Sexual harassment is a serious offence. It’s time we get that clear in our heads. Moreover, offenders do not look a certain way or have a certain well-defined profile. An offender could be anyone from a college going teenager to a retired senior citizen. In all cases, the offence must not be taken lightly.
Samya Gupta, in a Facebook post, talked about an incident in which she was sexually harassed by a father of two, on a bus that she was travelling on. While she received support from co-passengers, many asked her to forgive the man brushing it away as a ‘minor’offence.
Here’s her complete post:
I was sexually harassed today. Yes, harassed by a man around 40 years old, while I was travelling back home in a Bus, filled with 30-35 people. While I was taking naps sitting on the second last seat of the bus, the man made inappropriate moves towards me from the seat behind me.
The moment I realised, I stood up from my seat, yelled and asked for his ID Proof, to which he obviously refused. I secured support from my co-passengers. He apologised. My co-passengers asked me to accept it, and let it go.
But I decided otherwise. I decided to not let it go. I decided to not let an audacious eve-teaser to go free merely by apologising. And why to let it go? To allow him to make ‘apology’, a weapon, to get away? Because Eve-teasing is not that big an offence? To wait for him to convert into a rapist? Like really?
EVEN A MINOR INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT TOWARDS A WOMAN WITHOUT HER CONSENT, IS ACTIONABLE.
I asked the bus driver to stop the bus on the next closest Police Station. I gained the support of a couple of my Co-passengers, and I am really grateful to them.
I went to the Police Station. I gave a written complaint. The procedures I was made to abide by in the Police Station, were too not co-operative. Also, being a law student, I realised everything written in the Criminal Procedure Code is purely fictional. The accused was handed over to the Police. The FIR was lodged.
BUT. But the happenings did not really come to end. After a few distances were covered by the bus, the bus was occluded by some of accused’s acquaintances. They tried intimidating me, threatening me. Pointing at my character, they even professed that the accused is a father of two children and is, therefore innocent. And even went on alleging I must be goofing around with various guys every now and then, therefore my allegations have no sense of veracity. And only because he happens to be a father of two children he shall be presumed innocent. APPLAUSE!
But, no matter what, I am and I always will be glad that I did not let it go. And every time anything of such sort happens, I will ALWAYS fight for it. Because eve-teasing is not a small offence.
P.S: DON’T WAIT FOR AN EVE-TEASER TO CONVERT INTO AN RAPIST. TAKE ACTIONS EVEN FOR THE SLIGHTEST INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT DONE TOWARDS YOU.
Eve teasing must never be brushed aside as a minor offence. By doing so, we make way for serial offenders to use a “heartfelt” apology as a defence every single time. Once they realise they can get away with it, why stop at eve-teasing, eh? And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how sexual crimes go unchecked.
Secondly, sexual offenders do not fit into a specific mould. The notion that since a person is a father of two and hence cannot be a sexual offender is simply ludicrous. Criminals come in all shapes, sizes, demographics and ethnicities. It’s the act that’s wrong. Doesn’t matter who commits it.