This incident happened when I was in my second year of college in Delhi. It was a weekday and after my classes, I decided to go meet a friend at Connaught Place. We had a lot of fun - chilling, eating good food and cribbing about life. At around 5 in the evening, I decided to head back to North Campus.
It was peak hours and Rajiv Chowk station was filled with people, I didn’t even have to walk for the crowd was pushing me towards the platform. As I was about to board the metro, on a densely crowded platform, I felt someone’s hand on me, just above my thighs. “Maybe it’s just an accident, with so many people around someone’s hand just happened to brush against me,” I thought. I turned around and saw a man pushing his body against mine. I caught hold of his hand and quietly pushed it away.
But within two seconds, I felt his hands on me again. That made me realise that it was no accident, he was doing it on purpose! I used to have really long, sharp nails at that time. In fact, once I had unintentionally scratched my friend’s hand and injured it so much so, it had started bleeding. So, without turning around, I dug my nails as hard as I could into his hand. I don’t know whether or not I drew blood, but I hope I did. His hands were nowhere near me after that. I got in the metro, shaken up by the incident and I remained somewhat distracted for the whole day because of that..
Looking back, though, I’m enraged that something like this happened inside a Metro Station - a place that is supposed to be “safe” for women inside an unsafe city. In all the years that I have lived in Delhi, I’ve been stared at, jeered at, groped, eyed and have had Bollywood lyrics thrown suggestively at me. But this incident stuck with me because, for the first, time, I decided to not ignore the harassment I am often subjected to - I retaliated, though not in any drastic manner but I took a step.
Pretending that something is not happening is easier than confrontation, but every time we ignore a lecher, a stalker, a groper or a cat-caller, we just make it harder for ourselves and other girls for whom facing such guys has become a part of their daily life. I know my action that day wasn’t earth-shattering, but it made me feel empowered.
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