“I’d just gotten off the train at Goregaon and was headed to the bridge when I felt a hand grab my butt. I’ve travelled in trains for most of my life, so I knew that it wasn’t by mistake.
A softball player since childhood, I have fast reflexes– so I was able to catch his hand. He was huge and I got a little scared, so I called for help but no one came. Within seconds, I had to decide if I wanted to let him go or file a complaint– I started pushing him towards the Railway Police Station. He was drunk and protested a little, but I firmed my grip on his hand. As we reached the station, a few police officers saw us coming and grabbed him.
After I narrated the incident, they told me we’d have to go to the head railway police station in Borivali. An officer even said to me, ‘Madam, he’s been caught twice before! But no one filed an FIR as the procedure is lengthy. But you don’t let him go. We are all here for you!’ His words eliminated any fear I had as I called mom and told her to meet me at Borivali.
The officers there saw the CCTV footage and questioned him for hours till he finally confessed; he was jailed the same night. Meanwhile, they took my statement and set me up for a medical procedure. On the way back home, mom told me, ‘I’m so proud of how brave you’ve been.’
The next morning, grandma was a little scared but mom encouraged me to go by myself. When I reached the station, I couldn’t stop replaying the incident in my head. But I pulled myself together.
A few days later, one of his daughter’s called and told mom, ‘Aunty, please withdraw the complaint and let him go. Please forgive him for our sake.’ To this, she said, ‘It’s for your sake that I cannot let him go; he’ll learn his lesson only this way.’
It’s been 2 months since he’s been in jail. He cannot be bailed as I’m a minor and he has to wait until the court hearing. People often ask me how I managed to be brave. Truth is, I knew that it wasn’t my shame; and also, Sec 354 had my back the whole time.
More often than not, women aren’t aware of their rights. But what really holds us back is fear; fear of what people will think, fear of the apparent ‘repercussions’, fear that we will be blamed and not the attacker. But at the end of the day, the only thing that will make us stronger is our voice — our ability to speak up and stand up for ourselves. Because we’re human beings too and it’s about time we’re given that respect.”
Post Courtesy: Humans of Bombay.