Set out to catch Pokémon on Indian roads, got masturbated to instead.
It can happen in a secluded lane, it can happen while you are amidst a swarm of people. What you need to know is that you are not as powerless as you feel and he is definitely not as powerful as he portrays.
When I first heard about Pokémon Go, I was happier than you can imagine. It was a childhood dream come true. Pokémon Go uses technology to seamlessly blend the virtual world and the real world. But then again, if you are an Indian female, do you really think it will come to us that easily?
It was a few days into the download of Pokémon Go that I realized that I had to go to an open area with strong wifi in order to catch more Pokémon than I could at home. I was told that parks are the best place to go hunting. With that in mind, I enthusiastically set out on my first Pokémon hunt with a friend.
On a Wednesday evening, we decided to go to the closest park. The minute we set foot into the park, we realized that it was mainly men that inhabited the place. Even though catching Pokémon was of paramount importance to me, it was hardly playing on my mind then. There were no signs of any danger. However, we did not feel too comfortable surrounded by so many men.
We spontaneously made our way out and concluded that we could find Pokémon elsewhere. Even though cars that ran on that road were numerous, pedestrians on the footpath were a few. We were walking and talking fearlessly; until it struck me that something was odd. A middle aged man had been following us ever since we left the park. We slowed down so he could walk ahead of us. That was when we realized that his zip was down, his hands were in his pants and his eyes; fixated upon us. He did not stop masturbating even after he knew that we were aware. As an immediate response to the stimuli, we rushed to a more crowded area.
The next police stop was not far away so we decided to make a complaint. By the time we reached the stop, the pervert’s ugly face sunk into an ocean of faces and we could do nothing to help ourselves or the women who will be masturbated at, in the middle of the road, in future.
To my dismay, this has not been the first time something like this has happened. The first time was when I was in 5th grade and blissfully unaware of the fact that such perverts exist. It irks me to say that I have never been in a position to stop them. Hence, the least I could do was share it and throw light on the issue.
If you are curious about how I was dressed on these occasions, since many would argue that was probably why it happened, I was in my school uniform the first two times and the third time, I was wearing a baggy tee and jeans while my friend was wearing a kurti. So go ahead, call the clothes ‘provocative’.
Regardless of gender and age, I have an earnest request from the rest of you- PLEASE DO NOT LET THEM GET AWAY WITH THIS.
What you need to know is that there are ways we can publicly insult them like they intend to insult us. British traveler, Lucy, was in the same situation in a public place in Rishikesh. What she did was incredibly smart. She stared back at him and started making fun of him.
“Laughing empowered me; I felt we sent a very clear message that we weren’t intimidated by him and that we thought he was pathetic,” she wrote.
In the spur of the moment, we could run away, feeling helpless and threatened. But if the circumstances allow it, do what Lucy did and you might save another girl from going through the same.
The sad truth is that India abounds in a category of human beings that do not deserve to be a part of society, yet, we let them live, scot-free. These men seek to establish their authority by raping women, with just their eyes. They will sexualise a 12 year old girl just as they will sexualise a woman covered from head to toe. They will do everything they possibly can to make us ask ourselves, what we have done wrong to be living in the same world as them.
Besides limiting the clothes we wear and restraining our day-to-day outings, they are the reason why we cannot pursue something as innocent and harmless as catching Pokémon, without feeling threatened. We must not let these perverts feel that they have enough power to commit such heinous acts and get away with it. The knowledge that they can get away with masturbating, whistling, staring and commenting on girls, in the middle of the road causes them to turn into the monsters that we call rapists.
If we all, as a society declare war against them, we are not far from saving future generations from this scourge. If you witness even the slightest sexual offence being committed, take a stand. If you do, others will join.
Let them know that they are as defenseless as they think the victim is.
Let them know that this is war, and the chances of them winning are as weak as their balls!
Be the voice. Be the change.