With the Bengaluru molestation case, we were once again reminded of the million consequences women face because they were born a certain gender. This story never gets old.
Places change, victims change, stories change, and they all boil down to the same things every time: What time of the day was it? What were you wearing? Why were you out so late? Who asked you to travel alone?
The fault, invariably, ends up being the victim's.
In its latest campaign #StartAConversation, Firstpost is urging people to come out and share their stories.
In an in-house video shot with the newsroom, a few of us chose the worst of the many stories we had to tell, and acknowledged some of the "basic questions" that were put forth.
Sulekha Nair, who works at the business news desk at Firstpost said, "I was wearing a trouser and a shirt. The shirt was tucked in and was full sleeves, mind you."
She further narrated, "I was standing on the crowded bus when a guy who was seated behind me chose to hold the metal frame of the seat in front of him strategically positioning his thumb towards my rear. My first reaction was to move away thinking perhaps it was a mistake. After a little while, I found his thumb veering towards me again and I glared at him then. The third time he did it I told him off. His reaction? "Itna problem hai toh bus mein travel kyon kar rahe ho? Taxi lena na" and looked around at the other passengers, some who nodded in agreement with him and the few women in the bus chose to look away."
Swetha Ramakrishnan from the entertainment desk said, "I don't even recall what I was wearing, the first time I got molested. It was on a train from Hyderabad to Delhi and I was barely seven years old. There was a middle-aged man travelling with us (my parents and I). Somewhere in the middle of the night, the train had a powercut and stopped for a couple of hours.It was at this time that a man, in the dark, fingered me. As a child I just didn't understand what was going on and decided to wait it out, hoping he stops. When he didn't, I started to cry because I was in pain, and he got scared and walked away."
She also added that it was not about sex, or attire or the time of day. This incident was a filthy act of asserting one's power. The man eventually went to jail thanks to my mom, but I may never be able to sleep on trains again. #YesAllWomen
After we posted the video on our Facebook page, we got several stories from people across the world. Here's what the responses were like:
Jyotirmayee Sahoo had a victorious story to tell. She commented on the video with her story and said, "I was barely 18. We (me and my friends) were travelling from my college in a local bus. From the first day, I noticed that a group of people were trying to touch us. First we shouted at them, after which they behaved as if nothing happened and they did nothing. Some people started saying that we should go by private vehicle if we have a problem. That day we all got down from the bus. Next day, we again returned by bus, but with saree pins in our hand. When they tried to touch us we pinched them with that pin. All of them got down and we shouted hurray."
In another story, Leyla Ruma, who lives in Dubai, shared how it happened to her several times as a kid. She mentioned that her uncles and cousin brothers would do it, that she was scared to visit her relatives. She ended on the note that she can now speak up against molestation. She also said, "As I grew up, it stopped and I don't remember how. But because of that, even now if I see a man misbehaving with me or some other women I feel like beating him up till death."
There are stories that are still coming in. There are voices that are still seeking to be heard.
#StartAConversation is one such initiative where you can share your stories and spread the word.
Unfortunately, to find people who have been molested anywhere in the world is not very hard. That was quite the situation in our newsroom, too.
"Do not normalise these incidents"; "Do not chicken out"; "Do something"
We at Firstpost are trying to #StartAConversation, and #CallToAction. After all, how far is too far? How bad is too bad?
Let's all come together and be a part of this change. Even if it saves one life, it makes all the difference.
Updated Date: Jan 08, 2017 09:26 AM