Crimes against women are increasingly becoming the order of the day. Due to recurring incidents of harrasment, rape, molestation etc, many people have turned a blind eye towards the trauma a woman goes through on a daily basis.
However, every woman turns to the helplines whilst the society acts oblivious.
Now what if we tell you that it is possible that the helpline instead of solving your troubles actually increases your trauma? Why this question? Pooja, a girl living in Mumbai faced a similar situation wherein the operator not only laughed at her but also abruptly cut the call.
Read the account of the incident she gave in a Facebook post.
Train from Borivali to Dadar
I’m sitting in the train, going back home after meeting friends who live in Borivali. I’m in the ladies compartment, there are about 6 other women. I’m sitting on the side that can see the handicapped section of the train, but with railings in between. On my left, there is another girl. We both are listening to music. In the handicapped section is a man. I’m looking at my phone and I see him waving at the girl through the railing. He’s put his hands through and has reached half the distance to the girl’s face. I cannot hear him, I’m wearing headphones.
I reduce the music, out of curiosity and also to see whether she needs help, I do not turn. Looking down at my phone, I hear him calling her madarchod. I heard it at least 6 times in the 30 seconds I listened. I looked at him, our eyes met and I looked down again.
There are many mentally challenged people who travel on the train regularly and I’m used to many of them cursing, so I thought him to be one of them and let it go.
The split second where our eyes locked, he took the chance to come to me. He came to my side of the compartment and put his hands through just like he had done before.
He called me the same, another 6-10 times.
I looked up and just kept looking at him for 20 seconds. Thinking of what I should do. Meanwhile, he puts his hand down, whips out his penis and grins at me, he starts masturbating. For those who know me also know that I have seen this too many times. Maybe that prepared me to do what I tried next. I was rational, calm.
And I asked the other women to tell me the police helpline and also yelled that this man was showing me his privates.
They gave me the helpline. I had just run out of credit in the morning, so the girl he was waving at first gave me the phone. I called up the helpline.
The next paragraph is a summary of that conversation:
I told the person on the line all the details. The train was just approaching Kandivli. Which compartment, what time. All of it.
Then I told him that this person had also called us what he did. And then the person on the helpline laughed. He found it funny.
I asked him whether they’d pick this person up at Kandivli.
He cut the call.
I’m not sure what happened. When Kandivli came, the man got out of the compartment and started walking towards the doors of the ladies compartment. 6 women who could easily take him down, started yelling. I stood up and walked towards the door. He told me he would rape me. I told him to do it. (I only did so because I knew he wouldn’t and because the time permitted me, so did the space.)
1. Our helplines. Do they really help? Or is equality for women just a trend for marketing and PR?
2. Rape is supposed to scare me. Stop being scared by it. Stop making it a big deal. Somewhere there, it will stop.
Don’t take me wrong.
Rape IS a big deal. But physically, mentally for the pain it causes. not because the honor of this society lies in my vagina. Not because I will be SCARED by the prospect because my life will be ruined.
I once even called a suicide helpline that didn’t pick up. The irony.
Pooja’s bravery is commendable but it’s high time we ask the question: How efficient helplines actually are?