Every morning, as we go through the newspaper with our morning cup of tea, we get to read at least 5-6 cases of sexual harassment, molestation or rape. It has become a norm in our country. Not a single woman – be it your mother, sister, friend or any female acquaintance can say that she has not faced harassment of some sort in her lifetime. I too have experienced sexual harassment.

It all started, back in school, when this perverted trend started to come out in the open, at the turn of the year 2000. Teens travelling to school and back in public buses were the soft targets. Maybe because we lacked confidence or the courage to raise our voices or could not make sense of the experience. I was unsure whether or not to report what happened to me as it may have curbed my new found freedom to travel on my own. It was also around that time that we started confiding in our peer group, worrying that if we opened up to anyone else we may be brushed off or face house arrest.

After school, there was college with it came another bout of independence. Classes could be bunked without having to take any approval from either parents or teachers. We spent more time with male friends, it was fun. But, with it came new challenges. I recall boys in large numbers thronging the college gates – eve teasing was on the rise. It was unnerving. Having, crossed these hurdles as well. Life opened new challenges, being thrown headlong into work life. At 24, then, I faced the most direct assault on my privacy, that too only 500 meters from home.

A man, who looked seemingly harmless came by on a cycle and groped me. At first, I was too horrified to speak, but sense prevailed and I started running after the cycle, shouting at passers-by to help me nab him. I had decided that day, that I would not give up. And he was nabbed. I managed to give him a good thrashing and a piece of my mind. He kept on pleading that he was not that kind of a person. He acted innocent, Soon a handful of people had gathered around me. Some believing the episode and some looking at me with doubt. I was in no mood to forgive, and slapped and beat him black and blue. With this incident, I learnt to be my own caretaker and protector.

If on that day, I had not fought back, I would never have been able to forgive myself. As, I believe that if we allow ourselves to be the victim then we are equally to blame. Fighting back shows the tormentor that he will not get away without repercussions, and I did just that.

I was proud for having stood up for myself that day and I was so sure that the coward I thrashed would think twice before targeting another woman. That gives me a lot of hope for the future.

The author, Abhrajita Mondal is primarily into HR & Training and is also a beauty salon entrepreneur. She freelances as a Make Up Artist. An avid animal lover, nature lover and reader Abhrajita writes to express herself and the world in general!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wonder Women World.

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