BENGALURU: A 24-year-old woman law practitioner had a harrowing time recently when she visited the Central Library.
Around 2pm, as she came out of the library and sat on a slab outside, a man sitting nearby started passing lewd comments and flashed at her.
The woman ignored him and left the spot, but he followed her and even hurled a fruit on her. She then dialled 100 and the police reached there at around 2.30 pm, and arrested the pervert.
This is just one of the incidents that show how parks in the city are unsafe for women, especially those visiting the area alone.
Almost every woman CE spoke to recalled having faced sexual harassment inside the park premises. “I have faced such incidents a couple of times. The moment they find a woman sitting alone, they start misbehaving with her,” said a 22-year-old student, who regularly visits Cubbon Park after college hours to study. “Now, I study in a crowded place,” she added.
“Such incidents often take place in Cubbon Park,” a police official said, adding, “But only a few women file complaints. Even in the case involving the law practitioner, she called the cops only after the accused hit her with mangoes.”
A 34-year-old homemaker who lives in Madiwala said although she loves to visit Lal Bagh, she avoids certain patches in the park that are the hangouts for miscreants.
“Once, a man approached me when I was walking and asked me my price. I was shocked, and shouted at him, and he ran away. Later, when I complained to the staff, they said people presume that a woman found alone there would be into flesh trade, because some people really get involved in sexual activity in some areas of the park,” she said.
Even neighbourhood parks are not safe for lone women visitors.
A 40-year-old homemaker recounted how her neighbour was once touched badly by a man around 6.30pm while she was taking a walk in JP Park.
“After that incident, she stopped going to the park alone, or even with me, and now only goes with her husband,” the Mathikere resident narrated.
Police officials say the problem stems from people’s mindset. “If any woman gets harassed in a park, she should immediately bring it to the notice of the police,” Umesh Kumar, Additional Commissioner of Police (West), said.
“We are trying to prevent such incidents through beat patrolling and Pink Hoysalas. If people filing complaints are worried about their identity, we will ensure that their names are not revealed.” Kumar added that if the helpline number 100 is dialled, police will reach the distress spot in 5-10 minutes. “People have to make use of it,” he emphasised.
Days of horror
In April 2019, a 19-year-old girl was sexually harassed by a park watchman in Nagarbhavi. She stays next to the park. The 50-year-old accused took her to the park in the noon when people were not around and started touching her inappropriately. Passersby caught him and handed him over to police.
In March 2019, a 21-year-old woman who used to go for morning walks with her dog in JP Nagar park was sexually harassed by a 44-year-old businessman for many days. Unable to bear the harassment, she filed a complaint.
In August 2018, a 22-year-old woman accused a cab driver of watching pornography on his phone when they were passing through Cubbon Park. She got down and filed a police complaint.
In February 2018, a stranger attempted to rape a 31-homemaker who had gone to JP Park around 11.30am. The woman fought him and raised an alarm, after which he escaped after warning her.
What women should do
If you face such a situation, immediately raise an alarm, so that people can help in nabbing the pervert.
Call 100 and file a police complaint.