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It was a warm summer afternoon and I was walking home after class, which was in a supposedly decent residential area. The streets were relatively quiet with few people around when I was approached by a middle-aged man on a bicycle. Naming a school located nearby he asked me for directions. I was looking at his face while explaining and so obviously did not notice that his fly was undone, until he suddenly interrupted me saying, “So will I find anyone there to suck this?” Shocked into silence I fled the scene while he continued shouting after me. For a long time afterwards I never took that road again.
Another time, I was sitting in the aisle seat of a crowded local bus when I happened to have another open fly thrust into my field of vision. This time the man was having a field day blissfully stroking himself while leaning onto the mass of bodies surrounding him. There have been countless instances when phantom fingers have crept up slyly and pinched me or some idiot has “accidently” bumped into me on the bus. But this was the final straw. I very rarely take the local bus anymore.
What did I do to handle the above two instances? Nothing. Have you ever been tongue-tied in an argument, but after the person has left you think about all the smart things that you could have possibly said? I feel much the same way. I wish I had learnt some kind of martial arts, so that I could have given the bicycle guy a kick right where he chose to expose himself. I wish I had had the mind to atleast scream obscenities at him. I wish I had had the guts to pull up the lecherous man on the bus. But I did nothing. Because I am supposedly the docile and polite good Indian girl who is conditioned not to cause trouble, not to create a scene, not to attract attention, not to stand up for herself or to speak aloud about such “embarrassing” situations. I am ashamed to admit it but I accept that I simply escaped and ran away trying in vain hope to avoid or atleast reduce the possibility of such incidents occurring again. But there are numerous women out there who don’t have that choice. Even in the face of continuous harassment they need to go out there and do what they have to do.
You may well ask, what is the point of me writing about something which happened quite some time back and which is probably just a miniscule part of all the more horrible atrocities that happen every day? Nothing really. It’s just a rant. I’ve had it within me for a while and I’ve often fantasized about shouting it out to every flasher that one might have the misfortune to come across. I need it out of my system. I’ve simply decided that enough is enough. I can afford to take a taxi or an auto instead of the bus. But, as a woman I can no longer afford to keep quiet anymore. And that is why I am writing this.
What’s up with you flashers? (No pun intended here) Seriously, do you think that irregular piece of flesh that you choose to whip out so proudly is going to charm anyone out there, making them go weak in their knees and into total submission?! Honestly, what on earth do you expect when you go around flaunting it to the next woman who walks by? Do you really think that it is so exquisitely beautiful and that everyone is simply dying to catch a glimpse of it? If so, here is the plain truth. No it is not. So just stuff it right back in, zip up and get the hell out of my life!
Anne John plays with words for a living and would probably do the same even
A realistic & nicely written article..
Such instances happens with many girls atleast once in lifetime.. Me too have faced this situation twice.. & u know what Anne, it was once on road & later in a bus.. These sick people should realise that such acts will never help to attract anybody towards them..
What is it with these flashers anyway? What makes them think a passing woman will be happy for this sneak peak at their crown jewels? I once saw this creep flashing his whatzit while travelling by bus to college. Nearly threw up! EW!
Such incidents are pretty common, but once, when I was travelling by A DTC bus, I saw a young girl looking traumatized, and realized that s bum had unzipped and was rubbing himself against her. I was just about to give him a piece of my mind when a middle aged lady beat me to it … and HOW! She pulled the girl towards her, pushed back everyone around that bum and exposed him, shouting: ‘somebody hand me a pair of scissors’!! The bum just rushed out of the moving bus without even zipping himself up while everyone in the bus was in fits of laughter!
I think humiliating such perverts is an option. I watching a discussion on the a show called Asmita (in Hindi) and a police officer (a woman) said that the taboo on using words related to sexual abuse and assaults stops women from wanting to talk about what happened.
The disgust that a victim feel should not have any shame in it, the flasher should be shamed, and older women can do it best. Just a loud admonition like “Aren’t you ashamed of displaying yourself (preferably use the name of the body part) in public like this? Do you know this is a crime and you can be jailed for six months if I take you to the police station right now?”
Anne, u have mentioned taxi or auto as an alternative mode of travel. a few days ago there was an article in the times where a lady had taken the Meru cab to andheri and the driver had exposed himself and was scratching all the way. she called her friends who suggested that she should quietly come to andheri and he will be taken care of, there. when they reached andheri, the lady’s friends bashed up the driver for which he had the gal to say he was diabetic and so couldnt refrain from such scratching. other wise was a much married man. i have had similar instances in auto also. the bloody mental make-up of these sick fellows should be cleaned, otherwise no help.
Somehow I wonder if it’s that they think females will be attracted, or a warped sense of power and fun, as in, “Hey, look, I can show this totally private part of my body to you in public, and you are so cowed that all you can do is look horrified and scared and get away from me as fast as you can.”
When i was in school i did not have the courage to speak up about such incidents that i would have to put up with when outside the safety of 4 walls of my house. But when i had to leave home for my further studies i realised that if i did not speak up, i would not have a choice but to silently put up with the abuse.
First time i spoke up, i got the lofar beat up by a policeman and the public in Mysore district, who i found fortunately at the turning of the road. Me and my friend chased him and then the police chased him down.
Second time I was alone and a Boy walked past ‘accidentally’ touching my butt, I called out to him and confronted him aggressively threatening him to drag him to the police station which wasn’t far at all. He did not expect me to have done this, and was shocked which made him immediately say a ‘sorry’ apologetically without defending himself.
Speak up girls or none will do it for us.
@Aparna: Thanks! Yep true.
@Lavanya: I hear ya!
@Parul: Wow! That is so heartening to hear!
@Srilakshmi: Sigh! I know I/we can’t keep running away – coz ultimately there will be nowhere to run.
@Nayantara: Good point. Seems highly likely.
@Monica: I feel so proud reading your comment. Hopefully it would give me and others like me the necessary courage.
It is just the male ego that tries to prove that they are the powerful ones. They have no hesitation in unzipping to relieve themselves in public places. We women turn away out of shame but do men (or at least many of them) ever feel bad when a lady sees them urinating in public? I know of a man who had rented a portion of his quarter to a widow and taking her to be vulnerable had the audacity to start bathing in the bathroom when she was brushing her teeth. He was grinning at her as if she was supposed to relish the sight. The wife was of course led to believe that the widow was at fault.
@HG: How terrible! I wish these weirdos will realize that we turn away not because we are afraid of their “power” – but simply because it is totally disgusting!
@IHM: Hope that is true. One of my friends was saying that one can’t really gauge the reactions of such people as they are obviously sickos and so it is better to scram from there instead of getting hurt or something…
Pingback: Anne’s story: I wish I had atleast screamed obscenities at him | Chennai Hollaback!
ya wery bad
Not every woman feels disgusted or scared at every flashing experience. A typical flasher doesn’t go to the extent of physical contact, he just finds it thrilling and exciting for whatever reason. Most flashers wouldn’t flash if they knew how the woman would feel about it, but the problem is different women take it in different ways (i am talking only about flashing in a non-threatening manner) and a well-meaning flasher is in the dark as to what to expect from whom..he just desperately expects the woman to have some fun. I am neither supporting nor judging anyone, just throwing some light on a typical flasher’s psyche. When I say a ‘typical flasher’ i mean a man who is normal in all other areas of life, has loving relationships and family but demonstrates a deviant sexual behavior without intending to emotionally or physically harming women. Eve teasers, rapists, Men who touch women inappropriately without their consent are not in the category of a typical flasher.
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