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#SpeakUp: 'When I was touched inappropriately'

By Anita Aikara
September 27, 2016 14:12 IST
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Were you sexually abused? Stalked? Harassed? Touched inappropriately?
Tell us, dear readers, what you did about it.

Taapsee Pannu in PinkWatching Pink, my thoughts wandered to the day someone touched me inappropriately.

I distinctly remember the day even though it happened five years ago.

I had stepped out of one of Mumbai's railway stations on my way home. It was 7 pm. The street was crowded. People were hurrying to catch a bus or rickshaw to get home. The road was lined with vendors who were also in a hurry to sell their wares.

It was a short walk to the autorickshaw stand from where I usually take a rickshaw home. I was tired. My feet ached.

So I decided to cross the road and take a rickshaw from there, instead of from the rickshaw stand. Little did I know that I'd regret that decision minutes later.

I spotted an empty rickshaw and quickly got in. The driver dropped the meter and started the rickshaw. The road ahead was jammed with traffic. The rickshaw driver honked loudly as he attempted to manoeuvre his way.

There was much chaos. Beeping cars. People fighting. Vendors calling out to passersby. I sat at the edge of the rickshaw amidst all that tumult, hoping I could get home soon.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt a hand grab my breast. The impact was so strong and quick that I shrieked out loudly in pain. I crossed my hands over my chest and sat still.

The rickshaw driver turned around and asked if everything was okay. I wanted to tell him what had happened. But the words would not come out.

Instead, hot tears trickled down my face. I was too shocked to react and too ashamed to talk about my experience.

All I wanted to do was get home and hide.

The pain lasted the next couple of minutes, but the fear of being groped stayed longer than I imagined.

It has been five years since that day. I haven't mustered the courage to take a rickshaw from that spot again.

After watching Pink, and looking back, I wish I had spoken up that day.

Why hadn't I mustered the courage to go to the police?

Maybe I could have alerted the police before another incident happened, as it probably did; before another girl became a victim, as she probably did.

Almost every day we hear and read of people being sexually abused, stalked, harassed or touched inappropriately.

Some muster the courage to speak up and fight. Others just stay silent.

Tell us, dear readers, have you experienced such a situation? It could have happened to you at home, in office or on the streets.

What did you do about it? Tell us.

If you want to tell your story, please write in at getahead@rediff.co.in (Subject: #SpeakUp) along with your name, age and location if possible. We will publish your stories on Rediff.com Your privacy will be ensured.

IMAGE: Taapsee Pannu in Pink.

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