A 29-year-old woman from Gurugram took to Twitter on June 17 recounting a shocking incident. She gave an account of a man who masturbated at her and abused her at the Huda City Centre metro station.
According to the tweet, the incident occurred at 9:25 pm on June 14 when she stepped out of a shop in the metro station. She mentions that she felt something wrong on her back while climbing down the escalator. When she turned around, she saw a man masturbating at her.
When she confronted the man, he began hurling abuses at her. She called for help, but nobody came to her rescue. The woman also accused the security officials of apathy. She also mentioned that the only police station in the area was shut.
When criticised, the Gurugram Police replied on Twitter saying that they were investigating the matter and also referring to the CCTV footages.
After the culprit was caught and booked, the Gurugram police apologised for the delay in action and said, “Respected mam, Thanks for your input. We apologise for the delayed reply. Please share your contact number to take all details related to this matter. Gurugram Police always with you.”
Netizen’s Shocking Reaction
Various media outlets recorded the incident. Several of them highlighted how women are attacked even in a crowd.
News18 reported the incident in an article titled: ‘Man Masturbates on Woman Inside Metro Station in Gurugram, Hurls Abuses Before Running Away’.
When they posted the article on their Facebook page, several people mocked the incident and showed insensitivity towards the woman’s harrowing experience.
Nearly 11% (35 out of 321) reacted on the post was the laughing emoticon.
In the comments some went on to criticise the Aam Aadmi Party’s free metro rides for women, a few others said that Gurugram was famous for such incidents and this was nothing new.
Some even went on to justify why no other person came to help the woman because nobody wants any unnecessary and false accusations on themselves.
In another report on the same incident On ScoopWhoop, approximately 12.16% (80 out of 658) reacted with the laughing emoticon. Many comments questioned what the woman was doing when the man was masturbating at her.
Similarly, when The Indian Express reported the incident, about 7% (45 out of 677) of all reacted the laughing emoticon. Many people posted derogatory and disturbing comments.
Some comments made fun of the act. Others shamed Gurugram for being unsafe. Many people saw it as a common incident and made light of it.
The Logical Indian Take
According to the organisation CARE “Gender-based violence is one of the most pervasive and yet least-recognised human rights abuses in the world.”
The high percentage of people who found the incident funny and the successive derogatory comments highlight how we, as a society, are failing to treat the instances of everyday harassment seriously.
WHO says that one in every three women has either survived or is subjected to physical or sexual violence, or both.
It is not the lonely, isolated places where the violence can exist. As this incident highlights, it exists even in the crowd.
This violence has far-reaching impacts ranging from immediate to long-term physical, sexual, and mental health consequences for the victims.
Decades of efforts through women’s movements saw that this violence is recognised, and is put an end to. It was included in our national and global agendas. There are several laws that exist to prevent such crimes.
However, the analysis above shows that there is a long way to go for women safety to be taken seriously. It is not a hidden phenomenon that women and their concerns are often brushed aside.
There is a need to challenge the harmful attitude and the burden does not lie with the authorities alone.