Daily Harassment faced by Women in India


Annie writes

Streets, stories, strategies

I had my doubts about blogging this - writing about street harrassment.
After all, it's as common-place as paan stains, as ubiquitous as spit.... Will my saying 'NO' to harrassment prevent it? How does telling my stories serve any purpose?


What did I do?

Nothing. I kept walking on, beside my brother.... My 17-year old brother who might have picked a fight if I'd told him.... What could I have told him?... It was too late anyway. The crowds had swallowed all of us up so completely.

For the whole post which is definitely readable, visit

Streets, stories, strategies


I think this is a very courageous effort by Annie to write about it. All of us women, know that it happens. But a sense of dirtiness/guilt/embarrassment prevents us from talking about it openly.


My first bad experience was when I was 13 in Mysore. We had gone for the Dusshera fair at the Palace and in that crowd, someone grabbed me. This had never hapenned to me before. As a young teen I had absolutely no idea what had hapenned or how to react (especially coming from a small town where every1 knew every1 & hence "behaved") The crowd was so dense that I could not identify the disgusting bastard who had squeezed me.
The physical pain was just one part of it. The mental & emotional confusion lasted much much longer. It wasn't something u could discuss with your dad or your mom. Why worry them when there was nothing that they could do about it?


I've had to face this silent oppressment from unknown men in a lot of cities after that. Delhi is the worst oppressor since women have no status at all and every man is related to a politician or a policeman. Mumbai perverts have a free run because of the anonymity of the crowds.


In Delhi, I was most comfortable when I wore the most unshapen clothes & covered up in umpteen layers. I recently heard the true story of a call centre cab being chased and smashed by a sumo full of haryanvi jats. The only occupants of that cab were the driver and a long haired male employee. Only after they had smashed the cab did the "men" realise that it was a male employee & left (note left not fled) the scene.


In mumbai the local trains and transport systems offer the worst security. Sometimes U feel a ladies compartment isn't enough. We need a ladies platform or a ladies only station.


I now have the luxury of travelling in my car with my driver. In general the Mumbai male is polite and respectful, but something happens to him when he is in a crowd. Unlike a mob mentality, it is the anonymity of the whole process that lends courage to him & he behaves like a depraven disgusting piece of shit who doesn't deserve to walk the face of this earth.


What have I learnt ?

i have learnt to walk with my elbows sticking out at the waist & give a really hard shove to anyone who walks too close to me.


I have learnt to scream & shout in overnight buses {where men with extra long hands think its easy fun to paw a woman (in the seat in front or at the side or when walking down the aisle) } until the conductor either gets the man off the bus or the man is humiliated in public to an extent that he will think 10 times before doing it again.
Some of my aunts who would rather not bring attention to themselves, keep themselves armed with large safety pins & draw blood from wandering hands.


The problem in Chennai buses is so bad that some bus operators don't accept women travelling alone even if u r willing to book 2 tickets.


So conditioned have I become to this roving hands phenomenon, that I am extremely uncomfortable on packed flights when I have checked in late & had to sit between 2 men, that I spend the whole flight literally with my arms wrapped around myself. I'm still paranoid & cant feel comfortable resting my arms on the armrests on these pokey seats. I think its time to reserve ladies seats on flights too.


I havent' had a bad experience on a flight yet, but it could be because of the no-nonsense expression on my face. But yes u do have the occassional co-passenger whose head drops 2 the side when he is catching a short nap & u never know if it is deliberate or intentional so U wake him up never the less & tell him to stick to his side of the seat.


I have had worse expereinces in my earlier days. They have become almost nil now. Whether its because :


- there are younger & better looking prey available


- I have a no-nonsense or I'll punch u HARD in the Face or worse in the Groin look about me.


- I have become more cautious & consciously avoid putting myself into risky situations. (waiting for 3 more trains to pass although I might b late for my morning meeting)


At least now I am not subject to the guilt & frustration of being a woman in India.


- Action Hero Kim