By Namita Sharma
Yesterday, like every other day, I took the matador from Trikuta Nagar to Bahu Plaza. I usually leave around 9 but since I was already late, I could not wait for another one and had to get in the overcrowded one. Well, I got in, tried finding a safe corner but could not find and was hence stuck between two males. I managed to adjust, frowning however. Nobody offered me a seat,so I had another reason to feel agitated. Five minutes passed by, nobody got down, driver was way too slow and I was late-I could not help my fury. After a while, I felt the guy standing behind, deliberately pushing me. I was already seething and hence this did not take too long to make me feel at worse. I turned around, gave him the deadliest scare I could manage and he looked a little ashamed, though I later realized that he was not. A few minutes passed by and there he was again, unashamed, this time grinding against my back. I could sense my rage, in my head I even screamed at him but I just could not turn and slap, could not even show him how miserable and helpless I felt. I was just waiting for my stop to come, somewhat ashamed and fearful, despite knowing that it is his mistake, not mine. He should be ashamed of his deeds, not me. Yeah, I knew this but I was hesitant to even look at his face now. I moved a little forward and so did he, this time trying to feel my legs. I still could not retaliate, I was numb. I heard the conductor yelling ‘Bahu Plaza’ and I heaved a sigh of relief. I got down, without even looking at him.
This is not the first time that it happened with me, or with anybody else for that matter. When I head back home in the evening, I have frequently find these bastards trying their luck on ‘having fun while molesting’, but I have always managed to save myself, SO FAR. I have heard my friends sharing the same stories every other day. Travelling everyday in a public matador is a living nightmare for every woman. Be it Jammu, Kashmir, Delhi, Bangalore or Mumbai, the plague of frotteurism is widespread everywhere. The person would always be scrounging for chances to drive pleasure from rubbing his hands or even genitals against another person. According to the available records there were around 1554 cases of molestation and eve teasing in the year 2011 and the number has evidently increased to 1669 by 2012 in Jammu and Kashmir, which is usually considered SAFE by the local residents. I wonder how far they are from reality!
The overcrowded matadors have just become a safe shelter for these perverts, there is no check and sometimes the matadors are so stuffed that nobody would even care to notice such mishappenings. Harassing women in such public zones has recently become an everyday habit for these predators. And every woman knows that keeping mum doesn’t offer any solution but such incidents happen on a daily basis and sometimes in unexpected situations. Sometimes even the bus conductors would be looking for chances to touch you here and there and nobody seems to be paying attention, let alone interfering to stop the person. For some women, reacting in such situations is a matter of shame and fear and sometime they just stay in denial and that is one reason that these predators feel encouraged and provoked.
The authorities too should take notice of such ill happenings rather than trying to hide them under the carpet. The matadors are too small to accommodate more people and that is how these perverts try to take advantage, because it would hardly get noticed by anybody in an overcrowded matador. The concerned authorities should launch bigger buses with some seats reserved for women. Women too should find solutions for themselves. Keep a safety pin to poke them or a swiss knife for these ill situations. If nobody else is there to back you, keep your arms up.
It is not a matter of shame for you, but for them. So Refuse keeping silent and raise your shields.