HYDERABAD: After her frustration hit the boiling point, television actress Ashmita Karnani decided to make those two men, who were troubling her, “popular” by clicking their pictures and posting them on Facebook. She also tagged the Hyderabad Traffic Police. The SHE Team eventually arrested the culprits.
The situation Ashmita was in is faced by almost all women, in all circles most of the time.
24-year-old Simran Kaur was driving her car when she noticed two guys following her and passing comments. “I couldn’t hear them since my windows were closed. They drove past and the pillion rider started staring at me without blinking. It was humiliating. I took my phone and clicked pictures of the number plate and also the men,” she recalls. She did not see them after. Relieved, she left it at that.
While Simran had the opportunity to at least scare these men, Moulika, communication professional, was left helpless and shocked, swearing to herself. “I used to go to the gym everyday after work and return home between 8 and 8:30 pm. On my way back I had to cross a long stretch of military area. One day while driving back, one person wearing a helmet hit me very hard on my back for no reason and disappeared. For a moment I didn’t understand what happened. I was in shock.
By the time I realised and wanted to note down his bike number he was gone,” she shares.
The perpetrators, who come prepared with an escape plan, leave no scope for the victims to react. Sreeju Vishwanath, a lecturer, who stays in Salarjung Colony at Tolichowki, faces similar kind of discomfort, on a regular basis. After patiently ignoring them for quite some time, she finally acted. “One evening around 7 pm we were walking up to the main road and two young men came riding towards us in full speed. I reacted on impulse and hit the rider on his shoulder. He lost his balance. But he escaped,” shares Sreeju.
She says that things happen in matter of seconds. “We hardly get to notice the vehicle number. When they come on to us in high speed, we panic and hence give them time to escape,” she says and adds that self defence is the only way out.
In situations such as these, reporting the incidents becomes a far-fetched idea. These women feel that being able to tell the perpetrators that they are wrong may be the first step, but a huge. Gauthami Challagulla believes that it is utter selfishness on the part of those women who do not stand up for themselves. “I feel that when I question a person who is ogling at me or ask that random guy to repeat statements like “cheyi teeste motham kanipistadi”, I urge them to think twice before repeating the same next time. That way we are standing up to the larger injustice,” she opines.
Though she too has encountered a lot of uncomfortable situations, it was only once that she went to the police. “It was a coincidence that this one person I chased, went and rammed into a patrolling police van. I reported and took him to the station in the same vehicle. But other times, I didn’t because it is not easy. They are too quick to catch hold of,” she points. Swathi Yellajyosula also agrees with Gauthami. She says questioning the perpetrators does half the job. “I let them know that what they are doing is unacceptable. Public shaming and creating a mob around them always works,” she says. Gauthami claims that it works too, out of her personal experience.
What can you do?
Do not hesitate to question the person who makes you feel uncomfortable.
Talk to them in a high-pitched voice and create as much ruckus you can
It creates panic and embarrassment. There is a good chance they will not repeat it.
Use help of the police. All the departments are active on social media. Tagging them brings attention to the problem and also stops the perpetrators from repeating their actions.
The Hyderabad Police, Hyderabad Traffic Police and SHE Team are active on Facebook and Twitter.
They also have an app called the Hawk Eye where anyone can register and seek help from the police at all times. This app also favours those who wish to stay anonymous.