Every woman encounters some form of sexual harassment and/or abuse at some point in her life. Eve-teasing comes in daily, weekly or monthly doses. And there are those times, when there is very little you can do to fight back.

Among my many failures in my fight against harassment, I have a small victory story to tell.

Almost a decade ago, my father and I went to give his car for servicing. Unfortunately, the garage was about 15kms away from home. So, on our way back, we had to take the (in)famous BTS bus of Bangalore.

Since the bus was nearly full, we got to sit at the very end of the bus – which is usually a long, seat that resembles a park bench. As my dad had eagerly grabbed the window seat, I was forced to sit in the center. At the next stop, a young man, probably in his early twenties, came and sat beside me.

I nonchalantly continued staring into space, not knowing that this man had more than just a bus ride on his mind.

About 5 minutes into the journey I felt something slide below my T-shirt sleeve. I hastily shrugged it off thinking it must be a bug of some sort.
Then, it happened again, and this time I checked; and found nothing!

A couple of minutes later I felt the same sensation, but this time, I figured out that it was a slimy finger, sliding under my sleeve, steadily moving towards my chest.

That was it! I got up, asked the man “what the hell he was trying to do?” and gave him one-tight-slap!

Obviously, I was loud enough to attract attention from co-passengers and even the conductor came up to enquire. At this point, the creep got up, and rushed out of the bus, mumbling under his breath that some passengers don’t allow others “to travel in peace” – trying to create the impression that I was the one ‘bothering him’.

While I felt great that I had managed to nail the guy who’d try to feel me up, I spent the entire week, shuddering at the thought of many such scum-balls lurking around, waiting to pounce at innocent women.

Even today, as a working, married woman, I get eve-teased on my way home - by old men, suffering from mid-life crisis, and by young boys who’ve never been taught that women are people too. What do I do about it? I pretend that I never heard them, and tell myself – what goes around, comes around.

To all you brave women – wish you a very happy women’s day and never say die!

Posted 22nd March 2007 by J