Touched. Pushed. Maltreated. Fondled. Assailed. Attacked. Accosted. Molested. Raped. I am a victim of molestation.
If you may have gone through this abuse, this is an ode to you and to millions of women and men who have lived through molestation and are strong enough to share. Add your experience to the comments. E-mail me and I will publish them. Let it be out there for everyone to know and save themselves.
Why am I talking about molestation? Because I am a victim of molestation too.
I am a victim of molestation. So, I decided to speak up.
In many ways, this is not a new concept to me as a woman. And that too, from India.
But, every time I have been in a situation like this, I have had more and more courage to handle it.
This is one of the more recent incidents. But one made me realise why awareness matters.
I was at a cardiac camp a few days ago. Here, there was this man. He was put there with the aim of aiding the camp processes. But instead of helping people, he had a more dire agenda in mind– taking advantage of women.
He tried on multiple occasions to touch my breast while putting and removing the BP cuff. For someone who has lived in Mumbai forever, this was something I had dealt with in the past. But, he was persistent and also successful on one occasion. I was livid and asked him to back off.
When I am a victim of molestation, I make noise.
This is how I usually deal with things. I make noise, and call the situation to everybody’s attention.
I was ignored when I asked others to support me and take action. People looked at each other and then at me. Was I making a mistake?
Of course, it would have ended at that but, I noticed him doing this to other ladies too, in the exact same manner. When I made a hullabaloo, he was removed from the camp.
I called the heads, asked these ladies to tell them what happened (most of them chose to remain mum), and that’s when they believed it. It was sad to know that in a situation like this, a woman has to give evidence and is not believed prima facie!
Why were the other ladies mum?
Only a handful of women had realised that they had been molested!
I was stumped. How could these girls not even know what happened to them? Why is there such little awareness of molestation?
This is one of the simpler and very basic reasons for wanting to spread awareness; for understanding what molestation is. And for making sure it stops here, now.
- Sexual assault or abuse of a person or an animal
- Pestering or harassing someone in an aggressive or persistent manner; eve-teasing
Molestation is when someone touches you in a bad way– untoward or undesired.
Good touch and Bad touch
Children must be taught the difference between good and bad touch.
In case of children, “good” touch is the touch that makes them feel safe. “Bad” touch is any touch that they don’t want, makes them feel scared or any touch to their genitals. It is also important to explain to them the concept of this is a secret or “our little secret”.
Anything that makes you uncomfortable–even slightly is a bad touch. This also means being touched on your genitals when not in a consented sexual atmosphere.
Teach your children; girls and boys
Crime against children is one of the most hideous forms of offence.
Globally, approximately 18–19% of women and 8% of men disclose being sexually abused when they were children.
This Is why it is important it is to educate your children and make them aware of the possibilities.
Teach your children to speak up and make noise when this happens.
For all the young women out there
Have you gone through being touched and heckled while travelling; especially by public transport? Or assaulted by a relative in a family gathering?
This number is not even estimable, there must be thousands of humans in a situation like this every day. The real question is, how many of us make noise, and stand up for ourselves when this happens? Have you tried to ward off being touched and pushed in a crowded situation?
The change starts with you. If you wish to stop this abuse, to yourself and the others, first admit to yourself that ‘I am a victim of molestation’. Then, you learn to fight it.
Did you know?: Crimes against women increased by 83% from 2007 to 2016 in India.
With the heartfelt intent of spread awareness, share your experiences on how you fought “being molested” in the comments below.
Or, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you want me to publish your experiences (it can be done anonymously if it makes you uncomfortable). Add the subject line, “I am a victim of molestation” and we’ll begin the journey from there.
Let’s take the effort. Let’s help other women and men. Let’s do this today.
Inappropriate touching at the workplace
Inappropriate touching while travelling and what should you do
Being followed? : Here’s what should you do