The #MeToo Movement in India spread like fire last year when Tanushree Dutta opened up about her experience on a film set. Women (and men) around the world have been fearlessly sharing their experiences of harassment and as heartbreaking as these incidents were, they also brought to light perpetrators who are now being held accountable for their actions. Survivors have rallied together to support and empower each other, and amidst the grim news, we have been able to start a debate on various aspects of safety.
Now, Twitter has documented another incident that sent chills down our spine, but also armed us with knowledge on how to stand up for ourselves.
Recently, this Twitter user (@2am Philosopher 🏳️🌈) shared an incident that happened to her when she was on board a Shatabdi train. The woman was molested by a drunk man and she shared her ordeal on Twitter. Along with the unfortunate incident, she also tweeted about how women can take legal action in such situations. Here’s the process as explained by her.
I was molested in a shatabdi and this is my thread on how to go about with the legal process @IndiaMeToo
Step 1: Scream and shout and alert the potential witnesses around you.
Step 2: Inform the TT (Travelling Ticket Examiner)
Step 3: Write everything down, everything that happened on a piece of paper. It will help you frame your statement well and also acts as evidence later.
Step 4: Get down from the train and go to the nearest police station. Make it clear to the officials that you want to file an FIR. File it in front of the officials.
Step 5: Stay at the police station until your FIR is lodged. Do not leave the premises until it’s done. In case they refuse to file an FIR, dial 100 and file a ZERO FIR (it is an FIR that can be filed in any police station regardless of the place of incidence or jurisdiction).
Step 6: Take copies of the statement you filed and take a receiving from the police. Receiving is a statement that the officials sign and seal admitting to having received your complaint.
Step 7: They will request you to drop the charges and ask you to think about the family of the molester. But don’t give in. Stick to your statement and don’t withdraw it any case.
Step 8: They will try to find loopholes in your statement. So, be clear and audible when reiterating your statement.
Step 9: In about three-four days, there will be a court hearing. Present your case in front of the judge and make sure to take your family member or some friends along who can be your witnesses.
Step 10: Contrary to popular belief, one has to go to the courtroom only once. Your case will be assigned to the state prosecutor and he/she will fight it on your behalf.
Step 11: The court will send you summons at the address you mention. Make sure to carry these when you go to the court.
Step 12: The defence counsel will try and 'settle' the issue. If you’re seeking justice, don’t settle.
Step 13: Once the cross-examination is done, you’re good to go.
Step 14: The judgment will take time but you wouldn’t have to go to the court again.
It is unfortunate that these incidents happen, but there are laws in place to protect us and to punish the culprit. Her honest account shows that she didn’t back down even when pressured, and we’re saluting her for fighting for herself and sharing her story with so much courage.