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'I Felt Violated': When Someone Masturbates at You in Public, Trauma Lingers On

"Even if they're not touching you or saying anything, non-consensual public masturbation is still assault."

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Fit
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Hindi Female

Firstly, let's make one thing clear, while masturbation in itself may be a natural urge that shouldn’t be demonised, masturbating in public – in front of someone who is not consenting – is not about sexual pleasure.

In April, when a video of a man masturbating in the Delhi metro went viral, one might brush it aside, thinking – 'this happens all too often.' But, if you ask someone who has been a survivor of this type of sexual assault, they will tell you just how traumatic it can be.

Like Shreya.

My 19-year-old flatmate Shreya (name changed) had gone for a run in the park outside our housing complex like she did every evening. But this time, she burst into the house much sooner. Her eyes were wide and she looked rattled.

"A guy in the park jumped out of the bushes and started jerking off at me," she said shakily before bursting into tears.

This happened nearly six years ago. It was the first time she experienced something like this. The experience, she tells me now years later, scarred her forever in some ways.
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