The night I was not an easy prey.

We were traveling by train (second class) to Punjab on a hot May night in 1998. It was a last minute booking and we were separated, the kids and I got lower berths in one compartment, and Husband had to sleep in another compartment.

I had settled the kids and was almost asleep when I realized a hefty looking man had sat down on my berth near my legs. I asked him to get up, he said he was going to go away in a while, but I insisted he goes right then. He left unwillingly.

He appeared again, took a look at the people sleeping there, and left. I noticed there were the kids and I on the lower berths, and one woman diagonally opposite me, she had her son with her on the same berth. There was no one on the berth above mine. I continued trying to sleep.

I was worried but finally must have dosed off to wake up again to find this fellow spreading a sheet in the space between my berth and my kids berth. If he slept there, I would not have been able to get up without stepping on him! I stood up and told him he couldn’t spread his sheet there. He said his friend had the berth above mine, it was fine, and he was going to sleep there. I said he couldn’t but he continued. I told him I would be getting up many times to check my kids and he couldn’t sleep there. By now I was standing up and arguing very loudly. He reluctantly left again.

I couldn’t sleep because I was worried he might come back. The thought that the man above was his friend also troubled me.

I woke up again to find four pairs of legs on the berth above. Two were dangling, and two were rested on the berth where the woman was sleeping with her son. They were pinching her back with their toes. She squirmed and turned away, and then again turned back.

There was silence except for train noises, everybody else was asleep. This was a terrifying nightmare. They couldn’t see me right below them, I pretended to be asleep. I was hoping she would pick her son and put him between herself and them. She didn’t. She simply pushed herself away from them, but how far could she move?  Her son was asleep behind her anyway, so there wasn’t even that much room. Then she turned her back towards them. One of the feet reached closer and plucked at her kurta with toes. Why doesn’t she make some noise? Everybody was asleep. And these were four tall and strong looking men. I realised that that woman could have been me. Maybe that was why he first tried to sit on my berth, and then tried to sleep right next to my berth. They had noticed there were two women and three children in this compartment. This was bad. They could throw the kids out of the moving train. I decided to pretend to be asleep. And then she made a little uncomfortable noise, one of the toes, I saw, had plucked at her bra strap under her kurta.

Next moment I was standing and yelling. “You think nobody is watching you? I am not asleep, I have been watching your acts all evening, first you tried to sit here then you tried to sleep here!! Is there any space to sleep here? And now four of you sitting there imagining everybody is asleep! You are harassing her, but I have been watching you and I was thinking you will stop on your own but this is simply too much, I had realized you were up to no good when you were walking past here all evening, I suspected you…

I have no idea how this would have ended but Husband in another compartment,  along with perhaps half the train, heard me yelling. Husband asked them their CO’s (Commanding Officer) name and told them (a lie) that he was Colonel so and so. They were army or BSF jawans, they apologized and were sent away to some other compartment.

What made me blog about this now after all these years?

The fact that I was wearing jeans and the woman was wearing a peach salwar kurta with dupatta.

All criminals look for easy target. No matter how hard we try, no matter what we wear, we cannot become invisible, although I am still horrified at my yelling, because they really could have turned violent, they could have been armed or they could have pushed my husband out of the train, but I do realize that the reason why I was spared the harassment was that I was not an easy target. Nobody wants trouble, specially criminals.

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126 thoughts on “The night I was not an easy prey.

  1. Pingback: The night I was not an easy prey.

    • It is scary, and we all have witnessed such incidents, but often we ignore them and ‘mind our own business’
      needs courage to react and we are all cowards

      braavo

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  2. it really makes me blood boil to see the position of women is our so called modern society.
    i have been writing about similar issues in my post. although i am not a feminist ( i love being a woman and at times i do enjoy the special attention that i get) but the irrational attitude of men is getting on my nerves.
    jeans, or sari or even burkhas, any thing under any woman’s attire makes man forget their rationality and brings out the animal in them

    Anju I also love the sari, and the pretty accessories including flowers that go so well with the sari… I love being a woman too and I love special attention and detest creeps too 🙂 🙂

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  3. I’m feeling sick after reading this. Sick to my stomach, sick to the core. I’ve had my share of train travel, between Delhi and Bangalore, all through my late teens and early twenties. I know what you mean by saying that men look for easy prey. It is frightening!

    I am soooo bloody proud of you for standing up and defending that woman’s honour and screaming your head off. Don’t think of what could have been, just be glad that it went your way.

    And army jawans. My god? Are these the people whom we trust to protect us?


    I should have guessed army jawans (if they told the truth) from their haircut. Could have ben BSF jawans also… Yes, it went our way… I have thanked God many times for protecting us that day…

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  4. Hi HIM!

    That must have been very scary. Good nothing untoward happened.

    That was very lewd of them. And you’re very right of all the dangerous possibilities.

    The fact that they were BSF jawans makes it even worse.

    I really have no idea what criteria such people use to pick of their victims, or maybe there are various classes of such culprits who use different criteria.

    Your husband’s presence of mind was also commendable.

    TC.

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  5. way to go ihm! when in college we had to wear sarees. travelling in busses was a nightmare, we would be holding on to the bar for dear life with one hand, and clutching onto books with the other, allowing which ever idiot who wanted to run his hands all over our bodies free reign. some of us took to wearing high heels – great for stepping on sandalled feet!
    finally, fed up, i got some of the braver girls together and fought for a change in dress codes. we were given permission to wear jeans and salwar kameezes. you can bet being able to move about more easily allowed us to defend ourselves better.
    you’re so right. it’s not about how ‘modest’ or ‘culturally correct’ a woman’s clothes are – its attitude that keeps her safe.

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  6. Oh My God! I could just picture the whole scene and am bloody squirming..what would that woman have felt!!! and these are guys who are supposed to be protecting our country!!??

    and ur so right … they just look for an easy prey… and by keeping quiet and not raising our voices we become one.

    what happened to that woman later? And yes I think you got real lucky…

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  7. I think you were very brave and right to do what you had to do.

    Too many times in life people are afraid to do the right thing because of what they fear will happen to them. But my belief is that God wants the good people, brave people, to stand up for the weaker ones and protect them when possible.

    Being raised here in the US, my father always taught me to stand up for what is right. Because of this, I’ve always been a ‘fighter’ and more than once have put myself in similar situations.

    I think if there were more people standing up in the middle of the night to say “I see you and what you are doing is WRONG!” there would be so much less wrong to face in the world.

    One of my favorite quotes is “It is necessary only for the good man to do nothing for evil to triumph.”

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  8. As I was reading the post, I couldn’t help but imagine visualize the whole thing and feel sick. Poor thing, that lady…It was sooooo brave of you to speak up, IHM. Otherwise who knows to what extent those bloody perverts might have gone…

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  9. Very well said. I remember an article on harassment where a Kerala IAS officer ( J Lalithambika) mentioned that you can stop 90% of harassment if you are able to convey the message that it won’t work with you. This has proved right for me quite a number of times.

    I love your writing, by the way 🙂

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  10. Thats all? They left to another compartment and thats it??
    God!! I was hoping that the people in your compartment got up and thrashed those guys..I have heard a similar incident before, but that ended well. I mean People ended up thrashing the Army dude..

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    • An incident of this kind happened with my mum once Chikki..and in that case the guy was thrashed a lot..
      the sad thing is that the first reaction by the public is jaane do na!arre kyon bechaare ko tang kar rahe hain?
      pitaai toh kar li..ab police complaint kyun likhwa rahi hain?

      to all this advice my mum’s simple reaction was a version of F#### off!
      jab hamein tang kar raha tha, tab aap logon ka munh nahin khula , ab saara gyaan yaad aa raha hai? zyaada dimaag kharab ho raha ho toh aaiye aap ko bhi thaane le chalti hoon

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      • Indyeah, it is the junta ka reaction which hurts a lot. Even if gather enuff guts to protest chances of getting support is so bleak that we back out.

        As is said, “jab tak khud pe nahin hoti tab tak samajh main nahin ata hai”.

        I would like to add watch this serial “Ladies Special” on SOny, 9:30 PM kal ke hi episode main tha, when a young girl is chedoed by some goons teh mother protests and gets no support from junta & police. In fact police tells her to adjust & ignore. Incidents like these are so true & blood boiling!

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        • Chikki at the time I was just relieved they did not throw us out of a moving train… I would have been responsible for any harm that could have come to us 😦

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        • Oh yeah..I totally understand..Cheers to your braveness!
          But a ‘public-thrashing’ would have been a better end.like seriously, they deserved it.

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        • ?Mystery- thanks:) she is some woman for sure! 😀
          delicate to look at but gritty as hell!

          @Smita-I agree Smita..this attitude is what makes me fume!
          and you know what?coincidence I just saw that episode today in the daytime I think…
          I sooo agree that this makes one’s blood boil!

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  11. the same thing once happened to my sis while we were traveling to hyderabad by train. she yelled and pinched and really hurt the guy who was trying to unbutton her shirt. she also immediately informed my dad and he threatened to take the guy to the police. humiliated, the guy left our compartment. night journeys in trains can be a really big problem in this country…

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    • yea… i remembered the same incident and was going to put that here! and I see you already have!!

      thankfully, his hand hadn’t traveled far, he had just unbuttoned my shirt… I pinched him really hard, woke my dad up and told him.

      Back in those days, I used to carry a huge safety pin with me all times. The number of times I have jabbed, just because a hand tried to get too close!

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        • It was scarry Indy!!
          He had put his hand down and was slowly unbuttoning my shirt… I felt his hand, held it tight and pinched him hard!
          Woke my parents up. My dad just about stopped from bashing his head!

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        • I cant believe this actually happens.. !!!!!

          I have travelled in trains and night trains umpteen times… amazingly I havent seen this happening…

          This is truly shocking !!!!!!!!!!!! shocking !!!!!!

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  12. I am so glad that you stood up! I guess our first instinct always is to be silent to avoid too much attention n tension. But then when things cross a limit something snaps.

    But yes we ladies are always at risk. 2 days back I had read a news where when a lady protested against her molesters in Delhi bus, they slashed her face and ran away. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Delhi/Delhi/Molesters-slash-womans-face-in-crowded-bus/articleshow/4685269.cms)

    On the one hand when incidents like above discourage us then incident like yours encourage woman like us!!!!

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  13. that was sickkk……what you did was pure courage, though impulsive but a self respecting person will act like this n no other way……..why the womwn being harassed dint speak up?? a mere confident gesture could have done the trick…….it shows that every criminal seeks an easy target……i think empowerment of the women(mind, body n soul) is more important than their liberation( which is limited to going out for work apparently).

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  14. These people are supposed to defend us. Creeps!

    IHM, that was very brave and I am glad that you did. Most times these idiots think that women will take it whatever is meted out to them so they continue to do so. Humiliating them is the only way at times.

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  15. I’m glad you’re safe!

    The Indian army and BSF, at its lower levels especially, are full of people who are rude, crude, and “unethical”. My father was in the services and I saw the behaviour of some of the men up close. And they were at their best behaviour around us. So I can imagine them with civilians. It’s a sad sad state of affairs. It’s a reflection of Indian men in general.

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  16. Good for you… More than 8 years ago a friend of mine once yelled before a bus full of people for me.. Till date she is my best friend and it is one of my favourite stories about her :).

    Please tell us the story Pearls. We must share such stories …

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  17. IHM, it was very important for you to speak up. Yes, it could have been you but for this reason it was not you. Most of the women, especially in the past, did not know how to react or did not find courage enough to yell. It was highly risky for you to speak up and yet you did. I would have done the same.
    It helps to yell. Yell at every injustice… I am glad you blogged about it.

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  18. Yay! Hats off to your courage, IHM. Well done! I wish, however, that the woman had had the courage to defend herself or atleast try to make a noise. I think she should have just stuck a huge safety pin into the heels of the lech guys. Achilech’s heel, it might have been.

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  19. Good for you. I guess, such reactions happen only when you don’t think about them…the more you pause to think, the more you feel scared of the consequences and land up not reacting.

    When will people wake up to the fact that it is not about the clothes a woman wears…..

    It’s a scary story though…

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  20. BSF Jawans????

    😦 😦 😦

    IHM, that was so brave of u to have stood up to them what with ur kids in the same compartment asleep! Thank god this ended like it did!!

    as i told u earlier, i myself have taken pains to notice, I am subject to more comments when dressed in Indian wear compared to when dressed in western. and my friends echo this!

    what u said about “easy prey” is the answer! maybe girls dressed in Indian wear seem to connect as more vulnerable n the silent types?
    or ones in western seem a bit more “bindaas” n hence vocal??
    the logic is something left to guess!!

    i’ve always gushed over u IHM! now here’s me gushing some more! i wanna grow up to be u!

    Hugs n Muahs!!! 😀

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  21. I really dont know what to say..
    sad that woman silently continues to be a victim.. Maybe she is scared of making the noise and thus being recognized as the one being victimized? Or she feels weaker to be able to fight against it?

    really frustrated that some men audaciously go around looking for a chance..its sick!!! they dont even deserve to be called human. shoot them point blank, I say. but then they are sombody’s son, somebody’s brother, somebody’s husband or somebody’s father….

    the only hope is from the bold actions of ppl like you who are scared too but still gather courage to speak up or act..

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  22. reminded me of my daily ordeal in the bus to school.. on the hindsight, i now feel sad that always the first impulse was to be silent, afraid that an outburst will lead to something worse…wonderful post, as usual

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  23. its really great that you have really dared to tell him go away.Otherwise in india what happens in bus and trains i can not even mention here.People just keep silence.

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  24. That was quite a brave move from you. Btw, how come the other woman didnt react to all the humiliation?

    Its this habit of ours of not wanting to create a ruckus inspite of injustice happening to us that makes these criminals bolder.

    Say No the first time, everytime.

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  25. brilliant, IHM. while i know speaking up/standing up is scary, most men who prey like this are cowards, and wilt when challenged. i’ve know such swine since i was a boy, and none of them have ever dared being stood up to.

    a lot of army men, sadly, are too used to getting away with a lot more than minor assault. in the north east of india, many of us associate military men with rape.

    YES Feddabonn! And I feel very strongly against unaccountability for anyone. Can’t get over Manorama case either…. very sad, very horrifying. 😦

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  26. The entire business of sexual harassment arises from the lack of opportunity for ‘normal’, non-sexual interaction between boys and girls.
    The minute we hit puberty our erstwhile free outdoor games with boys and girls was curtailed, and boys became creatures of mystique. The less mystique, the better.
    The idea of blaming the victim for her clothes/behaviour is ridiculous.
    You were really brave that night. Why feel afraid afterwards- ‘saach ko aanch nahin’.

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  27. That was courageous….it’s not always easy to choose the right path, but you did.

    And yes, this is a good follow-up to your earlier post; the attire of women has nothing to do with the act – if that were the case, there would be no such incidents in rural India, or even incidents like the one you’ve just written about.

    Cheers,

    Quirky Indian

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  28. Scary, but feels nice that one amongst us had the guts to stand up not only for herself but for someone else too orelse we will all be in a situation described in a poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power “When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out for me.”

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  29. My dear IHM,

    Persist and resist the offender.

    Thank you for following that instruction, more so on behalf of the other woman. What makes your post so timely for me? Not that you are writing about it while the jean issue outrages us all.

    Your post is timely for me, because you have delved into your own past experience — May 1998, eleven years ago!!! — and recalled “the fact that you were wearing jeans and the (other) woman was wearing a peach salwar kurta with dupatta.”

    Most importantly, your conclusion is so correct: “All criminals look for easy prey. No matter how hard women try, no matter what they wear, they cannot become invisible”.

    This observation of yours is also corraborated by Susan Brownmiller in her book “Against our Will”. All women and men, who care about women, should your post. Thank you, IHM.

    Being a male, I would be instantly misunderstood, unlike your female readers, if I said I love you. So I will say I love your honesty. Keep it up the flow, IHM.

    Warm regards,
    – Joe Pinto.

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    • Thank You Joe Pinto. I feel proud but also fear that I was rash, and then just can’t imagine what else was the option… 😦

      I have not read the book by Susan Brownmiller, but will look it up now.

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  30. i am proud of you for standing up for the woman as she didn’t have the courage to do so..

    it may have been an impulsive decision which could have caused trouble still it was the right thing to do.

    if women fight back these men will think twice before harrasing any woman. it is women who are afraid to react attract more of this.

    glad nothing bad happened.

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  31. Now, this is good and bad altogether.
    The army/BSF people, mostly the low rank people, they behave that way always. They drink and smoke in the running train and if someone tries to stop them, they fight and shout.
    I asked, during one of my journeys, one Colonel, why this discipline is always inside the Army Compound and he was speechless 😦

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  32. Now, this is good and bad altogether.
    The army/BSF people, mostly the low rank people, they behave that way always. They drink and smoke in the running train and if someone tries to stop them, they fight and shout.
    I asked, during one of my journeys, one Colonel, why this discipline is always inside the Army Compound and he was speechless 😦
    Reminds me of my Railways Missions 😀

    Railways Missions?

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  33. That was very brave, IHM. Yes, there are endless possibilities of what ‘might’ have happened. But you still stood up for what you believed in.

    Hats off. Proud of ya 🙂

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  34. You are great, IHM. I can imagine how you felt at that time. Thank god, your husband came to your rescue. And had a good story to warn them.

    Same thing happened to me, some 25 years back. We were going to Delhi and when we passed, I think, Itarsi, some 10 men, who looked like shop keepers, came into our reserved compartment and sat everywhere. I had my two small kids and husband with me. I was sleeping in the lower berth with my small child, my husband was sleeping opposite to my berth. The older son was on top berth. One man came and sat near my feet. I curled myself closely and another man sat in that space. Then I woke up my husband and he asked them to get up, since that was a reserved compartment, first in a soft tone. Then they argued and started shouting. They used this train regularly, after closing their shops, to go home, it seems. The other passengers who knew about this, kept quiet. The shopkeepers warned my husband to wait till the next stop comes saying – ab dekho tamasha, tum VIP ho kya, hum aapke paas nahin bait sakhte hain? Then they got down, when the train stopped. Immediately all the other passengers asked my husband to go and lock himself in the toilet and wait until the train left the station. Then, some 20 men came inside our compartment and started giving gaalis and searched for my husband. Thank god, the train started by then and they hurriedly went down. Even now I shiver when I think of that incident.

    I can understand why you remember that incident, even after so many years – in detail. I too cannot forget my experience, IHM. I admire you for standing up for the other girl’s sake.

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  35. kudos to you.
    it takes guts – and a dab of madness 😉 to do what you did.

    So true abt ‘easy prey’.

    I feel sorry for that woman. What must she have been going through. Maybe she was too scared to speak up. Maybe she was travelling alone with her son. You atleast had your husband in the other compartment – and 2 kids, not 1. Maybe she was just trying to protect her son. Like you said, 4 hefty men – can easily through a kid out the train.

    I wonder what I would do in her position. Its a scary thought.

    All that holds true for you too. Am glad nothing untoward happened.

    At times, doesnt the thought of the worse that ‘might’ happen hold us back?

    Just feel mighty helpless. And fume…

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  36. I think it is more to do with standing up to them, than dress codes. I think every woman needs the courage to discourage such people, and the society should support her. In your case, why the other passengers did not come to your help when you were shouting at them is quite surprising.

    Destination Infinity

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  37. And did I ever tell you how proud I am of you?
    (((((((((hugs)))))))))
    You did good.Real good.

    Speaking up is important.
    Shouting out so damn loud that the perverts think twice before trying in on the next unsuspecting woman.
    You were with two young kids so it was a more dicey situation. And yet you did shout becasue you couldn’t just sit and see this happen.

    Bravo IHM!!

    As for the uniform and anything else…why do we always forget that these are men…
    the uniform seems to give them a kind of aura of protector (in our mind) but that is NEVER the case.

    An MNC executive..he works really well in his job..he has got the smartest brains around..
    but will it stop his bloody perverted mind from targeting women?
    Would the fact that he is in some high position and is educated and really intelligent stop him from trying to rape a woman?

    Shiney Ahuja is an educated , supposedly happily married , reasonably well off Actor..did all that stop him from raping a woman?

    infact before this incident would we even have thought twice before going on a dinner date with him?
    We would have jumped at the chance….Why?
    Because his background gave him a sort of respectability.

    Not so anymore.

    The point is not whether the person in question is in this position or that.

    Perverts thrive regardless of environment.

    It is also true that the jawans in the defence forces be it army, bsf or any other come from very poor backgrounds…they have barely any education and have been thrust from a very feudal environment into a defence one..

    so my point is that they ARE and will be perverts regardless of whether they are in uniform or not..

    Dont EVER let the uniform give you a false sense of hope…..I am actually more wary of those in uniform whenever I find myself in a strange environment..because these men in uniform seem to be drunk on a strange kind of high..one that comes from wearing the uniform I think..

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  38. After reading all this i respect you even more IHM.
    As you said, the consequences of such events might be dangerous at times.. but to stand up and speak up against wrong things needs a lot of courage. Hats off to you.

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  39. IHM, I have had a similar experience when I was around 13-14 years old. I saw a man trying to touch a little girl – 8-9 yrs old, in the train. He was standing near her and his hand was creeping towards her – when I woke up and screamed the carriage down. He ran away.

    And I stayed up whole night to see if he comes back again.

    This kind of stuff happens in trains all the time – we just need to stand up and protest – most of these people are cowards
    .
    As you rightly said, it does not matter what somebody is wearing – it is all about easy prey! Easy targets!

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  40. This post had me hooked from the beginning to the end. I am glad you blogged about this, even though it was long ago. I have had a similar situation once, in a bus. I was in a short skirt (I was 14) and opposite me sat a pretty woman in a saree. The man next to her kept digging his elbow into her breast and I was so shocked that I kept looking at her. She looked back, in a kind of shock too. She kept shifting a little so that the man wouldn’t be able to touch her but he kept moving too. She didn’t say a word to this man, she looked terrified. This went on for half an hour. Finally I tapped the man on his knee. Excuse me sir, you are making this woman very uncomfortable. He muttered something, got up and left!
    You are right, its vulnerably and opportunity that molesters look for.

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  41. That was so scary. It was very brave of you to shout and make noise, scary nevertheless.

    But very rightly said, it is not what you are wearing in most cases, it is always what goes on in the mind of the person who is harassing.

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  42. Very true that such perverts would always go for the easier targets.

    I guess you followed your gut and decided to confront them which was good.

    Its always better to confront them, or gather a crowd that would make them fear.

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  43. Wow….I am impressed Lady!!!

    May I salute your courage.

    As they say, bullies are the easiest to lick and your post proves that again.

    We in India have a tendency to misuse authority given us or misuse our physical strangth. Secondly, we have a nasty attitude towards women. Clearly the slant is towards physical abuse of a woman.

    Sexual repression if you will. A completely warped sense.

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  44. they were jawans??? omg!! i feel sick now!! can’t believe it!

    yes it could have turned violent. u r lucky it ended the way it did. overnight train journeys are unsafe that way and women are often at risk during such situations… it’s scary actually..

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  45. Rape and sexual harassment are not acts of sex but of power display. It has nothing to do with what someone is wearing. The worst part is the Chalta hai attitude of people. They are as much the culprits.

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  46. I`m feeling sick! I so completely admire your guts for having spoken up. Its not an easy thing to do.
    As for the army jawans, each one of them is “entitled’ to carry 6 bottles of rum every time they go on leave. Most carry more than that(the share from the non-drinker friends!). And this, in the Medical Corps. The Infantry and other fighting Corps pbly have bigger shares!I know because I have personally issued people their due. I have tried raising my voice against such a practice, just as many other officers have. But the rules in the army dont change that easily. Esp not at the demands of a pidley Major! Oh no Sir! And then the higher ups spend the rest of their lives, sorting out legal cases, as a consequence. Army Jawans involved in rape cases and sexual harassment during train travel!
    It makes me want to puke!
    This is only one aspect. I have seen and known the jawans and officers alike, to abuse their ‘status’ as armed men, by stopping all civilian vehicles on the Jammu-Rajouri routes, just so an army vehicle can pass. If any drivers fail to comply, they just stop the bus by force and beat up the drivers and passengers alike!!
    How do you put a stop to all this?? How do you let people know about this? Its not like the media can just get there at any time. The roads need to be cleared first before they are opened to traffic. All buses/vehicles have to travel in convoys. Individual movts are very unsafe and make easy targets for militants. What do you do then? What`s the solution to stop all this ‘dadagiri’?
    An excellent post as always!!

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  47. IHM, this reminded me of how a long time ago- I must have been 4 or 5 and my mother and I were travelling by train to East UP( she is from there). Around Varanasi a group of men got into the train- they were going for some kisan rally of some sorts. We were in the Ladies compartment ( I think it was 3 tier)- but in the scuffle one of the bars of the partition broke, the wood fell inside. Now all the rally people would peep in and try to make lewd comments. My mother picked up the wood and hit the next guy who peeped in. Of course there was this huge kerfuffle, but she threatened to beat them up big time- of course the other women were terrified, but I remember how after she finished scolding them, the TC came by and shunted them out of the compartment and the train. We need more women who stand up and scream for themselves.

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  48. I think you did a beautifully brave thing and those assholes need to be stripped so that they realize how it feels to be a woman.. whose honor is such a fragile thing that it could be touched by just about anyone!

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  49. Kudos IHM for standing up against such an act. For oneself or for others, it serves the purpose all the same. I believe every woman/girl has atleast one incident of this sort to share. And atleast once in her lifetime each girl will have thought, why am I born a girl? Sad state of affairs.

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  50. I love your guts IHM!
    You don’t stun me… you just give me hope and courage with every post on this issue… In context to the incident I narrated in one of your previous posts, where I was trying to be made a prey in my school uniform, I’m glad I stood up then and I continue doing so now… You are inspiration… Cheers!!

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  51. A Big hug to u IHM and i got so scared by reading that the fellow had a chance of throwing the kids out of the running train,i appriciate inspite of having that fear in you,you had raised ur voice.I think we need people like u.

    But i failed to understand why that women didnt say anything or got up from her sleep 😦 and fail to understand how long she is going to take all?

    Heard a lot about these jawans, they attack women knowing that just been a jawan can escape from everything ,this is very sad.We always have high regard for them

    Saritha they were not in uniform, so it was only their built and hair cut that gave them away, and then of course they were terrified when asked their CO’s name….

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  52. Sorry I am so late… !!

    yes sick people !!!

    and unless we stand up.. we will be victimised… I so agree… that you were not an easy prey… !!

    Everyone has to stand up for their rights… regardless of the consequences… !!

    Reading it did give me chills.. !! it must have been horrifying !!!

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  53. The Director General of BSF has taken note of this post. While it cannot be confirmed the persons in question are BSF soldiers, he wishes to convey that all efforts have been on to discipline the bad apples from the force. A BSF soldier is trained and encouraged to lead a very decorous life.

    Nothing but the best behaviour is expected of a soldier, whether he or she is on duty or not.

    – Office of Mahendra Kumawat, DG, BSF


    Dear Mr. Kumawat, The purpose of this post was not to criticise the BSF or Army Jawans but your unexpected response has made my respect for the services go still higher. I do believe if the authorities and their seniors sensitize them and punish any offenders to set an example, we will see a difference in our jawan’s attitude towards women. Thank You, IHM

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  54. you know, IHM men in uniform have never made me feel secure. I’ve always felt more vunerable and scared around them..esp the jawans we encounter in trains. But standing up and appearing fearless sure does help even if one is scared inside. I’ve had my fair share of traveling alone and late nights and one thing I’ve learned from all this is that if one acts or appears scared or meek, then one becomes a prey.

    inspite of expecting the outcome of the post, I was still appalled by it. the outrageous behavior of these men also stems from the fact that they’ve got away with doing this kind of thing before and hence they’re more daring.

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  55. hey what happend to your JKG contest
    still awaiting the results

    Anju I apologise or this delay, I am away from home, blogging from borrowed internet connections whenever there is a little free time… I am dying to go home and start the poll, please do bear with me 🙂 😦

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  56. You of course did the right thing. And you were lucky of course.

    They are even throwing pregnant women out of running trains these days!

    Sometimes, the whole compartment is occupied by armywallahs or paramilitary forces and they live like demigods in them throughout the journey and do not let anyone enter their ‘cantonment area’ on the train!

    If the police molests in stations, the army men molest in running trains! This is the unwritten rule in our country now!

    Vikas Gupta you will be glad to read the comment by DG BSF.

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    • I read it IHM! I used to think DGs and other high ranking bureaucrats do not have time to read blogs or do something beyond the official requirements! 🙂

      I will take it with a pinch of salt though. I talked about this to many of my friends and the opinion is unanimous: One often needs to fear the men in uniform aboard Indian railways!

      Like

  57. i am so proud of u ihm. i got scared reading this.. i have had some scary experiences while travelling by train but thankfully nothing has gone wrong. this is one reason i am mighty uncomfortable travelling alone by train..

    I haven’t got over my fear either, this experience terrified me… I think we need security in trains.

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  58. That Charakan guy thought it fit to delete my comment on his post, so to bring it to your notice I will repeat it here:

    @indianhomemaker:
    Indian communists supported the Uniform Civil Code zealously till the Jan Sangh/BJP folks also joined. That made them ‘confused’ just as you are ‘confused’ now.


    IHM : I am not confused about the benefits of UCC, I am confused about UCC being used and exploited to harass some Indian citizens.

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    • There are provisions in UCC to be exploited to harass citizens? Who are those citizens and how can they be harassed by UCC?

      And since when is Burqa secular? The French feel that it revolts against everything their egalitarian society values.

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  59. Gosh IHM I had my heart in my mouth….cd imagine tht whole scene so well.
    Inspite of ur fear u yelled out…..that was so brave. I say it so emphatically coz given the same situation I really dont know what I wd have done.

    I wish …I so hope I’ll just behave just like u did….if ever I have to face a situation like this.

    We are so proud of u IHM!!!!!

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  60. Oh no this was so scary IHM. My heart is beating fast just reading it. There have been times when I have traveled alone by train, and it scares me to think this could have happened or could happen to me.
    In fact, I was once travelling by chair car, and was at the window seat of the 3-seat row. The seats next to me were occupied by two men in kurta-pajamas and with ’tilaks’ on their foreheads. I was watching a movie on my iPod to kill time, when the man adjacent to me asked, “Is mein gaana sun rahi ho?” I ignored, pretending to not hear him due to the earphones. When I switched my iPod off and took out a book, this man again asked, “Tum kya karti ho – studies ya job?” I was incensed and said very rudely, “That should be none of your business, and you can’t ask me any questions about my personal life.” Something flashed across their faces, and they did not bother me again. They deboarded two stations before mine and I loved having all the three seats to myself.
    You know the worst part? There were well-educated people with families in that coach, and not one of them stood up against these men. I mean, what if they’d reacted violently to my rudeness? It still gives me the shivers!

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  61. For an old guy like me to say that I witnessed this scene fifty years ago, on a regular basis is to show how much progress has been made in the education of perpetrators of this behavior. Very little, except the women are now freer to wear more revealing clothes thanks to Bollywood and a more open interplay in the Indian economy.

    That probably is over-generalizing the scene but that’s what struck me first. I salute all those who stand up and make their voices heard in the face of such opression.

    Like

  62. whenever my wife and daughter train it alone to kerala i am scared stiff with all sorts of ghosts paying me courtesy calls.

    my wife is a highly spirited lady and so is my dotr. but i fear all the more for their lack of experience…

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  63. Sometimes I think being men we never come to know of such things. Am 28 and have moved out from my home only in last four years, and I cant help getting raged at these lowly actions. It is just unbelievable and had some guy told me this, I would have called it a made up story.
    I always wonder why do women try to hide it, with so many men in train even that lady could have shouted at those people, and I thought people in Punjab would support the lady here atleast! I always thought being loud, they do come forth.

    It really makes me feel uneasy from inside. In morning I read another story where a person used to rape girls before killing just because Islam doesnt allow virgins to be killed!!!!

    Sometimes I find this world so raw and absurd!

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  64. Thanks for posting about this, I would like to read more about this topic.

    You’d like to read more about this topic? You mean about sexual harassment… go to Blank Noise please.

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  66. how did I miss this post… bravo and kudos to u at some point of time we have to stand up in our own defence no one else will

    kudos to u, u know i have heard all kind of stories of train travel… nothing is safe in this country

    Me – It was scary. Train travelling is not very safe in India. One hears of train robberies also.

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  67. You’re brave. Very.
    And the best part is, that woman you spoke for, would have henceforth learnt to speak up for herself. You told her that easy targets and weak victims don’t usually make it through silence.

    Though I still think a good thrashing was well in order.

    Me – Thrashing would have been great but I was terrified and relieved it was over then…

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  68. Was searching for an old post of yours and came upon this. Had a similar horrific experience 2 months back…haven’t posted abt it yet coz it was so traumatic, but I stood up for myself without any support from other passengers…I agree, we need security on trains…I couldn’t even phone anyone for help for a while because there was so signal, but I made sure the TTE who appeared later changed my berth and then sat up half the night freaked out for my safety, but those guys were cowards and didn’t dare after I had screamed down half the train.

    There’s always the risk of a backlash, but the guys are out to attack you anway, so what’s the option.

    Your action rocked, especially coz it was for another woman. I will post sometime, but I’m now phobic about traveling alone in sleepers, I’d rather spend money on a flight, if possible.

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  69. IHM , I am from Kerala and few days before a girl was pushed off from the train and then brutally raped . They banged her head with rocks when she resisted . And she died day before yesterday . It is a sensational news here . The culprit is an handicapped . He has only one hand .

    Some fellow passenger noticed that this girl was missing but no one in the compartment wanted to pull the chain and search for her . She was left near the tracks and was found only some hours later .

    What should we do to these psyches ? And every day the incidents are increasing .

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  70. I was 12 when I traveled with my father on train, he slept on the lower berth and I on the middle. At night I felt something tugging my bedsheet, I woke up to find a guy sleeping on opposite berth. I thought nothing of it and slept again…this time I was sure something touched me. In an impulse I got down from my berth, was too shocked and confused what to do..so stood there for sometime… not wanting to go back to sleep, and unable to confront either as the guy seemed asleep and I might have been wrong. So made the big mistake in my confusion to goto the toilet and clear my head up. When I opened the door to get back, suddenly a guy tried to push me back into the toilet ..I ducked as a reflex and ran back to my father ,woke him up and insisted to sleep next to him. Next morning when I woke up, I never saw the guy again.

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