#TalkingStalking | A Bus Conductor Forced Himself on My Seat
#TalkingStalking | “I am a solo-traveler and have unfortunately been harassed several times”
I can't tell, how often walking through the streets we gotta check our dupatta or the t-shirt's neck.
Be it Delhi, Kolkata, Bihar, UP or Himachal! You are the same piece of flesh, the crowd tends to tell us.
This particular incident isn’t about stalking — nobody followed me around, but it still shows how unsafe public places are in this country.
What ‘They’ Say To Us
“We the crowd, will look at your boobs, we'll pass lewd comments, we'll size you up, we'll try to touch you, we'll try to peek into your clothes, we'll bother you every time you try to be yourself. We the crowd can't see you smoking or drinking, but we can do all of this anytime we wish. We'll make sure that you stay submissive and fearful. We the crowd shall make sure that we take away even your last pinch of freedom!”
My Tryst With Harassment
I have been a solo traveler since I was 19. There have been many instances when I felt unsafe, vulnerable. There have been times when I have switched buses at night and it not been a pleasant switch.
On my way back from my recent visit to Spiti Valley, an elderly bus conductor who gave me the tickets for the bus from Manali to Delhi, said the only seat available was the one next to him. I thought for a moment and then sat next to him. Slyly, he tried moving in close. I protested and said I want another seat. He instead had the guts to say: ‘I have given you this seat because I care for you’.
I protested violently, but, he didn't seem to listen and didn't let me come out of the seat. He then lit a cigarette and said, "tum toh seher ki ladki ho, ye lo pee lo sharmao mat”, (You're a city girl, come, smoke a cigarette with me, don't feel shy!).
I was livid! I screamed and asked him to move. He moved only because I was loud and people heard me.
There are many girls who want to go out of their houses, live their lives, travel, love, party but, they don't because of people like the bus conductor. Their entire life is decided by their fathers and brothers and eventually by their husbands.
How many parents tell their sons to not to be late as they could be a danger to someone's daughters?
Who is responsible for it?
Patriarchal rules, unequal laws and different set of instructions for boys and girls are the trend setters for an unequal society. Add to it unthinking minds and sexist media, the rules never seem to go away from our conscience. What a sad reality this is!
(#TalkingStalking: Have you ever been stalked? Share your experience with The Quint and inspire others to shatter the silence surrounding stalking. Send your stories to email@example.com or WhatsApp @ +919999008335.)
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