I'm in college right now. It happened during my first year of college. It was our Diwali break, so, I and my friends planned to go on a concert in Gurgaon. It was one of the typical concerts of music lovers and energetic young people. I was with my group of friends, prepared for a night of fun and lots of music. I was standing with one of my friends when suddenly a man, who I did not know, passed by and squeezed one of my breasts. For a moment, I froze and was left in complete shock. I could not believe what had just happened. I shared about the incident to my friend but it was of no use. I hadn't even seen the face of that man. It was just some face. Fortunately, he went away from there at that time. We went back to our other friends and I tried to be normal.
But it was so crowded that a second incident happened when some guy grabbed my ass. I don’t know if that was the same man or not. I got really scared but didn't tell anyone about this one. That night was a really scary for me. I hugged my friend close, looking for some security and relief. It took me some time to calm down, process what had happened. By this time, I was ready to leave and our group left.
What happened to me, is unfortunately, not uncommon. Women at public spaces are routinely harassed and are constantly under male gaze. They are assigned specific roles and manners, while branding it as appropriate for their sex. Personal choices such as career, clothing and lifestyle are scrutinized and are limited. For any violence or abuse faced, women are held under suspicion.
The most common argument that men give in their support is “#notallmen”, but I want to ask is that how come it is not all men, when it is all women. Are just a handful of men abusing, molesting and raping all the women on the entire planet? I disagree.
For the harassment I faced, I could have been told that ‘I asked for it’ for what I wore. The public belongs to my gender as much as it belongs to men. While this notion might take a little while to settle into mainstream, I guess we will have to wait.