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Mumbai woman flashed, masturbated at: Just the latest in a line of indignities female travellers face

On Thursday, a 22-year-old Mumbai woman took to Facebook to recount how she was flashed and masturbated at by a man on a local train. Worse, the woman claimed that when she called the railway helpline, the person at the other end laughed off the matter and hung up on her.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

After her ordeal went viral, railway minister Suresh Prabhu resorted to action quickly, tweeting that he had ordered a probe and strict action would be taken against the culprit.

The CRPF on Sunday chargesheeted a Railway Protection Force (RPF) head constable  for "not getting the train attended in time and not informing the inspector concerned" about the incident.

However, even after all this, the Government Railway Police (GRP) said they were still verifying the complaint and were yet to register an FIR in the incident.

Anyone reading the woman's Facebook post will be horrified. And rightfully so. But can anyone claim to be surprised? After all, newspapers and websites are chock-full of female travellers telling similar harrowing tales. Here are just a few examples in this year alone:

June 2017: Hyderabad

The Delhi Police reportedly arrested a 56-year-old man at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi for making 'lewd gestures' at a woman while they were on a flight from Hyderabad. The police said the incident took place aboard an IndiGo flight, NDTV reported.

The complainant, a 44-year-old Hyderabad woman, who was sitting next to the man — accused him of unzipping his trousers and masturbating as the flight was about to take off — raised an alarm and informed the attendants, who changed her seat. The woman filed an FIR soon after the flight landed at New Delhi, NDTV reported.

May 2017:  Pune

The Times of India reported that a man exposed himself to a female doctor at her clinic. The doctor, who was alone at the clinic, was reportedly approached by the individual on the pretext of seeking treatment.

The man suddenly pulled down his pants and exposed himself to her, police said, adding that he asked her to treat him. The doctor then asked him to leave and he fled the scene, The Times of India reported.

March 2017: Mumbai

According to a report in Mid-Day, a 38-year-old married woman was being harassed by a neighbour who was making "lewd gestures" at her from the opposite building. The woman was reportedly harassed by her neighbour for a week. The woman reportedly alerted her husband who caught the man in the act and registered a complaint with the Dadar Police.

February 2017: Mumbai

A housewife was flashed in the bustling Churchgate area of Mumbai in broad daylight, according to a report in DNA.

Police said the woman, 30, was visiting Churchgate Railway Station to meet her relatives and was talking to her relatives. Police said that while the woman was conversing with her relatives, a middle-aged man approached her and stood close to her. The woman, feeling uncomfortable, moved ahead and later realised that something had fallen on her dress and the man who had been standing closer to her had disappeared, DNA reported.

The incident was reportedly captured on a cellphone by a Good Samaritan, who had the alleged flasher arrested.

Updated Date: Jul 11, 2017 12:37 PM

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