Bhubaneswar, March 20 (LocalWire): An online survey by Stop Street Harassment reveals that 81% women have experienced some form of sexual harassment or the other in their lifetime.
Data from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) substantiates it and shows an alarming rise in harassment cases in Odisha.
Violence against women could range from psychological to physical and sexual violence.
Women are also prone to harassment on the roads, which is a common form of violence that affects girls in their day to day life.
In an attempt to understand the crime and its cause, LocalWire spoke to victims of the pernicious act who describe terrifying experiences.
Sneha, who attends university in Bhubaneswar takes the train to commute from Cuttack and is still haunted by a horrible incident she experienced a few years back.
‘I was on a train heading home when a man came and sat next to me. He started commenting on my physicality and outfit.
I was scared but refused to engage in any kind of conversation with him. When I got up to disembark, he pressed his body against me.
I hurried off the train but he kept following me. I had to hide in a public washroom to get rid of him,’ she narrated.
Shaken by the whole ordeal, Sneha found herself unable to go to college for a few days after that, ‘Since that day, I am cautious every time I step on a public transport,’ she added.
Aditi’s friend, who lives in a hostel used to travel to college by a shared autorickshaw. One of her co-passengers stalked her. She asked for help and Aditi and her group used to escort her.
But that wasn’t a permanent solution as they were not always by her side. Later, to get away from the nightmare she was living everyday, the girl had to change hostels and shake off the man trailing her.
Swagatika, a working woman from Bhubaneswar, tells LocalWire how frequent this kind of violence is. ‘I travel by the same bus every day and I have had several such experiences.
A hand on my thigh, somebody pushing themselves against me even when the bus isn’t crowded, men leering at me from their seats – it has become a daily affair.’ She adds, ‘I feel scared of the consequences I’ll have to face if I react in any manner.
Street harassment is no more a simple one-time experience. It’s nowadays a horribly drawn out affair.