Reacting to harassment, does it change anything?

Many a times as a girl I have come across scenarios and situations that made me feel that for a girl she is first a body then a person. Men ogling ,passing lewd comments, and even worse trying to get a touch as if that is going to offer them nirvana. What I don’t get is why do men take this huge risk of being caught and complained for such a minimalist amount of pleasure. Or is it that there is no risk at all?  Recently we have been seeing this outcry that girls should start reacting more, and that would eventually lead to men being afraid and some how they will start respecting women. In my opinion Respect can never arise from fear. And the recent experience I had just fortifies it.

On the eve of new year I was travelling from my Hometown to Bangalore. Yeah the whole world was celebrating and I was in the dingy old Rajahamsa KSRTC. I was seated in the second row just behind the conductor. And after a while a guy got into the bus, kind of in his twenties. Normally when you book in RedBus, seats next to single ladies seats are reserved for ladies. Somehow this guy had his seat next to me. As in my character the precaution buzzer in my head got switched on as soon as dis guy occupied his seat next to me. It was a cold night and I was covered in a shawl , sweater and a blanket. So literally if he could make out I was a girl was only from my hair. After a while I could feel this guys elbow encroaching my side of the armrest. Though I was uncomfortable I adjusted myself in my seat telling myself that I was being a little too cautious and judgmental of guys. Even if it was a lady her elbow might’ve touched me. And then I slept off hoping for a happy new year. In between I was awaken by the same encroaching elbow .The guy seemed asleep, I woke him up and asked to move his hand away from the arm rest. No harm till now and I dozed off again.
A little while afterwards, his knees were giving company to his elbows and it was pushing me off to a corner of my seat. And the guy was sleeping in his seat turning to me. I was irritated this time and got up and sternly asked him to sit proper and not to put his arms like that on the arm rest. So folks, according to the general theories the guy might’ve already understood that I am not so tolerating and am reactive.that is I reacted when I was uncomfortable. And this should have set the guy off. And yet after a while I got up to find his hands crawling on my chest. Just to remember here that I am covered under a pile of blanket and sweater. So I hope the judgmental wont accuse me of being exposed on scantily clothed. In a reflex I caught his hands and twisted it. I could see him wincing in pain, and I was not satisfied by this. I started shouting at him in English and after a while in Malayalam. All he was uttering was sorry madam. Wasn't madam a phrase for someone you respect? I thought so. And so infuriated I was that I slapped him. I don’t know how everybody could sleep so deep  in a rickety bus like that, whatever the case was none responded. I asked him to get up and go and turned to the window side . It was 3 am in the morning. What a great beginning to a new year. I sat there awkwardly staring  into my phone. It was not that I was not able to sleep, I did not even want to try to. I sat their feeling repugnant of the creature beside me, waiting for the conductor to ask for a seat change. After a while I turned to the aisle side and then the guy started justifying or apologizing ,whatever you call it. “Madam somehow it happened, I could not help”. This broke loose the hell in me. My hands doesn't wander to anybody else’s body without my permission, do they?. What was he expecting? , that I will say ‘oh its OK brother, I know your hands could not contain that there is female body in the next seat in a bus and it went for a ride?’
I turned to him and shouted so loud and angry that I am going to complain this and all that. The passengers around started looking, and by the time the conductor who was next to me turned at me. But none said or asked anything. Why is it that people find it so hard to help someone in a situation like this?? Not even the conductor.  Luckily or unluckily the next moment bus stopped at Mysore and this guy got out.

Thanks to the guy my new year morning was already spoiled. At 6 I landed in Bangalore, ready to face another year of harassment. And my new year resolution was to fight it off even harder than last year.Even if changes anything or not, at least I won’t feel guilty that I joined the lot of people who stood and watched my body being betrayed.

- Devilish Angel