guilty about his sexuality, and for some, this frustration can have a tipping point..
I am only glad I was not brought up in such a restricted environment..

P.S. please try to argue/think cogently..sorry if i'm being harsh or anything..

9:06 am  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

R: Thank you so very much for that comment! I totally and wholeheartedly appreciate you putting it down in such detail. I am sure it will give a lot of women the courage they need to pull up offenders. Thanks again.

AJVJ: Alright, I've had it with your ignorance and assumption on this topic. Firstly, you astound me; you call us feminists and say in the same the breath that we want to hear "women are helpless." I suggest you go back and understand what feminism means. Then go back, read my post and tell me what I said indicates that I want to annihilate all men without reason.
We "feminists" don't wnat to just "hear" men must be "punished/controlled, female empowerment, laws must be stricter, molesters must be lynched". WE WANT TO SEE IT HAPPEN TO OUR MOLESTERS, WHO HAPPEN TO BE MEN. Let me be very clear about that. Feminists or not, all women want their victimisers to be pulled up and punished.
I wonder if you would so callous, flippant and generalising if it was your mother or sister or at the receiving end of such behavior.
Just because your point of view is different from mine, it does not mean I am not arguing cogently or coherently. I would suggest you open up your mind a little, then come back and read the post, instead of insisting that your point of view/opinion is actual fact. It's not.
Agree with you about the mentality though, protecting your children from sex and it's implications is a very unhealthy way to bring them up. Thankfully, most urban parents don't do it. And most people from my generation didn't grow up like that. I am happy to note that you too belong to taht category.

12:54 pm  
Anonymous Mayank said...

What a post! Bravo girl. who ever you are. you just put what all i always wanted (but could not) in a bog post.

I have half-written a post on similar lines, will get back once i am done with it.

5:02 pm  
Blogger AJVJ said...

hey hey...i am not saying anything about what a girl should do when someone molests her..
all i was doing was trying to answer your question as to why some men resort to these sorta things..that's all..there is ntn callous in probing( or atleast trying to) deep the reasons behind such ghastly acts...
i was not asking you to agree with me...your previous post was the first one where you showed some logic in your arguments...all the previous ones were mere slander and "i dont understand what he's saying but his argument can't be right" attitude..
think again- middle aged family men, friendly "uncles",neighbours constitute a huge chunk of sexual harassers..don't you think there is some common underlying problem?
If yes, what could that be?
could the sexually repressed environment,denied right to choose your partner, unhappy marriages be the reasons?
Could be..that's all I'm saying..could be..
we need more discussion and not a "oh you're wrong, JUST WRONG" attitude..
Please explain to me where my attitude has been flippant/callous this whole time?

But again, its ok..u don't need to answer that...let's just move on..

6:24 pm  
Anonymous vimoh said...

A female friend of mine related an incident once. She was in a Mumbai ATM, withdrawing money when the ATM guard started chatting her up. She kept talking to him out of politeness without looking at him. When she eventually did turn around and see him, she found that he had been masturbating all along.

I wanted her to take me to the ATM but she didn't want to. Trauma.

Regarding your responses, I think you do great (the chasing down and the beating up and the defences) but I am also sad that you have to.

7:21 pm  
Anonymous Shuchi said...

Hi,

I am sorry for such a late comment, but I once i read your post and the comments that followed, I really could not stop myself from adding my 2 cents.

There are a few things I find very scary. Your post has prompted almost every female commenter to recount such an incident. Almost every girl I speak to, age 15 up, would have one or more such incidents to report.So I guess I can assume we all go through this at one point of time or the other. When I realise this, I am scared to let little girls I care about alone with anyone. Even friends and relatives. Even the nice old uncle living next door. Even old ladies.

Old ladies, cos when I was a kid, my next door neighbour lured me into her place and made me sit in her husband's lap, so that the jerk could grope me. the couple was in their 60s. I never went back to their house.
But i never could find the courage to tell anyone either.

Soon I learnt to expect such behaviour each time i got into a public place, irrespective of the city or the kind of people-educated or otherwise- who were present. And soon I went from scared to scary- the conductor of my regular bus started keeping 2 front seats reserved for me and keep all men away from me after a few scenes.

But after marriage, when I told my husband about any such incident, his first reaction was genuine surprise. Followed by disgust. Followed by a suggestion that I should " not fight back, who knows what he might do!".While I appreciate his concern for my safety, I was genuinly shocked that he wanted me not to defend myself! Poor guy had to sleep on the sofa for a long while after that.

I dont understand how men can live in this world and not know that molestation is taking place all around them, to the women they love best.

Last bit. In teh small town I grew up in, "eve-teasing" was pretty common. Well, a friend of mine was on her way back from tutions at around 8 PM when a guy began following her down the semi-lit alley, making lechourous comments, abusing her mom, sis etc. Finally she had enough n took off her chappal to hit him. Imagine her feelings when she turned aroung to find it was her own brother!

He ran away then, but she sobbed the whole way home.

8:17 pm  
Blogger Vibhuti B said...

Each comment here is a story in itself and you have done full justice to a subject that is of grave concern to women, not only in India but everywhere I suppose.
Such creeps know no age bar for themselves or their victims. They continue to letch and Flash! The ugly things that they are without only shows they are so very much within too..If I even start to list out experiences of such kind whilst I grew up in Mumbai, it will make another post here in the comments section..After all the above comments I can only thank you that u have given us a neat sounding board at ur blog but I see very feeble hope that it can ever be eradicated completely, eve-teasing or molesting , call it whatever u may!

10:36 pm  
Blogger Richa said...

"I am just trying to understand if India, because it is so varied, has such elements and because by and large we don't have dress codes, that this happens to women. Does wearing an abaya, being brought up in a mostly segregated society and not having as many freedoms as women from other places have its advantages as far as molestation is concerned?"

I have spent last six years of my life in States. So as for question of dress-code: they don't have any here.And yet I have never experienced any kind of molestation on road or anywhere, except when I in an Indian gathering (the reason I have stopped going to those).

Growing up in India, I had often heard the phrases like: "Boys will remain the same and we can't change them. hence we should dress, behave, plan our lives so that we don't attract attention from them." You get the point: in our society we blame women for attracting such "attention" while the sexual predators roam free. Victims are blamed and made to feel guilty. Why? Because we live in a patriarchal society and who will dare to question the right of a man to do whatever they want and get away with it.

Nice post..

12:43 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am from chennai, am 23 f, every time i hear of molestation i keep wondering how it happens because i have never been molested before here.. may be some cat callings from local guys on road if i wear some modern dress.. tats all.. i have never heard of molestation from my other girl friends too.. but all news i see in the newspapers about molestation really boils my blood and if such case ever happens with me i wont stop at bating him rather i wod drag him to a police station and see that he gets proper thrashings and punishments, if possible being jailed for some time..

10:16 am  
Anonymous Smitha said...

I think that molestation is everywhere. No country can be guaranteed to be safe. I am an average looking girl and I think my first molestation experience was when I was around 11-12 years old. I didn't even understand what was happening then, tough I caught on after a few mins. I was all ready to reciprocate with whatever weapons I had, but the next attack never came. I so regret that I couldn't harm that SOB that day. The people in India and other countries where women are protected and kept under wraps experience these type of minor incidents whereas in countries like US, the crimes are bigger, I mean molestation is on a larger scale. Is it some kind of mental problem or hormonal imbalance or a lack of a much needed good kick on the person's ass is something to be researched on. I hope to find an answer soon coz I don't want my daughter to experience what I experienced.

4:11 am  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Mayank: Thank you Mayank. And I hope you will post your experiences, questions, understanding and solutions in your blog.

AJVJ: Best suggestion yet, let's move on.

Vimoh: Thank you for the vote of confidence, Vimoh and it's nice to know that you empathise. I hope you will give your friend the courage to report such an incident the next time. Just to hear it is sickening me.

Shuchi: Shuchi, you aren't late at all. And I am so mad to hear what you went through. That is plain sick, sick, sick. Hhaaha, at the risk of offending you, the husband deserved the couch. I am so glad you stood up and didn't think he was right. You have every right to defend yourself if no one else will. Brother?! How did that happen? Did he not know she was his sister?

Vibhuti B: Thank you for you comment Vibhuti. YOu are very right -- that's the core of the problem, these men know no age, looks, clothing. They go for anyone. I know it's disheartening and if you look at it long and hard, it most certainly seem that there is no hope but I won't give up. and I'd urge you not to either.

Richa: Well said. Although, I think the States has its share of molestation and sexual harassment in a completely different, perhaps in a more lasting, more damaging way.

Anonymous:
Cat calls and comments IS molestation. And good on you for your courage.


Smitha: I completely understand what you are saying. I too want to make this world a cleaner place for all the little girls who are goign to grow up, all the women who already face it. If we all do our bit -- report incidents, follow them through without worry about red tape etc, and react and speak out each time, there is a chance that there will be a gradual decrease in this behaviour.

10:35 am  
Anonymous Mayank said...

okay, as promised. here i am back with my post concerning women and a crime even more severe than molestation/ eve teasing; rape.

Would like to know how you, specially girls feel about the post.

4:13 pm  
Anonymous Mayank said...

okay, as promised. here i am back with my post concerning women and a crime even more severe than molestation/ eve teasing; rape.

Would like to know how you, specially girls feel about the post.

A very very very very very weird and disgusting post
http://bit.ly/b3OIZY

4:15 pm  
Blogger Phantom said...

Its really sad how in certain cities you dont have ppl stepping in to help. And certain instances where the girl is blamed, either for the way she dresses or the street she chooses to walk in.

I have learnt one thing from my experiences. No ones gonna help you, you got to help yourself. I was blamed for the way i dress. But at that time i was a kid of 8 yrs with no fully developed assets....

i was blamed for walking on that road at that time of the night. I had to go home early and that was the only option.But no the harassers acts are always justified ain't it.... why so?

4:18 pm  
Blogger Appu said...

Hi there. I did read this post I think almost a day after it was posted, but did not comment at all as I was too overwhelmed by it all. Memories came flooding and I went into this introspection mode on what I could have done during the various times I have been molested. I was such a coward that I just stood there and gaped at the man who groped me in the bus or at the park or at the bus stop..completely stunned that such things are happening to me. Yes, I was young, but maybe that's not an excuse. I used to wish at that time that I don't have any daughters as I would'nt want them to go through all this. Sometimes I wish my Mom had instilled more confidence in me and encouraged me to fight...but alteast, now I know better and now I wish to have daughters so that I can teach them what I was never taught.

4:46 am  
Blogger Curry Pan said...

hey. i'm sharing this post with friends. on blog and by email. will be credited to you too.

i've faced molestation too. in sharjah and dubai when i was merely 10 years old. what kind of feminity did i have then to provoke a man! i don't know.

all this 'women provoke men's desires' is a load of cowardly excuses by men and a manifestation, till today, of the way women have let men assume their own liberties.

i am not a feminist. i don't believe that women need to fight for equality in that strata of society where education, culture and courtesy prevail. but in situations where they don't, we do have to fight for respect and decency.

4:24 pm  
Blogger Rohini said...

Oh my god.I will not read the other comments right now but I will in due course of time.This is horrible.I have never realised how awful such incidents can be and how much men take advantage of women. Or try to.I have never been exposed to much of this but now that I read about it,I suppose someone might have done it to me on a bus or metro while I was getting out of it and made it seem normal in the midst of the crowd.I feel fear but yet, brave to go confront such scoundrels!May the men in the world change, or cease to exist!

4:43 pm  
Anonymous blinkandmiss said...

I too have stories to share. But what bothers me the most is that I am yet to meet a woman who can claim that she has never been molested. Have any one of you met one?

So half the world is being molested, living in fear and blaming themselves? This statistic depresses me deeply.

6:09 pm  
Blogger Pavi!!!! said...

I too wonder..what is it with men?! I’d bet a million dollars that its impossible to find a single girl in india who is not been treated in such a manner by a stranger man..who has zilch control of himself. If we all started narrating ALL the incidents each of us have experienced, it could take forever.
At adolescence when we have no control over the changes in our body n are just about learning to accept it n not feel awkward…the pathetic men have a blast abusing us. At that age we are worried, its our mistake that we are developing breasts and are being touched by strange men..so we sit thru it all quietly!
My mother , who works in the advertising field and turned 50 last year… is yet spoken to indecently and has random men brushing angst her breasts!
So age is definitely not a barrier for the men.

About whether this is prevalent only in developing countries.. well.. I have been in the US for the last 3 odd years..n personally been eve-teased just once. This on the subway…a guy kept talking to me n gave me his phone num..n asked me if I’d like to go home with him! I was FREAKED out(coz I’ve heard abt how aam janta carry guns here n had myself witnessed a shooting incident on the same subway)…n just ignored him , until the point when I couldn’t help tell him to behave himself. It was a crowded train…n not a single person spoke up for me!
So ya..these things do happen in developed countries too and can get more dangerous than in india..but I don’t think it happens as often as it does back home.

6:31 pm  
Blogger sulo badri said...

u can evn add up chennai in ur list - ppl keep sayin its a conservative - orthodoxical city - but hell.. men like des r rampant in here too... buses, share autos, crowded places - der r a set of men who wait jus to pounce on gals, on women...

a gal surely has to keep her guard while walkin on d roads...

oh the plight of women...

10:44 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Appu: I am so glad you've found your spirit and I feel terrible for waht you had to go through without finding it in yourself to fight it. But move on, look ahead and know exactly what to do the next time you are harassed.

Curry Pan:Thanks for sharing. And I don't care about the credit, really, just want as many women as possible to speak up. I was under the honest impression that all women fought back. This post and its comments has been a revelation for me.

Rohini: Lucky you, you've been living a blessed existence. Just be careful

Blingandmiss: I doubt you'll ever meet one. About ten comments up, there's an Anonymous who says she's never faced something like this. I don't know about blaming themselves, but living aggressively and living with molestation, yes.

Pavi: I am still offended you are calling it eve-teasing! There;s nothing teasing about everything that you and all of us women go thru! I am very sorry to hear about your experience and in a strange land it can be scarier than in your own country. Not speaking up, my god, I don't know how people live with themselves after that. Welcome to the blog.

Sulo badri: Hi. YOu know in my experience Madras has been the safest city for me. I lived there for five years and it was honestly the safest I've lived in, in India. And "plight of women"? I hope you meant that jestingly.

12:27 am  
Blogger Rohini said...

I will.Thank you.And I deeply symphatise

12:47 am  
Blogger Ramkumar said...

Wonderful Post RQ!

It gives me immense pleasure to see, know, and actually be reassured that there are women, who on a regular basis stand up for what is right and against the wrong. Too frequently have women been taken for granted - and most owing to fact that they DONT retaliate and fight back - Women CAN and SHOULD make a difference.

I am among those men who believe that women are capable of anything... and silent determined strength is beautiful !! I do try and encourage all women in my life to be as strong as they can be - which is more than any man hope to be!

Now, coming from a life of Muscat 5 years myself - I want to touch a little about Molestion in Muscat. In my view - we need to take a stand against molestion because in my experience - children are the biggest casualty there... I have known of cases where it occurs to women. But it pains me most to know that Children are the biggest victims.. and boys in Muscat are equally unsafe - owing to the high homosexuality ratio in muscat. I myself was a victim in Busy Streets of Ruwi as a 11 year old boy. Not to speak of my friend who was attacked in the very toilet of our school (no less) by the local omani watchman.

Women are regularly targetted yes, but I would also encourage all of you to take care of ur children... And not only in the streets - but within the family as well.. I know I will be giving my kids a very secure childhood !

Cheers to all the brave women ! And I hope ur actions can bring a change to the others !

1:09 am  
OpenID poupee97 said...

Hi,

I came to your blog via Judy’s via Andy’s and came across this post. I’ve spent over an hour reading it and most of the comments. I had done a similar post a long, long time ago, and even followed it up with joining Blank Noise for one of their streetside demos.

So I don’t want to add the usual comments here about how common it is, how shocking it is, and about my own experiences.

I want to say something completely different.

When I was first molested at the age of 4 or 5, I told my parents right away. I didn’t know what it was that had just happened, but I definitely felt dirty. But I had no sense of guilt or even fear.

Ten years later, in Delhi, when molestation became a daily occurrence, I never spoke to anyone about it. I felt both dirty, and something closer to shame.

And I never hit out at the perpetrator. I never kicked or screamed or anything. I just got out of the situation as fast as I could.

I wonder why.

And now – I haven’t been molested in any way for years. Men usually pick on the very young girls, and I guess I’m past it now (I’m 36). But even now, if it were to happen, I don’t think I’d have the courage to hit out, shout or make a scene. You don’t know me at all, but I’m not outwardly a person lacking in confidence or assertiveness. I have enough fighting spirit in me, if I believe I have been wronged. I can scream as well as the next person for other types of wrongs (like being over-charged by auto wallas or whatever). I don’t – any longer – believe that if I get molested, it’s my fault. At least, I think I don’t believe that. Yet I really don’t think I have the courage to make a fuss for a little bit of molestation (we’ll leave more serious abuse and rape out of the picture).

I see that most of the women who have commented have all said they will hit, hurt, or chase down the guy. Aren’t there others out there like me who will just run away? What makes me that way? Why am I scared or reluctant to hit back? Why do I not want to fight but just run away and get on with life? Why didn’t I even keep up my involvement with Blank Noise?

I don’t know.

9:22 am  
OpenID poupee97 said...

Links, if you're interested:

Violated
http://beforethetwins.wordpress.com/2007/01/11/violated/

Blank Noise Demo
http://beforethetwins.wordpress.com/2007/02/11/whistling-at-guys/

9:28 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Der,

D 1st time u posted dis story..I jus read haf of it..today I read d full bit and to tell it has brot back sum very unpleasant memories....

After readin ur post...I hav dis one question...How do men segregate who they can touch n who they cant? Do they go for free spirited personality? If u laugh,smile or luk even a little gud wit clothes which make them lech..does it giv them a rite to think that we are the 'loose Girls'?

Your kiss xperience brot to my mind a very ugly n cheap moment in my life wen a trusted friends husband picked me from work..I wud request him from time to time fr transport help...n one eve he picks me frm wrk..n says he got to chek a frnds apartment..n close up d place..Sinc it wz on our way.I said ok no hassles..We reach his frnds place..he tells me not to sit in the car alone.since it was a dark spot so to come up with him.I didnt see any reason to argue that i cud lock d car doors n feel safe so went up to the apartment with him. We reach there.He checks the place and i am waitin in d hall for him to finish.Me luking out of the window.Suddenly i feel his hardness touching my back and i felt the hairs on my back standing..I turned around to see him naked.tellin me how he wanted me always.I tell him hw crazy he waz being and b4 i cud argue more.he kissed me deep and i pushed him away.Making a dash for the door.He stopped in front of me.pressed his shaft to my legs n started shagging.He actually held on to my hand with a tight grip.All the while i was struggling to escape.he had totally backed me in a corner.And I was so numb in shock by the audacity of this guy that i jus cudnt do nething.He shagged on my legs.Said lets go and i still stood there shocked.I gathered up my senses.Followed him out of the apartment to the car.Since it was a dark spot i didnt have any choice but to go home with him.He dropped me home not bothered I was quiet on the whole ride and thanked me for a gud time??? Which was gud just for him and sped off. That eve i had a bath 10 times and lost my ability to trust any guy and became a restless soul.
To this day i cant understand y i didnt protest a bit more.Slap him or react and actually report him to his wife?Why did i go Numb in shock and not react?

I ask all men what gives you'll the right to think u can touch or judge any woman in any way?? Just becoz a woman is confident & speaks to all does it mean that she could be the loose type?

I have had the worst of incidents with groping,taxi driver abuses,strangers on the road feeling all in Muscat.

Now I take an abhaya with me everywhere that I go. Being a Non Muslim in a Muslim country this cloth gives me the safety zone that i would need on my nite outs. If you are in an abhaya ur definately protected from cheap actions by lechers of Oman.

I applaud u for this article coz this is the 1st time i have spoken about this incident in writing. Its not just strange men a woman has to be wary of...its also known men...

1:32 pm  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

Ramkumar: Thanks, Ramkumar. And children are the biggest casualty anywhere. But isn't it sad that women have to fight these things on a daily basis?

Poupee97: Excellent comment, poupee. And I have no answers to your question but that, after a point, you don't want to fight it anymore like a cause. You want to just get on with life, because you have other things to do. And I think somewhere along the way we get so used to our body, and it being touched that we just get angry about it and move on. Because we don't want to waste our time, like you said. For your sake, and others', I hope you'll find the anger to strike back again. And I hope I never lose it.

Anon: I am sorry but this story of yours took me two days to digest. What a horrible, horrible story. You still can react you know? You can still tell your friend this happened. At the cost of the friendship, you might ask. I say yes. She may never believe you but at least you'll have done something to rid yourself of the disgust. I am so so so very upset for you. Good job on the abaya... Considering I take cabs at night back from places, I think I need to get one also.

5:14 pm  
Anonymous Shuchi said...

Okay, another late reply, but just to answer the question.. It was a poorly lit street and I guess he just couldnt make out who it was till he was pretty close to the girl. For him, all that mattered is that it was a female walking alone and hence easy prey!

5:58 am  
Blogger Divya said...

Okay, this entry affected me really, really strongly. Especially because I grew up in Muscat and all those incidents you listed... it was as if I had written them. I had exactly those same awful experiences, at exactly the same age... right down to being surrounded by a group of Omani boys on the corner of a staircase at 13 and being touched and mocked because I couldn't get away. One of the most disturbing incidents of my life.

And just like you describe, I learnt to walk with my elbows stuck out in readiness, my fists clenched. I developed a super reflex that would allow me to hit out even as they stuck their hands out to catch a quick, cowardly grope. I even wore excessively loose, almost asexual clothing for most of my teens in the mistaken belief that that would somehow deter them... because don't we all internalise that damn idea that it's all our fault somehow?

I relived all this recently while walking through a narrow pathway in Chennai, lined with leering men on either side... and suddenly, at the age of 30, all those memories came flooding back and my fists clenched up in reflex. You never ever really get over it. And you're right... it's high time we started calling it by it's real name. Molestation.

10:27 am  
Blogger durga said...

Even as i read ur post, I was just looking out of the window right next to my chair, at office.. it is a huge glass window and gives me a good view of the main road right below. This road which is choked now with traffic is deserted at night. When i finish work very late, sometimes past midnight, and get back home, i get followed all the way, even if i am on a bike. if i am going to walk a bit in a bid to find an auto, then i am sure to be groped. this is the case everywhere in Hyderabad. Most women working in this office have many stories to tell. Some being molested in share taxis or share autos. Some women who walk a small stretch home. everywhere..

4:26 pm  
Anonymous Harjodh said...

A very well written article.

5:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an Indian guy I have often seen such instances as decribed and felt an impotent rage towards the perpetrators.Once as a teen I beat up a guy for some really lewd remarks about my sister.Violence is not the solution but I feel disgusted that there are onlookers who do nothing to stop or teach a lesson to such perpetrators-be it verbal or physical.Reading about molestation cases in school and targeted at young girls being covered up makes me really angry and ashamed at being an Indian male. I don't know who but I strongly believe in this-I cannot respect a guy who does not respect women.

5:43 pm  
Anonymous Another molested gurl..... said...

I read your whole article and have all those scenes in front of my eyes when I was 'molested'. Well, I realized I have rightly called it molestation since ever, but it's ironical how I used to hesitate when I used to call it molestation because I didn't know if they qualify for teasing or molestation! I just knew it wasn't just teasing because it did more damage to me mentally than a teasing would.

I couldn't read all comments written here and I dont know if anyone else has written about a similar experience. But, I was molested twice by male Doctors !! Once when I was 13 and didn't know what was happening with me when I was checked thoroughly by the doctor for 45 minutes with me on the stretcher bed behind the curtain in a closed doctor's office, and second when I was 22 and the stethoscope pressed against my breast right in the middle, with the doctor dismissing all my reports from a different clinic as fake and asking me to come to his clinic in GK-2 (delhi). The second time I was grown up enough to know what the bastard (and I am not afraid to call him this openly) was trying to do. He caused more trouble to me later when I opposed and he denied to sign my medical certificate. I reported to the HR of my company - ya, he was a company doctor !!! The HR 'sympathised' with me but I don't remember any action being taken against him.

The former doctor stays in my hometown and I saw him many times after that day. He has a daughter 4-5 years younger to me and while coming back from her school after dropping her, he used to cross paths with me - he in his car, I on my foot, walking to my college bus (I was in college first year now). And he used to give me such looks which used to make me feel like throwing stones at him and his car and smashing his glass window on his face! I still wonder why I couldn't do it ever !!!

He was from a 'well-to-do-family' - seemingly - and is famous for helping women conceive !!!! So, women come to him from far off places, who can't conceive, to get pregnant ! God knows what he does to make them pregnant !!!

His perfume haunted me for weeks after he "checked" me. I have been raging inside for the last 15-20 years thinking of a way to bring his name in media and let everyone know what such people do behind their white coats ! But, my problem - I don't have a solid 'proof' that he did this to me !! I dont have a 'video' of where all he touched me and made me touch him. I dont have the guts to make his poor daughter and wife suffer in their life because of what her father/husband did to me and most certainly to many other female patients. And more than anything else, I dont have the patience and energy to waste my life (reminds me of Ruchika Girhotra case) on an "eve-teaser" like him.

One of my BIGGEST reasons for coming to US and not wanting to come back to India is living in fear for continuously 2 years in Gurgaon (and many years before that growing up in a 'comparatively' safer city), getting teased every now and then, and on top of every thing else - my guy frens telling me that NO! Gurgaon isn't THAT bad. Dude... be a gurl.... you'll know the 'real' Gurgaon. Here in US, at least I can breath !! Whether office, road, or shops, no one looks at me with their X-ray eyes checking me out or tryin to grope me at any possible opportunity. I know running away like this is not a solution, but this is the life I chose for me! And I am happy living a 'life' here finally.

6:45 pm  
Anonymous Another molested gurl..... said...

I just posted a long comment, I am wondering where it vanished !

6:51 pm  
Blogger Arushi said...

Thank you for this brave post. I'm sure it touched a chord with every woman who read it, because unfortunately, that is how common molestation is in the world. Everyone has seen some form or the other. More power to you, girl! I think pepper spray is a mandatory weapon for every girl nowadays.

9:24 pm  
Anonymous Guy said...

well written and i totally empathize with what you all girls felt and went through. My advice to all girls here is stand tall and raise the alarm, you will definitely find good guys there to help you out.

Now let me tell you the reason why the guys are afraid of helping you girls out, few years back there was story of how a guy who tried to stop eve-teasing was stabbed to death and later the person who stabbed was released by police due to lack of evidence. Because the only witness, the girl backed out from recording any statement. Although this particular incident never stopped me from helping any girl but was just telling the girls the other part of the story.

SO, COME ON GIRLS BE LOUD, BE BRAVE AND HELP THE GUY WHO HELPED YOU OUT WHEN SITUATION DEMANDS.

1:08 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all i must admit that its a very well written blog.
Even i have been through such situations and just hate the fact for not yelling back for the fear of inviting deeper trouble and i abhor myself for that.

5:13 am  
Blogger Tuhina Neogi said...

You are right.. I don't know your name but you are so damn correct.. It is only because of our ignorance and the habit of "letting things go" that we have to face such things. If i am given the right I would like a little bit of modification. I would allow every women to buy a gun and always carry it with themselves and hit the man then and there where he dares to molest her.
Break his hands with which he has dared to touch you. I appreciate you for the ways in which you have handled those situations.

It is really outrageous to walk in such self-conscious position all the time. Even I have been molested at the age of five and I am ashamed to say that He happened to be a tutor and a very old family friend of mine. Those days boil my blood even today when I have turned 23. Had he not possessed a wife and son I would have unmasked that bloody person. But I won't let the same thing happen to my sister. I'll make her learn everything she can so that even a man sees him with His filthy eyes she can beat him up till he is in a condition to be seriously hospitalized.

1:27 pm  
Blogger bhavini said...

Hi Restless Quill,

I read your post and a few comments after it. I wrote this hu-uge comment but it couldn't get posted somehow. So I began writing again and it has now become a post in itself. :) If you don't mind, I'd like to include a link back to your post on my blog.

Apart from that - thank you, deeply, for writing about this. A 110 comments before me is testament enough that a. almost every woman has experienced sexual harassment and b. we need to keep discussing this in a sensitive and proactive way, listen to each other and also find effective and intensive ways to deal with sexual molestation.

Thanks a tonne. Keep writing! :)

4:09 pm  
Anonymous Sujay S said...

I believe that the men who do this shit were raised in an environment whic segregated boys from girls during adolesence. It's very common in some cultures and subcultures to discourage girls and boys from forming close friendships during adolesence.

As a result the boys lose an opportunity to learn about women. They view them as something alien, something exotic or hard to get (due to the social restrictions) Often these boys start hanging out in boy gangs where the ignorance about girls is further coupled with various kinds of misconceptions which arises out of the conversations.

All in all , I believe that these men had never had a girl for a close friend. And so they never learnt to see a girl in role other than mother, sister, wife (who deserve respect) and the rest of the women who are 'the other women'

4:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey Q...ur article is inspiring and brought some memories of my life t my mind which i always thot i wud never want to discuss....which i wud want to speak up now.

once i was in a famous designer store close to my house and i wanted to see the shararas....the guy out there showed me some stuff and when i finalised on one ,he asked me to try it on...when i tried and was checking ih...he very innocently put his hand inside my breast and felt everythin by tellin me that he's just checking the fitting...i was in shock nd cudn react then.....
a few other experiences have also happ...but this one was somethin i wanted to share it with u .

1:21 pm  
Blogger brinda said...

It's really sickening.. It happens here in Muscat too. But 5 years in Bombay really made me bold enough to talk back, and give my piece of mind to the molester. It may not make a difference to him, but at least I would be at peace..
I wish for them to drown in the drains and be attacked by the rats.

4:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well written post. Though I have never seen something like this in real life, it is indeed a sad situation of how women are treated in an Asian culture.

This post has bought a lump in my throat... Have nothing kore to say really?

5:02 pm  
Anonymous SJ said...

I was abused when I was seven years old. In a church fair in Muscat. I didn't know how to stop it, and I didn't realise why no one else could see anything. I just assumed that if no one was stopping it meant it couldn't be wrong. I've grown up since then. I've seen my fair share of masturbations, penises, breast gropes, lewd comments.

I started out with a 'I'm going to ignore it' attitude. When I moved to Hyderabad, I decided to be a bit more vocal about it. And, I realised over there, if you react, then generally shut up and walk away.
I've gone back to the 'I'm going to ignore it' scenario again because I live in Bangalore. As you rightly pointed out, it is hostile, and people will stop and stare and would not bother helping. And, I'm always worried about the guy turning on me and attacking me in front of everyone with no one lifting a hand to support me. Call me paranoid. But, I'm very careful these days.

5:57 pm  
Anonymous priya said...

brilliant post.
I grew up in a lot of places,but spent most of my teenage years were spent in Delhi.And I 've had some of the most harrowing experiences of my life in this city.
Middle aged men trying to squeeze my 8 year old self's (??) breasts, being groped by the guys from the all boys govt school next to mine, and the cat calling that is almost an accepted way of life!
As a 13 year old,I remember being chased by a bunch of guys on bikes,with gulaal( as it was sometime around holi)as I walked the long stretch from the bus stop to my place.And given how rowdy people can get on holi,I was shit scared and scurried to take shelter in a temple on the way.
Ans what can be worse than uncle-jis slowing down their cars and gesturing for you to come in,at 7am in the morning as you stand waiting for the school bus to arrive,dressed in your school uniform.Even my mom's presence at times wouldn't deter those creeps.Sickening.
While travelling in DTC/blueline buses for my coaching classes,I used to carry a divider,the geometry box one,cos if someone messed with me,I had a good mind to gouge his eyes out.Thats how defensive,insecure and frustrated I had become by the time I was 15.And I know just what you mean when you talk about holding the bag close,assuming certain posture etc. I hate being at guard all the time,its almost belittling.And no,I still refuse to accept it as a "part of my life".
For quite a while I held on to the notion that north indian men are particularly sick and that something is wrong with their genetic set up.My theories were further supported by the fact that when I went to study in Goa,most of the groping/molestation/eve teasing I experienced or witnessed was all thanks to the north indian tourists.
All that changed when I saw flashers making regular visit to the girls hostel grilled boundary and when I was compelled to see a Goan penis while travelling in a local bus.
The stories are endless,and I ve spent years trying to figure out why,just why do men behave this way. I think more than anything else,its for cheap thrills.Which,I guess,is the sickest possible reason. And then there are some with sexually deviant behavior and no insight.
Whatever be the reason,till the time these creepy men learn to control themselves,we re gonna have to keep kicking them in the nuts...

6:01 pm  
Anonymous I told you I would be Anonymous. said...

Thank you for giving this platform to vent out something that has been nagging me for so long.

I read your and @Koinon3a's tweets about the cyclist. And I wish I had the guts to chase the bastard who did that to me in Coimbatore in full public view. Wimp that I was, I wept all the way to the busstop, shaking. Weak kneed, but not in the nice way. And everyone around me just looked away, embarassed while the asshole pedalled away. But had they caught him and beaten him up, I guess I would have been more embarassed. That is me. But I hope he rode into a speeding lorry.

Then the Bus Fondler on the bus to Pathankot. Trusting idiot that I was, I was glad when the friendly stranger offered to share half of my overflowing backpack on his lap. But when the bastard started using the shared backpack on the lap to start pinching my thighs, I was forced to get up and stand sandwiched between huge Punjabi men for the rest of the journey, hugging myself, protecting my chest with my hands. My fault, I told myself, for being a trusting fool.

And this was not 'eve teasing' but full blown sexual harrassment, which again, I could have reported but chose to cry instead.
The lab attendant Visu, in JSS College of Pharmacy(Yes, I will take his name here)who placed the microscopes at strategic positions to get a glimpse at my clevage. Who pinched my thigh during the practical exams and then explained that he was 'helping me identify the bone in the exhibit'. It was the Femur, the thigh bone. Thank god it wasn't the rib cage. And the final blow was when he took advantage of my squeamishness to cut up frogs and offered all the graphs for the year if I 'adjusted in the anatomy lab'. Bastard, he 'misplaced' my internal exam papers when I ignored him. Yes, ignored, I was a wimp to report. I hope he fell into a tub of acid or a caged dog from one of the labs bit him to death.

Long, long rant. But getting it off my chest for the *very first time* feels wonderful.

Let all the bastards die.

6:11 pm  
Blogger Cauldroncity said...

hi TRQ,
Its my first read on your blog. This entry really hit home with certain points.I am a born and brought up Mumbai girl. I remember my earliest memories of using public transport in the city was the most traumatic experience a 16 yr old can go through. The city with its congestion and constant hurry is filled with loiters that take advantage of women shamelessly. What with groping, rubbing and feeling up in trains and buses, its become almost impossible to stand at stations and bus stops.
I remember my mom advising me to keep my elbows jutting, look down and keep a fast pace while walking at railway stations. The creepy old men are a real nuisance. It emotionally frustrating and tiresome to walk a in broad daylight during peak hours even. And to say this is Mumbai, I shudder to even think what happens elsewhere.
I have had similar experience as your friend (train incident) but this creep was on a bike in the middle of the day pretended to be asking for directions mere 10 yards from my residence. In sheer panic I began walking away hastily so the guy geared up his bike and followed me trying to get me to stop. The audacity to do it in the middle of the day with people around is what shocked me more.
Women in India at least have been taught to grin and bear. I don't know of many women who stand up to these acts. Sure they yell and push people away but i don't see anyone creating a scene or taking them to authorities. This reluctance stems from shame, i think women feel about bringing up such issues. We never openly discuss such matters in homes with elders or parents. Even if it is done its is contained to a private conversation between mother and daughter. I think it is high time we educate our men too. They are more often aloof to the problems we face. I remember my Dad having an argument with me about it once. He was unable to accept that these acts are so rampant and part of daily life for a women in Mumbai. Also i think the attitude when such things come out is that a girl should be careful and take precautions. I don't see any effort taken to educate men of the way things are.

Acceptance and tolerance are two of our biggest evils. The more we learn to accept and side step these issues, more rampant and obnoxious their antics will get.
PS: Thanks for this.. really

6:25 pm  
Blogger Eternal Rebel said...

The shame of not being able to do anything about it is all the more humiliating ...

7:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.ted.com/talks/tony_porter_a_call_to_men.html

11:59 pm  
Anonymous sashidhar said...

i feel pretty saddened by these kind of situations. Personally, I've stared at women but mostly in way to admire the effort the put in style their hair, or their gait or fashion choices. I have always considered it very undecent to stare at their breasts or make them feel uncomfortable or violated in any way.

Second, I don't think all men, given a chance, would grope and molest women. I live in hyderabad and travel in shared cabs and autos with girls around me and I'm always cautious how my hands move or how my feet move. I guess it is because many people look at women as objects, they think they can grope her parts and run away. very very sad.

6:50 pm  
Anonymous Anupama said...

It is pinching just to read about such incidents. I can completely understand how it must have been to someone who has experienced it. Like someone said being on guard and reaching out to public when in trouble will not completely solve this problem. Severe and quick punishment is desired. I do not know how plausible it is.

I am a girl too and live in Hyderabad. Such incidents are not uncommon here. I personally have heard stories from friends and relatives about men exposing their private parts leaving them in shock and disgust. On reading your post, I got reminded of one such incident in my childhood. Would you believe if I said this happened to a school girl of 3 years who got repeatedly molested by the school bus driver and it only came to notice when her mother noticed stains on her skirt? It is a shame to live in such a society. Given a chance, I would suggest to castrate such men when caught. This will induce some kind of fear in others.

10:52 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi TRQ,

Thank you so much for putting up this post.

I am a 21 year old girl from India and have had my share of these unpleasant experiences. For the last 5-6 years I have been believing that I was doing something wrong or else why am I the only one experiencing such things, because, of the 80-90 odd women I met in these years not a single one has spoken up about this issue! On one hand I do feel relieved that this is the case with most women but on another I feel so bad for us women not even being able to speak up for no fault of ours. In many of the comments here I read women mention they were not "sure" whether it happened, this is almost always the case it seems to me, I do not understand why we think this way, why we try to convince ourselves it did not happen, why we defend the filthy-minded men that molest.
When I was in my ninth grade I would attend one of these coaching centres for the JEE and I would usually sit at the corner of the bench (the one other than wall-side). My chemistry professor would walk around while teaching and one day I suddenly felt his hand hitting on my left breast. I was so shocked I immediately got tears to my eyes, I just did not know how to react. The next class I sat further into the bench so I could avoid his hand, but this time he just stopped at my bench, came closer, pretended to look into my notes and repeated the same behaviour, I was really very scared to even think of reacting. After bearing with this for months thankfully for me we had another guy teaching chemistry.
2-3 years later and the incident was still fresh in my mind I realised how meek I had been and desparately wanted to see him punished for what he had done,I thought at the least I could obtain his phone number and thrash him like anything, which I did not. To this day I shudder to sit in the corner of the bench, I had been subject to such trauma, I do not understand how people who are in responsible and respectable positions like teachers (and he has a daughter of my age) can behave in that way. Another day when I was returning home from the same coaching (at 7.30 a.m), sincerely thinking of a schedule to study for my upcoming exam, my left breast was suddenly grabbed by a cyclist coming in the opposite direction, I did not even have the time to turn around and run after him !I managed to shout out the 1-2 curses I had known at that time.
Had either of these men been thrashed properly by one of their previous victims, would they have dared to repeat such behaviour ?
I think I am responsible partly for their mis-deeds that have been done after me as well, I should have let them known they cannot get away with it, but like I said I was 13 or 14 and thought I was the only one experiencing such things and partly believed I was responsible for whatever was happening ( and to all the people that point such incidents to "provoking dress" I was wearing a simple chudidar in both the incidents, the stupid coaching had a rule that all girls were to wear only chudidars, how I wish it had a rule saying all the men should be well-behaved) and none of the female friends/cousins/aunts shared such experiences with me !
I thank TRQ for bringing so many of us together on a common platform, sharing does take off some pain and I guess we should not stop it at that, while I would ideally like the world to be free of such pests, I think we should arm ourselves with voice, some defending moves and perhaps pepper spray.
And yes, these experiences have totally altered the way we carry ourselves in public, as for me I have never gone out since then without a man by my side, permanently making being a self-sufficient independent woman a distant dream !

5:40 pm  
Anonymous eenees said...

we once chased down one of those kids on a scooter thingy trying to harras a girl on MBD...he went into a dingy neighbourhood and disappeared...i urged that girl to come with us to ROP to lodge a complaint..but then she refused....these a!@#oles know it all too well and continue to harras...

im not sure where you live but i find it strange that ROP does not bother to stop these kids creating a menace almost everyday....im also very curios to know where they get those bikes from....

I was leaving to the airport early morning and i saw those kids hanging out near our house at 4 AM....i called my house atleast 5 times before i boarded the flight....i ve lived in South Africa before and thats a crazy ass place...there is no justification in the whole world for things like these...

3:36 pm  
Blogger GB said...

Part of the experience growing up in India I guess. Delhi was pretty much like you describe bombay to be--the crowds were always on your side....done everything , including scratched a man's hand and drew blood(only part I could grab in the rush of bodies getting of the DTC)walked with the elbows out, fought, kicked, pushed some guy off the (coming to a stop) bus. Called out a creep and let the crowds go at him. You learn to defend yourself, hold your head high.

I never let it scar me, possibly because I fought back? to kjeep it in would have been so much against my grain, it would have rotted my insides.

About the abaya/India thing....here's my experience. I moved west shortly after getting my degree. I haven't faced any situation like this. True we lived in one of the best states, very liberal, and that might be the reason. Again we lived in a middle class society--lots of young moms, kids, happy suburbs et al. I've been out for walks (regularly) that stretched beyond 9:00 pm, no incident. Don't know the reasons, but I'm guessing that it is because women here are free to bare (parts of)their bodies? laws are held up? men don't labor against taboos? Color?

All the men I have met outside of home/friends/colleagues have always been respectful of me. warning bells don't go off if some daddy on the playground chats me up because our kids are playing? I've met several stay at home daddys--respectful. One reason why I love it here. I'm allowed to just be.

It's not all roses, there are reports in papers of stuff happening everywhere, but this has been my experience so far.

4:04 pm  
Blogger Patricia Torres said...

Isnt it sad?? That even today women have to fear about these things??!! Isnt it??? I live in Dubai.. and haven't really faced any such thing directly.. but have heard so much about it.. So much so .. that I am totally paranoid.. when I am out with my girls.. Its so so difficult to live..

Saying that.. you are not safe anywhere else in the world being a woman!! Its tuff!! *sigh*

Hope you are feeling better now.. and have forgotten this horrid incident.. *hugs*..

Take care!! Patricia

11:28 pm  
Anonymous Rohini said...

Hi there,

Really well written post. Not everybody has the courage to talk about such incidents and I'm glad you did, makes me feel that I'm not alone.

I'm 20 years old and I've had my share of being groped as well. The first time it happened was when I was 10 years old. I was travelling by train with my grand father and the guy seated next to me felt me up my skirt for a good 10 minutes. I was too young and scared to protest but I knew that something wrong was happening. The next few times it happened was when I was a teenager in Mumbai, mostly at very crowded places. Saved me from much trauma because I do not remember any of these bastard's faces. More recently, I was groped by my driving instructor. He brushed against my breast quite a number of times and went on to press hard against it. Again, I did not react. I do not know why I just go numb in such situations. May be it's the fear, the fear of the possiblity of him doing something worse.

I have people around me telling me to relax and that such things are 'normal'. My girl friends tell me to get used to it. Most people do not realise how hard it is for girls who go through such things. In my case, I have feared guys for the past 10 years. So much so that now, even when a genuinely nice friend puts his arm around me, I get suspicious.

Today, I make sure I take a guy friend of mine along if I'm going to some place deserted. Fortunately for me, I have guy friends who will stand up for me. I also plan on getting pepper spray and preparing myself with a swiss army knife whenever I go out.

10:10 pm  
Blogger The Wanderer said...

I remember my mom talking to my (girl) cousin about similar experiences during her college days in India. If my memory serves right, she had been groped by a creep sitting behind her in the movie theatre. And she didn't hesitate to get up, turn around, and slap the guy in his face. Other incidents, especially on the bus, were there too.

Not entirely related to the questions you've asked, but spreading the message does help. Making a fuss doesn't hurt, either, as my mom advised my cousin. That's normally enough to deter the perpetrator.

(Great job, btw, S.)

10:11 am  
Anonymous nikhil sharma said...

i have lost faith in humanity

9:21 pm  
Anonymous Simran said...

I am utterly disgusted by the way guys look down upon us women.. M 18 and i've gone through a fair share of eve-teasing. Was once molested by a home-tutor. D worst part is that.. We cant even raise our voice ! Cuz now-a-days, people shoot u !! I feel help-less and my heart goes out 4 all those girls who shut der mouths after going through such nonsense, even domestic violence. On my part, i always make sure that i dont let any jerk stare at me long enough 2 make me uncomfortable.. I always abuse that guy infront of 10 people. I just wish d world around me turns in2 an Utopian one. N m more dan glad 2 read d article u wrote. Respect ! U must know that u just gave me a whole lot of strength again ! :) Take care !

9:42 pm  
Anonymous Student of Psychology said...

hi all,
knowing why people do what they do has been a subject of a lot of study in my field of psychology.

please bear with me through this explanation, which will appear to go off topic slightly but does attempt to answer all the questions you posted.
it would interest you to know that a CT scan was done of the brains of people who were murderers and compared to those of people who werent, unbelievably there was a marked difference. the area of the brain that feels remorse was underdeveloped in murderers. but that doesnt mean that this person was like this from birth, though it is possibe that some people are so from birth it is not true of the majority. most of these peoples remorse area of the brain was underdeveloped because it was underutilized.
so basically be it murder or molestation, the principle on which the brain works is the same, the more one excercises restraint in their lives, the more they are able to control themselves, and vice versa. so it is totally a matter of development. yet you cannot expect perfect households to always produce perfect children, and a man from a horrible family could turn out well as well.

when i say development i mean how much effort the individual puts into correcting their own behaviour, it boils down to the individuals choices and the memories or morals which influence those choices. each time a molester molests he recieves positive reinforcement from the pleasure he recieves. and this is a very slippery slide, once down the slippery path it will not take long for checking out a girl to turn into lust, and lust into desperation and desperation into molestation, if a man thinks its ok to look upon a woman with lust then it is only a matter of time before he becomes a molester, unless ofcorse hes a coward and wont try that. furthermore the more he slides down that slippery slide the more 'risks' he will take with it, to some people incest may be less of a risk than molesting a stranger, to another it may be a greater risk. but in both cases given enough time his own actions will corrupt him.

the only way to stop molestation is at its source, by the man himself avoiding looking at women, next by women providing less for him to look at. in this instance i would say the islamic concept of hijab of men and women is bang on target. though this may not stop such instances from happening altogether, (some people are beyond help) it will however slow down if not stop new molesters from being born.

yet if you are in a situation where a man has molested you, you should know that if you do nothing it will only provide him with positive reinforcement and he will do it again, if he has molested you then he has already gone a long way down that slippery slide and his brain is already hardwired in that direction. if he is to be stopped he MUST recieve a really severe shock that tips the balance in his mind and makes him WANT to excercise his choice in a different way next time. be it for the sake of his own safety. basically the only way to stop a guy who molests you is to do something that will make him remember it for the rest of his life, such that it is permanently a negative incentive to do such an act ever again.

10:49 pm  
Blogger Sarath Ramadurgam said...

A lot of people have said a lot.. but I just have my one paise to add to this discussion....
most men who end up being lecherous either take from their father who womanized, a mother who trampled and dominated the men in the house or a deep psychological problem. In the first case, the boy grows up to follow his dad. In the second the boy probably vents out the abuse he faced on other women in helpless situations. The last one is a topic I know very little about.. but definitely I think most lechers would not have been that way if they were brought up differently.

5:52 am  
Blogger The Restless Quill said...

So Sarath, you're saying they have no control over themselves as they grow up? I believe no matter how you've been brought up, you can actually help yourself if you want to. I refuse to blame upbringing for disrespect towards women.

5:55 am  
Blogger Sarath Ramadurgam said...

Well I dont blame upbringing entirely.. but I think its very very significant. As kids, we tend to mimic the elders or role models. I speak from my own experience, I have noticed that sometimes kids in my neighborhood whose parents have poor respect for each other tend to be the ones in a group to start passing comments on girls passing by. The rest join in .. its like some sort of a cascading downward spiral. I am not saying all turn that way, I'm sure many realize right from wrong, but I strongly attribute poor self control as well as poor respect towards women to some parent or close relative having such poor behavior. When you say 'you can help yourself if you want to'... that's only possible after one realizes that they have a problem. I seriously doubt if any of the molesters think that what they are doing is wrong. If at all anything stops them, I think its the fear of being beaten up for misbehaving. If there is a rapist who feels guilty about raping someone, my guess is that its only coz of being punished for it.

10:46 am  
Anonymous Ankur said...

This is so much a news to me, that it has been very hard to digest this blog+comments. I must frankly admit that I have been stunned, infact overwhelmed, at times, while reading through what RQ, Simran, Anupama, Durga and other girls had to say. I am feeling outrageous and strange considering that I was blissfully unaware while all this was being brought down upon women I could have helped, when I was, lets say, sharing a bus, a train or a taxi with one of them. I cant believe men would stoop so damn low. I am also downright amazed that as to why my own sister or female friends chose to never discuss this with me or other guys who could have helped them (somehow) and instead chose to just bear with it and put on a "chalta hai" attitude while such incidents were affecting them deep down and ruining them bit by bit each time !! (I am inherently assuming that it has happened with almost every girl traveling by public transport in Delhi/Mumbai)

2:47 am  
Anonymous beware of rajeev,ISM driver said...

i would like to call to everyone's attention- the first person who molested me- bus driver rajeev- he still runs bus services for indian school muscat- probably has a fleet of buses and omanis driving them now-nd i'm telling u-it was just not me-why didnt i react? because all my life, i have heard my elders telling me-its ok, let it go... dont make a scene...
but i swear if my baby girl ever gets in a situation like that,i will not leave him/her who touched her. pls do not ignore this comment-i hav always wanted to bring this guys name out in the open but never found the right forum-thats restless quail... nd u know what cracks me up? i saw him years later and i was speechless, cudnt move and all i wanted to do was break down... he really broke something inside me those days and to imagine it still affects me...

8:24 am  
Anonymous Shiva Kumar Thekkepat said...

Devastating. That's the only word I can use after reading all these outpourings. There is a kernel of truth in all the opinions expressed. Where the reasons for this kind of behaviour I can't help thinking that if most girls feel guilty of having 'goaded' the men - dressing 'improperly', etc etc - then the boys who keep hearing the same things at home must also feel justified in taking advantage of them. Or is that too simplistic? Let's face it, the men who do it are someone's son, brother, cousin, uncle etc. Don't tell me all of them are just plain lechs without morals. Or are they? Would they be the kind to steal a buck (or a million) if they thought they could get away with it? I ask myself, and I get the answer: I don't know. I;ve done a lot of things I am not too proud of, but would I take advantage of a girl, or unprotected wealth if I was hard up for it? I hope I will not, but then the human mind is unfathomable.
Incidentally, I was 'molested' too when i was around 12 or so. Twice, felt up by an oh-so-nice 'uncle', and a young, friendly guy who was so interested in my reading habits in the local library. I instinctively fended them off, but to this day an guarded when I am approached on the streets by strangers. I was too ashamed to tell anyone even though i didn't know what it implied then. In fact, this is the first time I am talking about this
You are a delight to read. Please keep writing.

3:19 pm  
Anonymous Anjee said...

Hello TRQ,

It is sad that we woman have to always be wary of possible molesters. And relate incidents of being molested to our relatives, specially the males they make us feel as if we are exaggerating the incident. I live in Kolkata,India and was once sitting in the front seat of an auto when the driver tried to grope my breast. I was 14. I have been followed twice. In both the cases I was near my house. And lewd comments are a plenty. Middle aged men are not ashamed of passing comments even when they are with their children.

When travelling in a crowded bus I always have to stick my elbows out, If carrying a bag I protect my chest with it. My friend keeps a safety pin handy. Someone I know carry's a mosquito repellent. Isn't it pathetic that woman have to take so many precautions to guard themselves when they venture out?

12:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i will tell you the reason why indian men keep groping like this.the only answer is BOLLYWOOD which shows absolutely disgusting behaviour between boys and girls.there they show women dying for a man , craving for a man,allowing men to touch their body parts like raveena tandon in mast mast,madhuri dixit in so mnay movies ,so what these guys in india think is that all women are lusting for fun and wouldnot mind being groped or played with.

5:14 pm  
Anonymous SmallTownFeminist said...

Men do it because they think they can get away with it. They think it's their nature to do so. A lot of them think it's just being naughty, not immoral.

My classmate talked with a cousin of hers who was completely into verbal eve teasing.The way he defended himself was by saying, "But I never touch a girl. I just tease". As if that's a great favor he doing upon the girls!!!

6:44 pm  
Anonymous SmallTownFeminist said...

Thank you Ankur. Guys like you give me hope. I was travelling in an overcrowded bus and people were really to pounce on me. That's when a guy like you offered me to stand next to him and he made sure I was at a safe distance from everybody. I never had the courage to lift up my eyes and see who he was, for I was so embarrassed for no fault of mine.

I have been molested more than once but I never had the courage to even mention it. I think it's partly my parents' fault for making sex a taboo topic. They never discussed this topic with me. All they said was, "Don't go out in the dark", "Stay away from people". I am even embarassed to talk about my body parts with them. I think it's very important for parents to talk about sex education with the children, so that they are comfortable reporting such "forced" stuff. Children should know "sex with consent" is different from molestation/rape/lewd comments. Not talking about sex at all makes this problem worse.

7:09 pm  
Blogger Chiniiz n Sugarz Mom.. Swati said...

Trq,
There are so many of us who have been there.. Ur post speaks for almost all the girls who grew up/are growing up in India. I wouldn't go for the answers to the questions.. Only cuz am coming across this post after a couple of years and am sure lots of comments must have answered those..

The point that I want to assert on here, that too being a mom, is there will be many who would want to take advances on the pretext of coochi-cooing the baby. Be upfront, and tell them that plu don't touch my baby. She won't like it. Chances are that the person might go for a direct attack but Atleast you would protect urself from the fear of unknown/unsure one at that point! I, too, learnt this the hard way! But when I did, I followed to the core... I protected myself as well my babies from those strangers..
Please pass it out to all the moms out there!

12:12 am  
Blogger The Visitor said...

Hi TRQ,

Just now saw that this post has been awarded the Tejaswee Rao Blogging Award under "Sexual Street Harassment" category.

A deserving post - congrats.

3:42 pm  
Blogger Indian Home Maker said...

Congratulations :) This post in one of the winners of 'Tejaswee Rao Blogging Awards - 2011' (TRBA 2011). We would like to create an ebook with all the winning entries in 47 categories on Feminism and Gender Issues in India (and one category on Animals Rights). Please do let us know if you are fine with your winning post/s being included in this ebook. ( Please click here to let us know).

10:10 am  
Anonymous Abhirama said...

This post gave me a lot of pain. I knew girls/women had a hard time with shameless, perverted men but I really thought such incidents were much less frequent (more like one in ten girls or so but I was clearly wrong). I wish my female friends/cousins etc. told me their experiences. I'd try my best to help in any way I can.

I'd like to share a couple of incidents. I used to think that highly educated men would never resort to acts like those mentioned in the post and comments above. Two of my post-graduate classmates from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (supposed to be one of the premier institutes in the country), molested two girls on two different occasions.

Incident 1 as narrated by the guy himself: This was in a supermarket. So this guy finds a girl attractive and stares at her for a good 5 minutes or so. The girl notices this and is not comfortable and tries to get out of his sight. He then goes to her and holds her from behind while she was picking something up from a shelf. The girl is terrified and in shock and quickly leaves the supermarket not knowing what to do and too scared to raise an alarm. The guy brags about this to a whole group of his classmates and gets encouragement from a few of them for "having balls" to be able to do "gutsy stuff" like that. I'm too disgusted to listen to any more of his exploits and walk out.

Incident 2 as narrated by the guy himself: Crowded bus. This guy squeezes a foreigner's breasts and boasts about it to all his friends. Same reaction - words of encouragement from some for doing such a bold thing and I'm too disgusted to listen to any more of this and walk out.

My point with these two incidents is: What's the use of education if it can't give them a good character?

The ideal solution is to educate/raise people to have good character. I don't think this will work in today's world. A better but barbaric solution in my opinion is to create fear among men. Publicly hang/shoot/castrate men who resort to acts like these (I heard a few arab countries do that).

9:05 pm  
Blogger Sudha said...

the most disgusting thing to ever happen to a women/girl child. I grew up to be insecure and very timid when it comes to handling men or i used to be extremely defensive even with my own friends..its depressing and very very life changing...what irritates em the most is that..in india, we girls are asked to live with it...i still cant forgive myself for not bashing those morons up...time and again..not once but right from the age of 5 until recently..i m 34..its disgusting and maybe a lot more than that

10:06 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BLAME IT ON THE PARENTS.
my mom has 6 sisters and now has two daughters.One should think she
understands a girl very well. One example: a bastard molested me
for a good long 5 years while he was my elder sister's boyfriend.
I never spoke about it.Just before 5 months of my marriage I told my fiance
everything about it.and BINGO!!He knew it!!He sensed it while all the time
I was hiding it from him.That very day he forced me to tell everything to my mom.
My mom hushed it up saying all the rubbish things:family name,your dad will suicide,
sister's life will be hell.Because of my mom that bastard got married to my sister.
The bastard is a part of the family but we make sure we don't see their face ever
again in our life.My mom said:a boy can do 100 wrong things and wash his hands in
Ganga jal (holiest river in India) and nobody will blame him.Its always the girl at the
receiving end.From that day onwards she lost the respect of being a mother of a girl.

This one incident shows how the parents of old generation has made the situation worse.
In a house if they every time tell a boy that whatever he does, he won't be blamed,then
what else will the boy think?He will go out and molest a girl.Whereas the same girl will
think she should better keep her mouth shut so that her family name is not disturbed
because its some how her fault and there will be none at home to support her!

The day my sister came to know about this she blamed everything on me and my character.
She did not even ask a single thing to that bastard!!Even if she had,none knows what
happened after that.They are still together and happily married in front of this world.

I still feel disgusted about these two ladies behavior. Thanks to my husband's support
who really pulled me out of that depressed situation.For me its the older generation who
need to change their mind set.And STOP encouraging the boys.

1:47 am  
Anonymous Another Concerned Englishman said...

I've just discovered this blog, having only recently heard about what's euphemistically called 'eve teasing' yesterday. The story of the 2 murdered men standing up to molesters has reached the BBC website if you weren't already aware of this, hence my curiosity. I comment only to add my voice to the men-aren't-all-as-awful-as-this list. To that end i can only say, how appalling, i can't believe the widespread brazenness with which grown men think they can, amongst other things, publically masturbate around young women/girls (not to mention all of the other horrendous stuff i've read, detailed in the comments pages for this article). I can only recommend that you continue to speak up and fight back however possible, including social netowrking sites and petitions or whatever helps to raise consciousness on this issue. Although, as a fellow Brit commented earlier, it's all very well me saying that, as i'm unlikely to experience these things in the way most of the women on here have. I simply dont know enough about indian law or culture to wade in too much about how to go about solving this, but humanity is always - i passionately think - capable of being better than it is in spite of voluminous examples to the contrary; so you have my support and solidarity as fellow, and more importantly equal, human beings. In my opinion, one of the largest impediments to humans bettering themselves, culturally, emotionally and intellectually, are other human beings who can't or wont question prevailing views; or will actively stifle the attempt to do so, whether by overt aggression or insidiously explaining away the problem (such as the argument about 'dressing more modestly' which doesn't make a difference anyway). Anyway i've ranted on enough, but i speak to all the victims of molesting on here when i say keep talking about it, keep shouting about it and don't let the mysogynists grind down your basic human dignity.

4:25 am  
Anonymous Shreya said...

I'm an Indian Marathi girl, i grew-up in Mumbai. I work in Newyork now.

I have never experienced molestation in Mumbai.

Here in newyork city i have been molested. In public places and even at my workplace.

One colleague even had the courage to ask me, politely weather i wish to see his private part. He said, he is a nudist and it would help him a lot.

So i would conclude by saying, Bad People are everywhere. no place is safe. And Don't judge India based on the actions of few jerks.

9:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had been in this situation a lot and really feels so helpless. Infact, today evening had just parked my car under the building and got down to walk to my home and there was this empty transportation bus of SBA group and the driver honked at me. i was not wearing a reveling outfit but was in hijab and company uniform fully covered but still he did it. i couldnt take it and screamed out Waish?? (of somewhat arabic i knew). he immediately stoped the bus ( his way of scaring me) i too walked towards it and he screamed out in arabic "what waish". i said i am calling police and took my mob out ( had my legs shivering under those uniform lose baggy pants) he had put hazard lights and put the window down all the time staring at me...i cudnt get the police line(i didnt intend to call police and create a scene, wanted to scare him) i gave him an equally evil look..he burst out something in arabic which of what i could make out was.."what do you want me to do wait or wat?" i screamed out to him "yalla khali" ...i didnt know what else to say....and as if it was magic words he stepped on the acceleration and was out of sight! ....... so much for my sissy bravery.... what else could i have done??..easy said then done..

its really sad to knw the place i grew up in..has turned out to be this way....

the only thing…i did like to request is for the police to take this matters seriously and appoint more officers in civil clothes and maybe a special cell to catch this pervert eve teasers who honk at the very sight of women. if not its gona get more ugly for womenfolk in Oman.

10:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had been in this situation a lot and really feels so helpless. Infact, today evening had just parked my car under the building and got down to walk to my home and there was this empty transportation bus of SBA group and the driver honked at me. i was not wearing a reveling outfit but was in hijab and company uniform fully covered but still he did it. i couldnt take it and screamed out Waish?? (of somewhat arabic i knew). he immediately stoped the bus ( his way of scaring me) i too walked towards it and he screamed out in arabic "what waish". i said i am calling police and took my mob out ( had my legs shivering under those uniform lose baggy pants) he had put hazard lights and put the window down all the time staring at me...i cudnt get the police line(i didnt intend to call police and create a scene, wanted to scare him) i gave him an equally evil look..he burst out something in arabic which of what i could make out was.."what do you want me to do wait or wat?" i screamed out to him "yalla khali" ...i didnt know what else to say....and as if it was magic words he stepped on the acceleration and was out of sight! ....... so much for my sissy bravery.... what else could i have done??..easy said then done..

its really sad to knw the place i grew up in..has turned out to be this way....

the only thing…i did like to request is for the police to take this matters seriously and appoint more officers in civil clothes and maybe a special cell to catch this pervert eve teasers who honk at the very sight of women. if not its gona get more ugly for womenfolk in Oman.

10:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

me and three other girls just came out of KM hypermarket in Al khuwair and as we were walking down the stairs a van passed in front of us. an Omani driver driving it. he started waving and honking at us. This was around 3:30 afternoon in a busy place like al khuwair. we took our mobile phone acting as if we are noting his number plate number. as we were walking to our car , this guy came back and parked in front of us as if challenging us ..." i am not scared ..do whatever attitude" he was in a company vehicle a commercial one. red number plate 211 MR.

we were scared to even look at him and drove away as fast as possible not to be followed by him......

what can law do to protect us? what should girls do in such cases??

4:12 pm  
Blogger Revacious said...

Thank you for posting this. And thank God it became your most popular post, that's how I reached here. It's really heartening to see the many male comments saying it sickens them too, it proves what i've known a long time now: troubling a female like that is a psychological problem, a disease even. I'm just waiting for when people will start shouting that from rooftops.

5:21 pm  
Blogger fahad ali said...

wow nice thanx dear share the post ....
kurta
sherwani

11:39 am  
Blogger usman ali said...

thanx for information...
kurta and sherwani

8:45 am  
Anonymous Emma Manson said...

Hello, I am from Canada. I'm very sorry that you go through this so often. From my experience, while molestation isn't as common as where you are, it still happens frequently. Every girl or woman has a story. For me, my landlord cornered me alone and touched my breasts, rubbing himself on me and telling me I liked it. I reported it to the police, but most guys get away with this stuff, so he wasn't charged.

I was also attacked as a child, repeatedly, and he was never charged. My husband also raped me, but we are no longer together. I think that is part of the problem, at least here. Women are encouraged to leave the situation, to run to our men for protection. The bad part is, who do you ask for protection when its your men who hurt you? Or when your men. don't act and help you? We need to fight for ourselves. I may be a small, disabled young woman, but even I can help myself.

3:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a writer. I love my wife and family. I read about her being attacked on the bus with her friend and was outraged. Outraged by the indifference from politicians and movie stars. They did nothing.

I told my friends and they shrugged. I wrote a blog and read the stories here about events with "eve teasers." I was moved by everyone's comments.
I screamed and no one heard. I finally wrote a Book Indie- A Female vigilante and thousands took notice. The book is not perfect but what is other then my 2year old grandson. It is dedicated to the restless quill (with permission) to the Gulabi gang and to Hollabcks worldwide. Perhaps it will help start a dialog.
It is available in paperback and kindle:
Amazon.in http://tinyurl.com/Amazon-in-Indie-kindle
Amazon.com http://tinyurl.com/INDIE-A-Female-Vigilante
Thank you for your understanding.
Yann Patel

11:03 pm  
Blogger Lakshmi Krishnan said...

http://lakshmisglazedthoughts.blogspot.in/2013/09/answers-please.html

My blog on similar lines.

After reading your blog I have realised that it is quite common. People take notice (to some extent) only if it is rape. What many do not realise is that molestation is disgusting enough.

Among the many episodes that I have faced, I will share one here:
In Chennai, I was getting back home in a bus. I took a seat on the left side of the bus and after few minutes in the bus, I sensed a face two rows ahead of me, and on the right side of the bus. constantly staring at me. I looked back at him, glared, mumbled, shook my head off, but still he did not take his eyes off from me.
Two stops later, I got up to leave when I noticed the most bizzare thing - an erect penis! He was masturbating!! I was almost getting down, when I stopped in tracks, felt disgusted, walked back to him, slapped him and told him to zip up his pants. Not one soul supported/questioned/etc etc. Not even the bus conductor in the fairly empty bus.

9:06 am  
Blogger Furkan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:17 am  
Blogger Saleena said...

Hello Sandhya,

I am new to your blog and I must say that I find it really good, especially that fact that you are doing such blog from Oman. I would like to share some experience here. I live in Delhi and have been molested umpteen times in Delhi (also in Kerala many many times, don't even get me started.) streets, buses and other public places. The latest being the last week, me and a friend were in an auto,stuck in a traffic jam in one of the main streets in Delhi around 6 in the evening or so. She was wearing a shorts and then there was this guy, middle aged, in a scooter, stuck along us in the traffic. He came close by and switched off his engine and started watching my friend's legs. When I confronted him, he proudly told me that there is a problem with my friend's dressing and if she chooses to dress the way she dressed, he can check her out as he wishes. Probably around 20 other motor bikers started laughing hearing this and this made us very angry and my friend started kicking him. Then the 'happy onlookers' started laughing at him. When the traffic moved, he started moving along with our auto. After moving about 50 metres, as we got caught up in another jam, he moved to the service lane and started touching his lips in a very vulgar way and showed us many obscene gestures. Just to offend us further! All this happened in full public view and some of the previous 'onlookers' were still watching him. None did a thing! We shouted at him from the auto that we would call police. He was so 'brave' to a go little further and stop his scooter and point to his numberplate so that we could see the registration number clearly to make a complaint! When the traffic got cleared, he drove off! What an audacity!!

In the rage, I ended up calling the police, knowing that they would/could do nothing. Later on, we retracted the complaint! I would probably have pursued that complaint, but my friend was very clear that she wants to involve state as little as possible in her life. I get really enraged and stressed out living in Delhi having to fight with men around most of the times. And my friends keep telling me not to waste my time fighting in the streets, rather learn not to be affected much by these incidents. They keep reminding me that I have to pick my battle!

I would like to share also some second hand experiences from Oman as you write from there. My mother works for an Omani family in Muscat and recently she narrated an incident of her being chased by a bunch of young Omani boys when she was out for evening walk. She is someone who wears Purdah and mostly looks down when she walks, something which I have been protesting against for long. (So no 'role of dress' whatsoever!) She said it was right along the street where the house she works was located. She heard someone approaching her and looked back to see these boys running after her. She ran for her life and got into the compound of the house. She called me frantically that night to warn me off of the dangers of being a woman! She narrated another story of a one year old Omani babygirl who was killed by a 14 year old neighbour boy by putting his penis her mouth! She had been left at him by her mother to be looked after while she went to the market! She was crying while she was narrating this, partly for the babygirl who died and partly for the women of the world! Now, she was worried about my sister's little baby, who is less than a year old, living in Kerala. I understand her worries but I had to console her by saying that things are changing here in India for better, when I clearly know, for sure, that it is changing for worse..

regards,
Saleena

9:57 pm  
Blogger muba rak said...

A 20-year-old girl, employed on need-basis with a catering staff agency , has registered a complaint of molestation and assault on her and three women colleagues with Ranip police on Sunday. What will be the next step ? Source: catering services in chennai

3:09 pm  

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