The second part of the story about a 16 year old girl who was molested for raising her voice! Please read the first part for connectivity.
Read the first part here: WHEN I WAS MOLESTED FOR RAISING A VOICE! (PART 1)
A few days later, having forgotten all that happened, I was walking from my house in the afternoon towards a bus stop. That lane was a little empty at that time. Me and my friend were talking about how exciting college life was and what plans we had for the day…just then someone came from behind. He was on a bike.
He said, “Excuse, me”, so we looked at the person. He was wearing a helmet so I couldn’t look at his face, I could only see his moustache. We assumed he wanted to ask an about an address he was trying to find but just then his hand went down to his pant. He unzipped it and his penis protruded out! We heard him laughing and then he drove away.
Being a hot blood, I had the tiniest bit of sense left in me after that incident so I looked at the bike’s number plate. But to my surprise the number plate was empty! For 20 minutes, we stood there like a statue. What had just happened? I was angry and had tears in my eyes. The first thing I thought about was calling the police. I dialled 100. I don’t know why but that number never connects!
I had the number of the nearest police station saved in my phone. I called them up and reported what had happened. The police officer on the other end of the phone asked me if the person on the bike had done the same to other women on the street – I thought for a while and realized that he had not. The police officer said he was sending a patrolling van in the area. But there was nothing else they could do because there wasn’t a number on the bike or any other way to trace the man.
For four nights after that day, I barely slept. I confided in my mother and then my father. My mother said that during her college days, she had faced men trying to touch women’s breasts. And that should this happen again, I should scream as loud as I can to attract attention. My dad told me to punch the guy and kick his bike the next time. He also assured me that he would get me all the help from the police should it happen again – they gave me a lot of support that helped me. But it wasn’t enough.
I didn’t know that what had happened to me was ‘molestation’. I tagged that incident with that term only a few months later and I wish I hadn’t but I had.
Whenever I went out after that day, I was always on the lookout. I walked in the opposite direction of the vehicles and was petrified of every biker. That incident had given rise to extreme anxiety in me. I felt like a helpless victim and I hated to feel that way.
I still had not connected the dots to the peon in my college. I connected those dots a fortnight later.
That evening, around 4 p.m. I left from my college gate and was walking towards a popular store. It was some 700m away. Just as I had exited my gate, it began drizzling. I was enjoying that drizzling…it was amazing. As I walked further, it began raining heavily. I stopped and hurriedly tried to take out an umbrella from my bag. There was no shelter nearby so I was considerably wet already.
In my attempt of finding my umbrella, I didn’t notice the bike that had stopped near me. Then, it happened again. The molester knew where I studied, he knew where I lived! This time I screamed. But I couldn’t kick his bike or do anything to him. He went away. Once again, the bike didn’t have a number plate. But I knew he was the same man. Same moustache – same build. Same disgusting way of molestation. The bike however was different.
This time I looked behind when he rushed away – he did not stop and do the same to any other woman. I called the local police station again – this time the one near my college. The way they spoke to me made me mad! I would have slapped the police officer if he was in front of me. Not only did he refuse to send a patrolling van but also said that they could do nothing about it.
That culprit was free – no one knew who he was. But the fact that he knew my address and my college was a lead. Then that thick moustache made me think of the peon. My heart said it was him! My brain said it might be but I had no proof. My 16 year old self wasn’t sensible enough to trust my gut instincts. I cried. I cried right there on the road. I felt violated and afraid.
My father made calls and lodged a complaint against an unknown person. He counselled me. My mother thought that it was better if I changed routes and asked me if I doubted anyone. I said I didn’t. I didn’t and I still don’t know if it was the peon – but it has to be him said my heart. It never happened again after that day.
It took me one year to forget that incident. I passed out my junior college and took up a degree in the same college but on a different floor and with a different administrative office. In the second year of my degree, when I entered the lift with my friends, I saw the peon.
He was standing two feet away from me. It was him! That inhuman beast who robbed me of my college life. But you know what was most surprising? There was a flicker of recognition in his eyes. It was like he knew me and then he lowered his eyes and got off on the next floor. That action of his, spoke a million words. It was him!
I never saw him again. I had inquired once and I was told he had left his job. Even today, I have no proof. I haven’t found the culprit. I haven’t punished him. But it was only some time ago that I realised that I had to forgive myself.
I was angry with me for not getting him behind the bars and for not trusting my gut instinct. How could I let someone walk away with something so gruesome? But I had forgiven myself for I was a teenager who was thrust into an unexpected world.
Today, whenever I see someone else being molested, eve-teased or flashed, I become aggressive and swing into action. It is not that I don’t face troubles in doing so – I do and a lot of troubles come my way. But if I remained silent for one more time, all my life I would become a victim.
I was molested for raising my voice, for complaining against someone who did wrong. But I won’t be a victim and curse myself. I am a fighter, I will remain so for the rest of my life.”