Freedom of speech in India is largely dominated by hate speech, especially on the internet where trolls are free to express their trashy opinions without any filters. Recently Vidya Balan on No Filter Neha spoke about facing harassment in a public place during her college days. A man had stepped into the ladies compartment on the train and Vidya along with her friends asked him to get off, to which he said he would at the next station. “Once the train started he came in again and said oh main nahi utra, main agle station pe utarta hu. So he was sitting there by the window. And then I kept looking at him and it was very uncomfortable you know. You get a sense that something’s fishy. By then he pulled his zip down and he started you know masturbating, shagging right there! He flashed us and I had a writing pad or a file or something in my hand. I went and hit him aur maine maa behen ki gaali bhi di. Pushed him towards the exit and then literally pushed him out of the train. I was enraged!” she said in the podcast.
But what makes this situation worse is that when the media began to cover it, various insensitive and outrageous comments began being made about the incident. Instead of supporting the actress and talking about ways to make public transport safer for women, here is what the comments looked like:
Stick together, girls!