We get a lot of emails and messages from followers asking their content to be posted on the page. While we try our best to make sure the good ones are always taken live, it’s hard to get everyone heard out there. However, when we received this letter from someone who wished to keep her identity a secret we knew this was important!
The writer wasn’t looking for online fame when she shared her story with us through mail. All she wanted was the world to know how perilous it has become for women to live in India. This is her story and we’re pretty sure it will be familiar to a lot of you reading:
Hey Team Storypick,
I’m a 24-year-old stylist working in a fashion startup in Mumbai.
On 12th June I came back from Ahmedabad from a photoshoot. I left from airport to my place at around 11:30. PM. As I live in Chandivali, it took me hardly 15 mins to reach my place. It was a really tiring day for me as I had a long outdoor shoot and I had to be in my office the next day. All I wanted was to go and rest.
When I reached the lobby, a guy came and stood next to me. He was staring at me while I waited for the lift to arrive. We Indian females are so used to being stared at, that most of us choose to ignore.
He opened the door and entered the lift, while I struggled with a trolly bag, handbag and a laptop bag I was carrying. I thought he touched me inappropriately but as I was struggling with my luggage, I again chose to ignore it. I stay on the 4th floor so I pressed the button. Being in the lift with that man was somehow making me super uncomfortable. It was only when I was about to leave the lift I realized that he was masturbating.
I started shouting at him as he tried to shut the door. I blocked the door using my trolly bag. He opened the other half of the gate and pushed me. I tried to stop him but he ran away. Somehow his phone fell down. I immediately called up the female police help who conveniently told me that they can’t help me as the guy ran away and I don’t know who is he or whether he lives in the same building or not. They asked me to file a complaint next morning.
That night, I had all kinds of terrible thoughts. What if something else would have happened? He knows what floor I live on. He can come here anytime. What to do now? As I live alone, away from my family, I was really scared. I searched his mobile to find something about him. His phone was full of dirty offensive messages which he had sent to random girls. I transferred his picture on my mobile so that I can identify him in future.
Next morning I went to police station, filed a complaint and submitted his phone to the inspector there. The lady police told me not to worry, they will find him.
I was scared and traumatised. My friends asked me to find a new place. My parents were unaware of everything. Days passed by but there was no update on him. One day I also went to police station to ask them about the guy but they said they have handed the phone to the senior team who will help in tracking him.
On 22nd June at around 9 am, while I was leaving for another shoot, I saw someone going downstairs from the stairs while I was in the lift. This was the same guy who was in the lift that day. I rushed toward the main gate to find the guard but he was not there. The guy might have seen me and rushed towards the other entrance of the building. Luckily the other opening of the building is towards the police station. I started shouting and policemen standing there caught him.
They took him in, beat him with stick and belt. It was an hour long drama. He refused to admit anything. When police ask him to apologize to me, he just said,“Ma’am I’m sorry ki aapko laga maine kuch kiya.”. I was so angry and furious. The police officer asked me to come in the evening.
I went to the police station at 7:30 in the evening. The lady police who was handling my case called me in another room and told me not to worry about him. They’ve told him to leave the building. He is not going to disturb me anymore. But my concern was that he knows on what floor I live. What if anything happens in the future? There are no CCTV in my building. He could do anything. His friends with whom he stays can do anything. Plus it was not just about me. He can do this to any girl. He sends all dirty pics and messages to random girls. But the lady police assured me that from now on they can take responsibility for him. As I’ve no proof or witness, I can’t do anything. She gave me her number and asked me to call her if I feel unsafe at any point of time.
Today is 18th July. It’s almost been a month and the guy still lives here. Every time he passes by, I can see him smirking. It really pisses me off. I even called the lady officer but she told me “aapko pareshan nahi kar raha na, toh rehne do. Jis din kuch kare uss din hum usse dekh lege”.
My point is why to wait for something to happen? Are they waiting for a rape to happen? Why do I’ve to feel unsafe all the time? Why do I’ve to take the pain of finding a new place to live (which is a huge task in Mumbai)? Is this how Mumbai is called a safe city for a girl?
I sometimes think that I should I’ve filed a case against him. But then nobody would have supported me. I live in a society full of hypocrites. A society where a random uncle came and started scolding me and my younger brother when he came to visit me when my brother planted a kiss on my forehead. He said “hamko ni pata ki aap bhai behen ho ya nahi per sab hamari society mai nahi chalta”. Or when aunties and watchman of my society judge me when they see me in a dress, or they see me with my boyfriend or see me coming late at night. Or when the watchman stops my cab outside the gate no matter how much stuff I have, but lets the other people auto go inside.
Right now I’m waiting for my passport so that I can apply for a job abroad. Not that I don’t like India. But somehow I feel abroad is going to be safer for me. At least people are not hypocrites and that would make law enforcement better. It would be fairer and unprejudiced unlike here.
India is not safe for single working middle-class women anymore.
I would like to share my story but want to keep my identity anonymous.
Right now I’m waiting for my passport so that I can apply for a job abroad. Not that I don’t like India. But somehow I feel abroad is going to be safe for me.
Those who find the above statement “anti-nationalist”, they’re also a major part of what is wrong with the nation.