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How can we stem rape culture if we don’t treat molestation as a serious offence?

india Updated: Jan 02, 2014 16:33 IST
Subuhi Parvez
Subuhi Parvez
Hindustan Times
She lit a flame

A year after the savage Delhi gang rape, I still fear going out in the dark alone or taking an auto after work from one of the busiest roads in Connaught Place. Yes, nothing has changed…

Last winter, a month before the tragedy I experienced my own horror.

I was walking back home with my elder sister from a mall barely one kilometer away from where we stay. It was around 9pm and it wasn't the first time that I was out at that hour.

We were clutching styrofoam cups filled with hot chocolate and discussing food, when suddenly I felt a hand seize me from behind, squash me and ride away into the night on a motor bike. When he turned to see my reaction I noticed he was wearing a black helmet.

And what was my reaction? Nothing at first.

It was all so quick, so sudden, it took a while to sink in. And when it did I was, to my own surprise now, extremely embarrassed and conscious that others on the road may have witnessed the shameful sight.

A little ahead, close to the auto stand, there was a policeman. I walked up to him and reported the incident and urged him to try and look for my assaulter (I gave him the particulars of his bike), who seemed to live close by. “Uncle, if he can get away with something like this today he will try worse things tomorrow," I pleaded.

Instead of going after the offender, he reassured me, "Beta, galti se hogaya hoga." After a long and futile debate I gave up.

How can we stem this culture of rape, if we don’t treat molestation like a serious offence?