We seldom realise the severity of an ugly situation until we find ourselves embroiled in something equally, if not more unpleasant. Reading the newspaper daily had kept me cognizant of the crimes against women in the National Capital; but only recently, when I was victimised, not once but thrice, did the shock and horror of it engulf me in hatred and disgust. The most outrageous part of it all is that my untoward experiences occurred on campus: an area that is supposed to be ‘a safe haven’ for the University’s burgeoning student population.
Episode 1: One day, as I waited for the train at the platform of Vishwavidyalaya station, I was approached by a stranger. He was a man in his mid-twenties. He boldly walked up to me and very squarely asked me, “Are you the prettiest girl on this planet?” Completely appalled by this stranger’s forwardness, my mind grew blank with fear. I was paralysed- both tongue and feet. He took my silent panic as encouragement and tried to get comfortable. Just then the metro rushed into the station. I reflexively jumped right in and fled to the Ladies’ coach. I found a corner seat and sat there, numb and motionless for the rest of the journey.
Episode 2: I was crossing the road in front of my college, when a bike with two crudely dressed boys sped past me. An instant later, the boy sitting behind the driver turned around, sized me up, whistled and hooted and loudly screamed out ‘Jaaneman, haseena!’ He followed this up with a cackle and before my mind could respond to the situation, the bike was a blur in the distance.
Episode 3: I was at Kamla Nagar, purchasing my books for the new academic session, when a group of boys, perceptibly students from a campus college, walked into the book store. One of them noticed me and overtly pointed me out to his friend. The friend then went on to call the boy beside him and before I knew it, all three boys were ogling at me. The stares made me extremely uncomfortable and I walked out immediately. I thought I had managed to escape the scene when these boys followed me out, overtook me, brushed their shoulder against me, called me ‘Tota’ and then hurried away.
Yes. The metro incident was my first experience with the disgusting indecency of men in Delhi University (and elsewhere, in general) and the other two episodes gave me a bitter taste of eve-teasing. I don’t wish to further opine my views on the subject of women’s safety in DU, because I know no one is listening. However, putting the entire issue in perspective, I, as a girl student in DU, seek answers to the following questions: what is the point of having a police constable stationed every 200 m on campus when lewd men still openly get away with their lascivious deeds? Also, why hasn’t the University done something more tangible to make public places like roads, platforms and campus markets safer? Why do problems like eve-teasing receive such tepid attention and response from the authorities? Are these issues not crimes? Or do we need something grave like rape or murder to happen to get authorities to implement stringent rules?
I know I am just one among the many women on campus who has had a tryst with such disturbing events. I feel we must come to the fore and talk about our experiences, no matter how hurtful, to create awareness and awaken the concerned parties to our cause. Questions like the ones above have to be raised more frequently and vociferously to actually pave the way for change.
So, dear sister, share your thoughts, views and opinions with us. Help us stir and sensitise the otherwise apathetic authorities. We look forward to hearing from you.
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