It’s strange that as women, we go through so many things and men are blissfully unaware of the realities. It stared at us so evidently last week, when the hashtag #metoo was trending and women kept sharing tales of sexual harassment and sexism they face at every turn of their life. And so many men were taken aback at the number of stories that kept pouring in.
I didn’t share a story, where would I begin? The time when I was 12 and was probably groped by a relative during a crowded wedding procession and just disappeared in the crowd before I could even grasp what happened. Or a few months back, as a 27 year old, who was exhausted and napping in a cab I took from the airport after a trip, listening to music, when the car stopped at a signal and I felt a hand grope me. A pervert who had the audacity to put his hand inside a car in broad daylight. By the time I reacted, he was already on the run, I just shouted “bastard”, frustrated, disgusted and still too tired. Some cabbies got off their car and tried to catch him. But he had managed to run away. I was asked if I was all right. They thought he was trying to steal my phone. I was advised that I should keep my car windows up. Lesson learnt. Thank you.
I calmed down a little and then laughed at the absurdity. I was wearing layers of clothes, I had a jacket on, a shirt inside and then a padded bra. All he touched was clothes. What did he get off it? Cheap thrills.
I told this to a friend and she just laughed too. Groping is so common, that some women don’t even take it seriously anymore.
But a guy who I happened to tell it too was shocked. He couldn’t believe that it happened in broad daylight in a city like Mumbai. But funnily enough, the exact same thing had happened to my friend a few months ago. Same city.
I wonder if all the sharing will help? Maybe a little. Maybe a lot. Maybe not at all.