Dear CM, I’ve Been Molested on 544 Bus Route Multiple Times
I tried to tell him to stop. To that, he replied, “I’ll do what I want”.
I grew up in Dehradun, where, personally, I had it very easy and never had to experience any of what I’m about to discuss. Within a span of three months after I moved to Delhi to study at Kamala Nehru College, I experienced things that moved me to a state of psychological trauma.
I have to take two buses to reach my college, one from Satya Niketan to South Ex, and then from there to the Gargi bus stop (I walk from Gargi to Kamala Nehru since they are adjacent to each other). To reach the Gargi bus stop, I have to take 544 Bus Route, which is a goldmine for molesters since it carries so many young female passengers on their way to college. I have experienced a few dreadful moments of molestation in that bus (so much so, I regard it as a ‘bad luck’ bus).
There are two cases which particularly stand out and bother me every day.
One of them involves a short-statured man who, I’ve noticed, takes Bus 544 for the sole purpose of touching girls. The first time, when the bus was pretty crowded, I felt his hand on my back, but I dismissed it, thinking of the ‘crowded bus’ excuse.
I don't know how many times I've tried to convince myself with these ‘excuses’ and let men get away with it.
My mind couldn't really fathom that this can happen to ME (I'm new to Delhi and it took me time to catch with to things).
I still wanted to believe that people aren't like that, that people don't touch other people without consent, and I couldn't have been more naive.
The second time, the same man had the audacity to stand next to me and touch my leg and backside (the bus wasn’t crowded then). Since he was of a small stature, I just hurled a few abuses and made him get off the bus at the next stop.
The conductor paid absolutely no attention to this.
This incident didn't really faze me since I was able to defend myself. I even bought a pepper spray.
The next incident, which gave me sleep troubles for two weeks, was far more different. I caught Bus 544 early for my 9 AM class that day. It was packed. There was no space to move (which is very common with morning buses). My bag was hanging from my back. A tall uncle prompted me to take it in front of me lest someone steals from it. It seemed like a good idea, so I did it.
After my bag - the ‘barrier’ - shifted from my back, he saw his chance and started to rub his ‘junk’ on my back. I was astonished and scared (he was very tall, a contrast to the previous man I had encountered). I didn’t know what to do. I tried to tell him to stop. To that, he replied, “I’ll do what I want”.
I had absolutely no space to move, there were no seats available.
I tried moving forward towards the door, but the passengers expressed their contempt as they had to get off at the next stop while I had a few more stops to go.
I don’t know why I didn’t scream. I was so afraid. It seemed like my body had turned cold and I had gone mute. I just wanted it to be over.
When my stop (Gargi) came, I rushed to the gates (mind you, enduring the rubbing and disgusting touching throughout). What scared me the most was when he asked, “Oh you're getting off at Kamala Nehru?” I didn't reply, obviously. I wanted to die in that moment, I felt so vulnerable and disgusted (with myself, too). I ran for my life, straight across all the traffic, despite knowing that I might get hit. I just wanted the whole thing be over.
Reaching my class, I burst into tears. My friends and statistics professor comforted me. I've still not recovered from the emotional trauma this incident caused me. Sometimes, I'm unable to sleep due to my intrusive thoughts about this incident.
Why I didn’t report? I was scared to the bone. What if he decides to take revenge, or throw acid at me? I couldn’t risk something like that.
I hope what I'm sharing helps the government to impose certain measures.
(The girl’s cousin had tweeted out on how she was molested multiple times while travelling on board Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses on route 544. The Quint reached out to her and she’s sent her first person account. Once her Twitter thread had gone viral, the Delhi Police also responded to her. and promised to take action.)
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