Allahabad girl Aarti Yadav beats harasser, sets bike on fire

Is this how Indian young women are supposed to deal with street sexual harassment? The police came and filed a case against the ‘eve teasers‘ (or  ‘manchale’ in Hindi, I wish we used more appropriate words).

Although she did  ‘take law into her own hands‘, Aarti Yadav, 22, has complete social approval and support. She was in a crowded market when her neighbour, who had been harassing her for a while, made some lewd comments; she chased him, then she kicked and slapped him, a crowd gathered (and some can be seen filming), the assailant ran away leaving his bike behind. She set it on fire.

How many young women can do this? It seems she felt the only other option was suicide – and sadly, that is easy to believe.

Suicide or public slap (or equivalent action) are seen as honorable options for young Indian women when dealing with Street sexual harassment. Reporting to the police frequently means justifying their life style and clothing, and proving they were not ‘asking for it’.

Shouldn’t it be easier than this?

Why should a young woman have to choose between suicide and a violent retaliation? The man could have returned with a gang (like in Keanan and Reuben case). Please remember the Guwahati attack too started with a girl trying to fight back sexual harassment. Why do Street sexual harassers (should not be called  manchale or eve teasers) feel so safe on Indian streets?

Link shared by Dr Arun. 

73 thoughts on “Allahabad girl Aarti Yadav beats harasser, sets bike on fire

      • IHM, burning the motorbike comes does not come under the category of self defense.

        I’m sure he deserved it, but let’s be clear here – he’d already run away by the time she decided to set fire to the vehicle. Even if she didn’t pre-plan it, even if it was done in the heat of the moment, this was a deliberate act of malice, not of bodily defense, and I don’t really approve of it, even if I do feel he deserved no better.

        • I would definitely not call it an ‘act of malice’ – an act of malice was the one perpetrated by the bike rider who day after day continued to harass her for no fault of hers.
          While I do not condone people taking the law into their own hands, sadly what this young and brave lady did, reflects the sheer frustration that she and countless other sexually terrorized women experience in every city, village and metro in India. When you have lost faith in the police machinery, when you are convinced that no one will protect and defend you from sexual terrorism (callously called ‘eve teasing’), what do you do? Continue to face it mutely each day and live like a second class citizen? Do you think the police would have taken her complaint of ‘eve teasing’ seriously? Do you think they would have spent their time watching out for the guy who passed her by and nabbed him? What is the guarantee that the guy would not be alerted to the presence of police and not do his act the day they watched out for him? Would the police have continued to shadow the girl to catch the culprit? Or would they have instead doubted her credibility and closed the case? Did you see anyone in the crowd come to her rescue to try and catch the culprits? No, they just gathered around to see the ‘tamasha’.

          She risked her own life doing what she did – but the determination with which she did it does not reflect an ‘act of malice’ – rather it reflects an intense desire to show the guy that SHE HAD HAD ENOUGH and was not going to be a victim anymore. The mental anguish that she suffered far exceeds the damage to the motorcycle. The motorbike was the tool used to perpetrate the sexual terrorism – it was a quick getaway vehicle used each time by the cowards – who were confident that no one would catch them as long as they had the means to quickly get away. By burning that vehicle, she put an end to the tool that was being used for the crime.

          Having experienced ‘eve teasing’ myself several times in Mumbai, I know exactly what she was feeling. I felt like reaching out to her and giving her a big hug. To let her know that she is not alone and her act represents the sheer anger and frustration of women all over the India. To laud her for having the courage to defend herself.

          This is a sad reflection of our police and judicial system, where a woman is forced to do things she would not normally do – just to protect herself.

        • I’m sorry, but destroying someone’s property out of anger is absolutely an act of ‘malice’.

          The argument that she was frustrated and had no other option wouldn’t stand a minute in a court. Of course, this is not a court, but claiming that this was some convoluted form of self-defense is misleading and false. Where does one stop? If burning the bike is self-defense, then why is burning his house not the same? How about murder? Would you call that self-defense?

          The man did indeed commit an act of malice, nut that does not absolve her from all responsibility when she decided to retaliate by committing one such act of her own. Given the circumstances, I wouldn’t hold this against her, but let’s at least be honest here.

        • I am no lawyer – in my human view – the guy started the whole thing with a strong malicious intent – of causing harm to the girl.
          Again, I am not condoning people taking the law into their own hands to get justice. But the law of the land needs to be fair to all – which is very sadly lacking in today’s system. It is horribly biased against women.
          As for how this would be viewed by a judicial system, I am willing to talk fair and just means as soon as the Indian court system starts doing the same. We have had have several examples in the recent past where instead of defending a woman, the court system has tried to find faults with her.
          I would not be surprised if some judge ruled that she deserved to be ‘eve teased’ because she was wearing jeans and a T shirt and then also let the perpetrator go scot free.
          I hope this is a wake up call for the police and the justice system – something is wrong with the system, when a woman citizen does not feel confident of getting justice through lawful means and feels the need to resort to this drastic measure.
          I’d like to see the day where a woman approaches the police and the justice system, confident in the belief that her rights will be protected and she will be fairly heard and judged.

        • Reena,

          Perhaps it’s just personal obtuseness, but this still sounds like rationalization to me. Yes, the law of the land is not implemented well in many cases. So what? Justice systems are imperfect. In India, they are certainly both flawed and slow. Yet it’s a huge stretch to claim that they never deliver justice. Did she even go to the police? If somebody does me wrong, do I just go and set fire to their car because I’ve convinced myself that the legal system can’t help me? Does this not honestly seem like mob logic to you?

          The courts don’t always get it right, but they’re there for a reason. I’m not a woman, but I know the courts won’t always protect my rights either. It’s not just a woman thing. It’s not even just an India thing. Men and women are denied what they perceive as justice all the time, all over the world. It’s not right. It’s not correct. Yet it happens. We continue to improve, we continue to make it easier, better, but it still happens.

          If we are to maintain a semblance of peaceful civilization, we need to understand that it’s okay to fight and protest an unjust verdict, but not by means of criminal destruction, for god’s sake.

          If you’ve been following the post-Godhra riot trials, you’ll notice that the ‘law can’t help us, so we delivered justice on our own’ argument is repeated ad nauseam by the defendants. If we’re okay with the bike-burning, why are we not okay with that argument? The difference is not so large. In fact, the difference is only of scale, not of ethical justification. They perceived a denial of justice, so they did what they thought was right.

          That’s my point, really, and I’m sure we can agree to disagree if you remain unconvinced.

          Cheers.

        • “I am no lawyer – in my human view – the guy started the whole thing with a strong malicious intent – of causing harm to the girl.
          Again, I am not condoning people taking the law into their own hands to get justice. But the law of the land needs to be fair to all – which is very sadly lacking in today’s system. ”
          Completely agree. Which is why I have an underlying disdain for the law in a legal system that does very little to protect those in need of legal recourse rather than acting as an instrument of the rich and powerful. I am strongly against vigilantism, but I can understand what this woman did and I don’t think she deserves the same kind of persecution from law (if charged) that someone who, say burnt her ex’s motorbike out of revenge.

        • Did not know how to put this at the right spot in the comment chain, but then let me act hypothetically as the defense lawyer for the girl.

          1) We will accept that she was in such an uncontrollable rage that she had to burn the bike down. It has been proved through psychological literature that unlike men, the time needed for a woman to ‘cool down’ after a long term mental abuse is longer and can go in days or sometimes months. (I would quote some precedent cases which exist to support this)

          Having said this,

          2) We would agree to pay the damages on the bike, but then the guy has to come forward, and we would cross examine him thoroughly on the other antics of his. He has the option to come to court and ask for damages (the maximum punishment possible to girl and on top of it, we will ask for partial compensation only) but then boy risks criminal charges => Punishment of going to jail.

          I am pretty sure the choice is clear for the boy. Keep his mouth shut and hope that the girl does not initiate criminal proceedings now that there is a clear record that some incident happened between the girl and the boy and the boy ran away (self defence or he was at fault either ways, he ran away) and yet did not prosecute the girl for the damage of property !

    • It felt good although as DG say – if it happens too often to – then you end up setting a bad precendent as well. But given the way things are in the country – you do need some deterrent like this..

    • completely disagree…what she did is not correct in a utopian world where men are gentlemen, police does its job, people do not harass women saying she-asked-for-it . But with the kind of of society we have sometimes you need something like this to send the message across- loud and clear

  1. ah…lovely. you go girl. a few more incidents like these and hopefully the eve teasers will be on the backfoot.
    Sad that the job that the law enforcers need to do has to be done by the women themselves.

  2. While, I’m proud of this young woman for standing up for herself, instead of feeling ashamed and trying to become invisible, I am also worried for her safety now.

    I agree self defense is a legal right, and would have been justified if she threw a brick at him breaking open his skull while he was there.,But he ran away, he wasn’t even there. She took her anger out on his bike, destroying it and burning it. She could have hurt herself or others if the petrol tank had exploded on her.

    Hope this serves as a warning though and everyone starts taking sexual assaults seriously.

    • How can anyone thumb this comment down? It’s quite pragmatic! The skull-breaking brick apart, I’m sure he deserved being hit by a brick and getting a bump that reminded him for at least the next several days not to harass a girl. And yes, propagating similar stories might help make the harassers think twice before acting the way they do.

  3. When the laws are weak, this is what people have to resort to.
    I am happy about what she did. This was an act of pure rage and frustration.
    And the best part is that that guy will now think twice before harassing another girl. One idiot less is one more victory.

  4. I have always felt that women are powerful, they just dont know their own strength. In a weak state, where the police machinery is inept and morally corrupt, vigilante justice like this is perfectly justified. Good for her – and I hope others who are facing this take a lesson from her act. Only regret is that her face was clearly shown – his has not been shown too often. His face should be repeatedly shown – like the Guwahati perpetrators. He should be shamed too

  5. Girl Power! The only thing I don’t agree with is the reporter’s line, “she was no longer able to control herself.” Yeah, cause the eve teaser has been doing such a good job of that.

    Hit ‘em where it hurts or they’ll never learn a lesson.

  6. tht good tht hit him hard n hit thm 4m whr tht thk twice again whn the wan to comment such crime girls going good
    y dam man cont understand tht every udy have their own lifestyle n living space

  7. All said and done. I. Love. What. She. Did.
    In this moment I simply loved it. Will it set a bad precedent? And all other factors? Yeah. Will think about that too. But later.
    For now let me add my whoop of joy . It feels as if she didn’t just stand up for herself but as if she stood up for me too. Any girl who has ever walked on this country’s streets knows what that feels like.
    And so I applaud.

  8. He was not able to control his actions and she in turn was unable to control her anger. Though I appreciate her courage , i don’t like the way she put bike on fire . I again am surprised at the crowd , no one stood by her , nor against her ., How can people let the guy run away .
    Best option could have been dragging this guy to police , lock him up
    At some time I also feel women must start building support groups . If you notice someone in your area harassing someone , everyone should pounce on him/ her , don’t beat them but confront them , scare them and take them to police . Do it at each and every corner of this country . make bigger groups , men and women who all are against such eve-teasers ( how much i hate this word) should join hands and tell them loud and clear that they are wrong and this will not be tolerated. All those well meaning relatives who tell parents of a girl to keep her under control should in stead call/ visit and tell parents of such boys to keep their brats at home .
    Ironically , how many parents check where there teenage boys are roaming whole day on bikes and cars , while they keep a tab on their daughters each and every breath.If a boy knows that his dad wil kick him out of house after taking away that bike if he ever come to know his son harass anyone , boys will never have guts to tease any one .

    School and colleges should refuse admissions to boys who have been arrested twice for sexual harassment , their visas should never be accepted and their photos should be put in every corner of city . They have to get this message that its not OK to pass lewd comments and harrass another human being. we have been talking a lot about it .lets form a group and start working on eradicating this . I do not trust our police or govt to act in this direction , lets do something about it

    • That would be the best solution but will take a major culture shift! Currently, all the things you mentioned like shunning the person, shaming them, kicking them out of the house, schools refusing admissions – all of this happens to girls and women who are seen to have lost their ‘honour’. This can be through love marriage or being a rape victim or because an aunty saw you talking to a ‘boy’. Men always have impunity and a ‘boys will be boys’ pass. I mean, looks at the words they use.. ‘manchale’.. does that sound like sexual harasser? Not really.

      • what irritates me that while women commit suicide and their families shun them after a rape , men are defended by their families ..how can i let a rapist live in my house be it my own dad or brother or son ?? How many of us will cut all ties and publically oppose any rapist , sexual assaulter or so called manchala ..Have you ever told your frrends , collegues , family that its not right and you will be the first one to report them to police if you know that they are involved in such acts .?

        • I’ve never had a family member or even friend who’d be into something as crude as outright sexual harassment. But if it counts, whenever I’ve been in people management positions in my career, I’ve always maintained an absolute zero tolerance policy on my staff, even if the company itself was more lax. At workplaces, one big problem is stupid chain of command rules, and a lack of faith in the stated objectives of the official harassment policy, a combination which all too often ends up in managers who are scared to ‘rock the boat’, even when they know something is wrong. I tried my bit to change that wherever I was in a position to.

          On the first day with my team, I used to have a bit of an orientation session, where we’d agree on some ground rules, and one of my standard ground rules was that any kind of harassment, sexual or otherwise, would not be brushed under the carpet – they would be investigated according to whatever the laid down procedures were, HR would be apprised, and at my end, the culprit, if there is indeed one, would not be spared a very damaging note on their report. I coupled that with an open-door policy, and it all worked pretty well (as far as I know, of course).

          IME, all that’s needed is a strong signal that harassment will have consequences, and will simply not be tolerated. That strong signal is completely missing from Indian streets (and often, Indian workplaces), despite all the supposedly severe penalties the law lays down.

        • I would. When friends have made casual sexist statements like ‘let’s all go over to yours to hang out, you women can fix up up some food’, I strongly and politely point out this is sexist and that they can fix or buy food just as well. I do the same if they make racist or bigoted remarks against any community. Sadly sometimes people don’t realise what they’re saying/ doing is wrong because it’s so internalised, and if every eve teasers family shuns him then there won’t be many left.

          I haven’t yet had to deal with family, friend or colleagues indulging in sexual harassment (they have proven to be decent people so far) but they certainly know that I would be the first to ring the police if they do.

          The least we can do is say what we believe in to people in our lives. Hopefully it’ll make someone think twice about their beliefs and provide strength to other women to stand up for themselves. My younger sister silenced an uncle who was justifying honour killings when she was 17. My parents were quite proud.

        • I don’t understand this bit about reporting your own family members. The crime may be heinous, but women are individuals who will always want to protect their own families over expressing support to the victim just because the victim happens to be of the same sex. You can’t change human behavior however disgusting it may sound. The overwhelming instinct will always be to convince themselves that their people did no wrong and the victim is lying. Being impartial is the job of the courts and not of human individuals. The individual will only act against the perpetrator when she senses a greater threat to herself and her family’s interest in protecting the perpetrator. That’s what the cops and the society are supposed to do; scare family members into giving up the perpetrator. Women will never turn into the female borg no matter how much the feminists wish for it.

        • @anon ( can’t reply directly).. the thing is that someone who gets up and commits rape would probably exhibit lack of respect for women and abusive/rapey behaviour in daily life too. If I had someone like that in my life, my relationship with them would be quite strained anyway because they would probably be disrespectful/abusive towards me too and frankly I find that disgusting. If they then actually raped someone and I knew of it, I would definitely be grossed out enough to shun them and turn them in to police! It’s not about what feminists want or becoming borgs. Such a person would not be lovely and respectful and just go rape/sexually harass someone one day.. there is a personality that leads to that.

        • @carvaka What if it was mother, wife or a sister who found out that her son/husband/brother committed rape or sexual harassment? You think she will be the first one to report him to the police? She most probably would be the last. They would obviously convince themselves that the guy was innocent. You trust your family more than you trust an unknown woman. That’s what relationships are built on, trust. And when you trust someone you are blind to many of their faults, future predicting behavior included. There is no other way around it. Remember what shiney ahujha’s wife and that french guy’s wife in USA did in a similar situation. Not only did they blindly trust their husbands, which is understandable, but even after being presented with proof from many sources they stood behind their husbands because both of them had considerable stake in what happened to their husbands. This is what happens in real life. You stand by your own rather than follow some made up ideals. This first to report business is all hot air. If such behavior was humanely possible, the bad guys in history would never any women standing by them. Anyway i did not even see your comment, my first post was directed towards preetid.

        • Carvaka,

          You’d be surprised how ‘nice’ a lot of rapists can seem. Many of them are often soft spoken, considerate people in everyday life, even if they are sometimes socially inept.

          Since most rapists operate by exploiting trust, a lot of them, and especially the ones who are repeat offenders, become adept at gaining that trust in the first place.

          That’s one of the reasons their family members often find it hard to accept those charges.

          The media image of an abrasive, openly arrogant persona is sometimes accurate, but most rapists don’t look or behave like that.

  9. happy the young lass stood for herself though she could have avoided venting it out on the bike. But the immense frustration may have got the better of her I guess. However, let this be a lesson for all the future perpetrators- the message is loud n clear; No entry to harassment and eve teasing ! cheers

  10. I am glad she did this. We have no choice. I used to take the bus to school with an open safety pin in my palm, ready to poke anyone who touched me. I would chase down guys who would grope or try to harass me. I regret those incidents happening, I don’t regret retaliating. Because the law is just not good enough. Anywhere in the world.

  11. I think I kind of agree with Indyeah’s sentiment here. It feels good to hear about a strong response to street harassment for once. While I think burning the bike was going a bit too far, I absolutely applaud her courage. Since I am usually anti-vigilante justice, my support for her makes me a bit of a hypocrite. I accept that – there are always exceptions, and in this case, the justification was certainly pretty sound.

    It’s really not so hard to imagine why street-harassers feel all safe and cozy in India.
    They know they won’t have to suffer for doing what they do. It’s as simple as that. They know that the bystanders will think of Reuben and Keanan and will thus remain bystanders. They know that if the victim complains, she’ll be the one who’s harassed. They know they can get away with it, and in most cases, they don’t even think it’s a big deal. I’d bet anything that the woman’s extreme rage came as a bit of a shock to this clown.

    The first rule for fighting street harassment is that there needs to be a response. Always and every time. Potential harassers should know and believe that they can get nailed for it.

    I’ve had occasion to say this before – street harassment is a massive problem in India, not because law enforcement CAN’T combat it, but because it’s just not taken too seriously. ‘Eve-teasing’ is such a laughably euphemistic term for sexual harassment, but it really sums up the sort of attitude that much of India has towards this phenomenon. It’s that same attitude which breeds new harassers too. The whole ‘boys will be boys’ chestnut makes me sick. As if being male is some kind of excuse for being an idiot.

    These guys don’t need to be smiled at and benevolently forgiven over and over, they need to be told the truth -there is no place for them in civilized society.

    • I do not know where you live. But in India, bikes are some kind of fashion toys for some men to chase women on roads and tease them. IMO, in burning his bike, she did not go too far. Next time, if he gets a new bike and if he has learnt some lessons from this episode, he will not chase women and torment them with his lewd comments.

      This episode also reminded me of one where a group of women living in a slum in Nashik or Nagpur (not sure of the city) came together and beat a rowdy to death. The man had been harassing women in the slum for a long time. No amount of police complaints worked.

  12. attagirl!!! time to kick some ass! & guys, whoever thinks she shouldn’t have done this, just imagine the plight of this girl who was driven into such extremes. What were those ppl in the market doing when she was being harassed by a guy? Free entertainment? & for god’s sake, this guy is her neighbor… go girl, go castrate that mofo!!

  13. I would totally agree with wat she did!! Comeon wat is there not to like? I really really wish I could go hug this girl. Imagine how frustrated she would have been to do this in public, knowing fully well she could be in trouble later [with law]. I used to have dream of doing this sort of thing to many many men who have troubled me in the past. It is like a dream come true!

    • Yes, the frustration can be seen on her face while she is setting the bike on fire, every day we read about girls committing suicide because of such harassment, and still we call the harassers ‘manchale’ which can be translated to something like ‘naughty Romeos’, or those who don’t care to control their harmless romantic feelings. Why are we so indulgent towards street sexual harassers and so unforgiving towards women who are harassed? They need to react like this girl to prove that they were not asking for it.

  14. Good for her! A part of me wishes she could have set him on fire. These losers who harass women cannot conceive how much hatred women feel for them and this type of behavior. When I was in Delhi I personally experienced such behavior almost every single day. My worst experience was when a maruti car full of teenage boys sped up towards me as I was walking down the street (in my own neighborhood). I thought I was going to die, but they swerved at the last moment while shouting and laughing some crap at me. I still remember the fear, the rage and the tears of frustration that I had. Such loutish Indian men destroy women’s souls.

  15. I am totally on her side. I know it’s probably going too far, but I can understand how she must have felt.
    Once, I also threw a stone at a guy who was harassing me on the street. It hit his bike. He never came back. Although I threw the stone out of rage and frustration I spent the next week wondering if the guy would be back with acid – you hear so many stories of acid attacks.

  16. Honestly I’m very surprised this young reacted the way she did, most women when faced with harassment would have been scared or felt powerless. I do applaud this young woman for not showing any fear and in all seriousness I don’t blame her one bit for reacting the way she did. Given the current climate of how victims of sexual harassment are treated, it wouldn’t have done any good for her to report it.

  17. AWESOME and hats off to the GIRL.. WELL DONE to her, I think more and more people should learn from her.. and yes she did the right thing .. doing what hurts more .. and beleive me its true.. Torching the BIKE would have hurt more then the guy getting beaten up..

    Hurt the where it hurts most .. and BURNING the bike was icing on the CAKE..

    I sincerely hope more ladies do it , the more they do , the more changes will happen …

    SAD Again to hear and see no one helped her, stupid crowd.. so sad that the days are gone where humanity existed and people helped each other ..

    BUT i would not take it from the girl.. WELL DONE LADY.

  18. Firstly, I sympathize with the girl and, like others here, applaud her courage in taking retaliatory action. But my admiration for her courage does not translate to admiration of her actions. It seemed to me that quite a bit of time lapsed before the bike was set on fire, i.e after the initial few minutes of pounding at it. I am deeply disturbed that the girl had time to snap out of her frenzy but didn’t. She merely continued to put effort into her elaborate plan to set the bike on fire.

    Perhaps some member of our shameless media who had been filming it goaded her to set it on fire in an attempt to further sensationalize his/her news catch? Not heard of NBS news to judge. This video feels somewhat staged, almost as if a part of an independent short film. Ive seen a movie trailer like this one mistaken to be real life capture in the comments on Youtube.

    Secondly, I am *even* more disturbed by the responses in this thread. I have been a frequent IHM sideline spectator and have usually found balance in most respondent’s viewpoints. Apart from my objection to her actions (whatever may have been the provocation), it seems to me that we are shown exactly one side of the story, and that too with sparse details on exactly what the victim suffered (even if that is the version from the victim’s point of view).

    Lastly, I myself have been twenty. I have been in rare situations where I was accused of objectionable actions. Though some of those accusations had merit, on investigation, they often tended to reveal dramatic overreaction by the victims. Do not blame me for also identifying with the perpetrator!

    Anyways, I will admit it was a “feel good” video. Regards to all at IHM.

      • IHM,

        Following this blog is likely drinking from a fire hose. After this post, I am going to set aside a specific number of weekend hours, else I worry that it can consume the whole of me. I am amazed you oversee this blog *and* have time to post relevant comments on other blogs.

        For starters, lets deal with this barrage of questions following my line:
        >=> I used to let my wife throw kitchen utensils at
        >=> me
        > You let her… How? And how did you stop her?
        > Is she still married to you? Also wanted to know ref
        > your first comment, did you ever do something that
        > could be seen by some people as street sexual
        > harassment?

        a] First, the important Q. Yes. We are still married. At least, as of today :-)

        b] You are going to hear only my versions of the stories here. Too bad.

        c.1] You know the drill, she gets angry over something silly and flings a spoon at me. I bark, “Chellam (Thamizh: darling), you are overreacting”. Then comes any vessel she gets her hands on. Then I switch to humor to diffuse things. “According to Indian Law, EePeeKo 123, the wife is only allowed to throw one kitchen utensil at her husband a day.” (Pity, the translation from Thamizh lost that dramatic twang. EePeeKo=Indian Penal Code).

        c.2] Sometimes this type of humor backfires, and further throwing ensues. Anything she can get her hands on. And then one day a couple of knives flew my way and I had to duck behind a door. From then on, I just preempt her with a firm “Waitttt! Knives can hurt”. Ive even had to physically restrain her once by lunging at her and holding her hands with a polite “Lets just count to ten to calm ourselves down. And then if you still feel like it you can fling those other things at me. But not the knives.”.

        d] Street Harassment. Again, I am only going to provide you with the incidents where I am clearly not guilty [I have been inexcusably guilty on one occasion, but I will wait till I garner a reputation on IHM before I post about my youthful indiscretions here]. Once, at a bus stand near the US consulate here in Chennai, I asked two guys if they knew if a 29C had just passed. They responded with long winded “No”s and “Maybe”s. Then I turned to this middle aged women and she said she had just started waiting. Finally, I turn to this twenty somethings girl, the last person in the bus stand, who has clearly heard all of this and asked her “Did you see it?”. She stared at me incredulously and gave out a short scream. And then the guys came over and asked what trouble I was causing. Luckily for me, the middle aged woman came to my defense and let out a meek “that girl is crazy”. The guys didn’t seem convinced, they wanted to continue playing the “hero”. Luckily, on seeing an auto rickshaw, the girl walked away briskly, flagged it and disappeared. The “heros” went back to minding their own business.
        Ugh. Ugly experience. Most certainly, over the top overreaction.

    • So what should she have done? As I said earlier, most women wouldn’t have done anything. Many women accept harassment as a fact of life. Also what do you define as “dramatic overreaction by victims?” Who are you to say they were “overreacting?” You’re basically just dismissing this young woman’s anger. Whether you like it or not, women have the right to be angry when they are harassed, just like the woman in the video.

      • Renkiss, IHM,

        If this was a response to a series of actions by the perpetrator, she should have gone to the police earlier, before it led to this.
        If this was a response to harassment by multiple people, one person is being punished for the crimes of many. She should have stopped with the mild physical assault.

        Overreaction – yes, you have a point that it is difficult to define. Irreversible damage such as to property (which can easily have medium to long term consequences) as retaliation to civil excesses such as verbal harassment definitely crosses the line. For instance, slapping the guy or preventing his use of his bike by locking it away is probably ok because those don’t result in long term consequences. They still leave the question of whether self purveyed justice is legitimate, though.

        Women have a right to be angry. I agree. Even though I thoroughly reject anger as an emotion, sometimes, I feel letting people vent their anger out in a rush tends to diffuse things. I used to let my wife throw kitchen utensils at me earlier to quickly get her back into objective discussion. [But then the knifes started coming out after a few times and I've had to stop her !:)]

        • You let her… How? And how did you stop her? Is she still married to you? Also wanted to know ref your first comment, did you ever do something that could be seen by some people as street sexual harassment?

        • If this was a response to a series of actions by the perpetrator, she should have gone to the police earlier, before it led to this.

          How do you know she hadn’t gone to the police? Even if she did? What difference would it have made? I don’t live in India, as I pointed out earlier in the discussion given the climate of how victims of sexual assault and harassment are treated, nothing probably wouldn’t have been Idone. I also pointed out earlier that many women accept it as part of life.

          Irreversible damage such as to property (which can easily have medium to long term consequences) as retaliation to civil excesses such as verbal harassment definitely crosses the line. For instance, slapping the guy or preventing his use of his bike by locking it away is probably ok because those don’t result in long term consequences.

          The guy could get a new bike. So no it doesn’t excuse the verbal harassment and no it doesn’t cross the line.

        • RenKiss,

          I know this is an old discussion, but really, since when is ‘nothing would have been done anyway’ a valid excuse to become a judge and jury (not quite executioner in this case, thankfully) unto yourself?

          This is the same excuse that every alternate two-bit murderer on the street uses as a defense. The fact that I sympathize with the woman’s plight here, the fact that I’d very much enjoy knocking this man’s teeth out myself, the fact that he deserved what he got, all of those things, do not change the fact that this is a fundamentally bad argument.

          How many people here really know first hand how the Indian legal system works? It’s all just assumptions, isn’t it? I agree the legal system is in shambles, but it’s not THAT shambolic. I’ve personally witnessed street harassers having their just desserts meted out to them by this very justice system. But you know what – the day people start burning each others’ motorbikes as a quick and easy way of avenging wrongs – perceived or real -, that will be the day when India really does become the Banana republic that it sometimes appears to be. Legitimate grievance or not, this woman went too far.

      • Renkiss,

        I disagree with the views expressed in your last comments in many many ways. But I am very uncomfortable about writing long replies that end up sounding confrontational and pontificating.

        Still, the line :”The guy could get a new bike.” really irked me!!!!
        You mean if she pays for it, right?

        Else its not a “reversal”. Only then can society and law set aside the arguments for two wrongs don’t make a right etc and attempt to punish the offender appropriately. Else, of course, both acts need to be treated as violations and dealt with separately.

        Also, did I mention that its a *huge* can of worms in itself, correctly estimating compensation for property that’s damaged because they can’t be evaluated anymore? Its the stuff of twenty year lawsuits and books like “How much was the president’s broken vase worth and other horror stories from our legal system”. Accounting for sentimental values that some things hold for some people is a topic that can bring out the strongest of emotions from all of us.

        Anyways, I won’t continue on this. Perhaps, WordPress could provide a way to separate private flame war digressions into separate threads and just leave a placeholder in the original thread with a link.

    • She set the bike on fire. not the man.
      If you havent spent your whole life being the object of unwanted desires you’re never going to understand “the frenzy”.

      I wish I had the courage to do what she did.

    • Sadly I agree with the guy here. Though I have great respect for the girl’s courage, an eye for an eye is not the right way to go. May be what she was saying is right here or may be she is wrong. Nobody knows for sure unless you have witnessed it yourself. The day should not come where crimes can be committed and can be washed off saying that she was just retaliating to sexual harassment. I still feel more investigation should be done in such matters and if he has done harassment he should be punished.

  19. Wow, thats quite a brave thing she did. This is so much better than the other option she had! It probably is wrong taking law in her owns hands and all that.. But fitting punishment- for many guys their bike is a symbol of their machismo!

  20. I don’t condone Destroying property but…. there was an incident i witnessed, we were travelling in some hills.. there was a group of college girls on excursion and their bus had stopped at some spot and a few were ambling around . we had stopped a little ahead to get a break and some pictures.. and saw 2 girls come by alone.. there were 4 guys on bikes who went very close to the girls and screamed something, one tried to pat a girl i thnk.. the girls yelled and we started walking towards them when the bikes came back and circled them in a blink of an eye before we could even move fast to them, the girls had yanked 1 guy off his bike ( the guy driving without pillion) and gave a great big shove to the bike inspite of the fella yelling ..and down it went — bye bye bike i guess unless they were willing to hike downthe hills to claimthe mangled remains :-)
    we all reached and a fight ensued , we backed up the girls and they said to take it to the police station, but the fella got up onthe other bike when he saw the crown of girls coming towards them and left…

    i didn’t agree at first with the girls about tossing the bike, I wanted them to report the guys , but they say ‘ the guys used the bike as a tool to harass us so we destroyed the tool ‘ and it made PERFECT SENSE to me.

    I however didn’t like the whole crowd that stood around watching.. what’s the point., either catch the culprit and take him to the station or go home. what’s there to watch.

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  25. This was bound to happen in a country where justice takes too long or people who murder go free due to power , money and influence, where police refuse to register complaints on more serious charges like rape.The frustration of the people with the system was there for a long long time , they kept silent for a long time and therefore their anger is that more intense. Thankfully the law was amended post Nirbhaya; otherwise god only knows, what would have happened with the people. In most probability, they would definitely have taken law into their own hands in a much more brutal fashion and this would have been seen everywhere. As someone has rightly pointed out..everyone reacts some day; the more the delay in the reaction; the greater is the intensity and violent nature when it does happen.History is full of such incidents ; the civil war in the gulf monarch countries and the most famous .. the french revolution wherein the people started attacking and killing the royal persons, after years of silent suffering. They did not react for decades and when they did, it was a revolution that eliminated to royals whether good or bad.

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