Sunday, October 12, 2008

Maithili Desai

What made you react in the way that you did?

I had encountered sexual harassment myself, when I was new in the city. I remember the feeling of disgust that had filled me. I don't want any other human being to feel the way I did and find themselves alone in the situation.

I was returning home from college at around 7.30 in the evening by the Borivali fast train. Since I had male friends with me, I was in the general compartment. At Andheri station, a girl my age got into the train. There was a man behind her who was touching her and she was visibly uncomfortable. After a moment or so, I asked the man what his problem was, couldn't he keep his hands to himself? he went into the defensive and started ranting about how people point fingers without proof etc. one of my friends too got involved and warned the man to behave himself. the others in the compartment too supported us once we raised our voices and the fellow had to apologise. We then asked the girl to stand with us for the rest of the journey.

Have you ever experienced street sexual harassment or 'eve teasing' and been supported by the public? Did they help? or show support? if yes, in what way?

Yes, I did experience sexual harassment once. I came to Mumbai for my education almost a year and a half ago. It was during one of my first bus rides in town that I was harassed by a fellow passenger. I didn't know what to do and was deeply embarrassed. a fellow passenger noticed my discomfort and asked me to move in front of her in the aisle and stood between me and that man. I couldn't have thanked her enough!

Have you ever experienced street sexual harassment and made a scene and not have the public support you?

Not really. But I'm sure that if the situation arises, I am confident that anywhere in the city, if I raise my voice, I will get help.

How would you like the public to support you?

The best support would be to encourage police proceeding. That will be the best way to stop this nuisance.


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