First Year Junior College. Mumbai Local, 4.23 Fast to Karjat from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. And a crowded Ladies compartment, overflowing with women, carrying thrice the number it can normally accommodate.
And I, almost hanging out of the door, in preparation for alighting, to walk back home. Perspiring. And trying very hard to ignore men in the next compartment who also hang out of the door, men who whistle, pass lurid comments and call out to seek attention. All advances that we are trained to overlook, no matter how difficult it seems. And I can feel the anger boiling up, it has already been a tough day at college and at work thereafter. I know I can do without the comments.
The trains grinds to a halt and a population tumbles out, like overflowing flood water. I let the crowds push me out and find my feet and without halting to catch my breath, start walking towards the exit.
A shout, the sound of much scuffling and shouting and I turn around to see what happened. I see a man right behind me, who has in all likelihood tried to feel up a woman and the woman, instead of ignoring his advances, grabbed him back. And the women had gathered into a tight knot around them. I was a part of the knot.
They caught hold of him and started slapping him hard. The man cringed and whimpered but the blows came down hard and fast. I joined in, the anger welling up. We punched the man, and I noticed this ghastly feeling running through the crowd of women.
We were all beating him up, some fifteen women including the victimized woman. But we weren't beating just one man. We were directing all our pent up anger and disgust, all the hatred we had garnered against mankind, all the stalking, feeling up, whistles, nudging, groping...everything avenged in hitting that one man.
By the time the police arrived at the site, the man was bleeding profusely, women were still calling him abusive names, and tales of how he tried to grab the woman and also tried to snatch her purse were afloat. A couple of women were whisked away as witnesses along with the man.
I am quoting an example here because I have noticed several times that women shy away from taking action immediately. I would want women to follow this example, act, protest and I would request other women to not remain silent witnesses. We need to make the male population understand that we are not going to take their crap lying down.
We need to instill an understanding that if they eve-tease, it won't go unnoticed. It will be met with fierce action.
Speak out please. It is because we don't speak out that I noticed the entire frustration being showered on one man. That was cruel, I admit. Don't let womankind slip into such base behaviour. We are not animals. Don't let suppression of any sort force you into becoming one. Stop them before you notice your anger getting out of control.
Posted 7th March 2007 by J
A man asked me 'how much?'.
I tried to walk past quickly.
He asked me a second time. 'How much?'
I took a step forward, then stepped backward, swung around, and threw a punch.
He looked very surprised and asked 'what did I do?'
I didn't stay to explain. That night, my fist was swollen. I'd never seriously hit anyone before.
The next time two times I punched men, it was at railway stations in Bombay. In both instances, I didn't hit out immediately. It was only when they persisted a second or third time, despite my obvious disinterest.
The third time was in Kathmandu, outside a movie hall. The man touched me three times before I finally lost it.
He began by protesting - 'I didn't do anything' - and ended by saying 'sorry, sister'. (Bless his poor sister, if he has one; I wouldn't want to be in her shoes.)
This testimonial is from last year's post- we decided it fits in with stories of fighting back. However, we seem to have lost the name of the person who sent this. if this is you- email us!
Posted 7th March 2007