“Why didn’t she complain when it happened?”
“Where’s the proof?”
“Why is she coming out with this now?”
“What was she doing there in the first place?”
These questions appear to rear their ugly heads every time a high-profile incident of sexual harassment surfaces. If those involved in these highly scrutinised cases are still subject to these questions, it is no wonder then that average Janes often choose to maintain silence instead of speaking up.
This is #WhyWomenDontReport.
As one of the women, who shared her experiences, said:
Being objectified and molested isn’t as impactful as it once was. Recounting an experience like this invokes a soft sigh, a sympathetic shake of the head. But that’s just about it. And that scares me more. Getting molested isn’t as scary as people not getting bothered for it. It’s almost like getting objectified is an occupational hazard of being a woman.
Here are a few excerpts from the stories of other women who spoke up.
One Afternoon on a Cycle
Sanjana I was 13. With a flat chest and clad in a cotton tshirt and jeans I was cycling on a sunny afternoon morning. Ahmedabad summers are painful and you would imagine cycling to Sanskrit tuitions at 3 in the afternoon is no fun... Before I knew what was happening I felt my butt being squeezed, almost immediately rough hands slid under my tshirt and rubbed my bare waist and tummy. I stopped and turned. Two men in their late 40s were on a motorbike right next to me. They grinned at me and zoomed off. I stood there with more traffic streaming past me. After 5 minutes of staring at the ground, I climbed back on my yellow bicycle and pedalled on.
I was 4!
AnonymousMy brother and I used to go to school in an auto, it was a private auto where only both of us would go. I was 4 years at this time and my brother 6. Unfortunately one day, my brother fell sick and didn’t come to school, so I had to go alone. After school, when the auto driver came to pick me up, he had brought a friend with him...This man, he kissed me on my lips in front of his friends outside somebody’s house...I was wearing School uniform when the incident happened.
It Was a Regular Summer Day
AnonymousIt was a regular summer day, I was walking back home from a trip to the grocery store - with candy, chips and a brand new pen. Like most 9 year olds at the time I was wearing a short sleeve t-shirt layered over a long sleeve tshirt and a pair of nondescript jeans. He followed me along the road, down the alley, into my building. He claimed he was lost, looking for apartment 25. He asked if I could show him the way up. While walking up the stairs he cupped my bum, I brushed his hand away. Up another flight of stairs and he pushed me against the wall and forced his lips on mine. He forced his hands between my legs. I shoved him, he pushed me. I ran. I went home and ate lunch. I puked after, and cried silently in the washroom. 12 years later and I still can’t stand someone’s touch on my skin. 12 years later and I still can’t trust someone. 12 years later and it still feels like it was yesterday.
Maybe you were told that "you were imagining it”; maybe you didn’t realise it was sexual harassment until much later.
Tell us your experiences of sexual harassment, anonymous or otherwise here.