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Actor Shenaz Treasurywala’s open letter

[Ms.Treasury is a bollywood actress. This story has been extracted from Indian media publications.]shehnaaz_650_121114054738

Dear Narendra Modi, Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar, Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and Anil Ambani,

I am writing to YOU specifically because you are the most powerful and influential MEN in our country.

I am writing to you as a woman who grew up in a middle class family in Mumbai.

I am writing to YOU for HELP!

My parents may not like me saying this. I apologize to them if they are reading but this is NOT MY SHAME. It’s THIER SHAME.

My first experience with the opposite sex, was when I was just 13 and groped by a man (never saw his face but will never forget his hand) while walking in the vegetable market with my mom. She had just given me the worst haircut and as an angry teenager I was upset at her and was lagging behind as she walked ahead. I still remember what I was wearing. It was her dress, mustard with flowers and little bow in the front. How I hate that dress! As if, it was the dress’s fault. I was shocked at first. Speechless. He disappeared. I just stood there. Tears started pouring out of my innocent eyes. I told my mom who went mad screaming in the market but who knew where that man disappeared to. I still remember the dirty feeling I had and the number of times I showered in my grand-mom’s bathroom after.

That feeling never went away. Since then it was non-stop. I would try to articulate this to my parents and while my mom understood, my dad and uncles told me I was imagining it. Maybe they just couldn’t deal with it. CAN YOU? When I was 15, I started going by train and bus to St. Xaviers’ College. I was groped and touched and from all angles and this was just how I grew up. Not Just Me but MOST INDIAN WOMEN who don’t have the luxury of cars and drivers.

As a teenager I would dream of and still sometimes dream that I had a machine gun and could kill all the men who tried to grope me. A very disturbing dream for a kid, don’t you think?

I got my first assignment as a model in the FYJC and I had to go to screen-tests straight from college. So I had to dress nice, didn’t make it any easier. I specifically remember the time I went for an audition in a red body suit and a black long skirt with slits. It was HELL! I never wore that again. As if it was the dress’s fault.

I developed ways to defend myself, I always carried a bag in front of me, my fist was always clenched, I always turned around every 20 seconds to check who was behind me and a few times I slapped men who touched me, I got slapped back many times too. Sometimes saved by the public, MOST TIMES NOT.

My mom begged me not to pick fights with men who touched me, she was afraid of acid being thrown at me or that somebody someday would hurt me badly. She is STILL AFRAID and today she told me not to take an UBER to my meeting tomorrow. Hell ya. BAN UBER! Make everyone take responsibility for this.

My sister got into Sophia’s college, we were all excited. She went by bus but the first day she came home, she sobbed traumatized. A man had put his hand in her tee-shirt through her sleeve, the entire bus ride. She just froze. She was a kid too and wasn’t equipped to even understand this. I was LIVID. I’m sorry sis for telling the world this, please don’t stop speaking to me. IT’S NOT Our Shame. It’s THEIRS!

One of my friends in college was RAPED on the train on her way home in the ladies compartment. She was sick and was going home in the 11:15 break. There was nobody in the first class compartment going back to Bandra at that time, it was a superfast meaning it didn’t stop at most stations. He raped her and then jumped off after using her scrunchy (hair tie) to wipe himself. She was the only one on the train and had to limp her way back to her home in Bandra, bleeding profusely. She was just 16. This she felt was her shame so she did not say anything to anyone. BUT IT ISN’T HER SHAME, it’s THEIR SHAME.

My mom accompanied me to Hyderabad on a shoot once. In churi bazaar, a cyclist groped My MOM. My dear respected and lovely MOM. Sorry Mom, IT’S NOT Our Shame, It’s THEIR SHAME.

Why am I telling you my personal story? Well first I want all women to Speak Up. Let’s make this our MOTTO- It’s not OUR SHAME, it’s THEIR SHAME. Who are “THEY”? “THEY” ARE THE MEN IN OUR COUNTRY. Not just the rapists and the sexual offenders and gropers but also our Fathers (sorry dad) and Uncles and Brothers and MOVIE STARS AND CRICKETERS AND POLITICIANS for not SAVING US or PROTECTING US by insisting and protesting for the LAWS TO CHANGE and Rapists and Gropers to BE PUNISHED SEVERELY!

Why do we as women have to feel so threatened? WHY has there been no severe action taken? This has gone on for years now. Not just in Delhi but all over our country and yes even in BOMBAY OR MUMBAI OR Whatever the hell you want to call it! It’s NOT SAFE. NO!

My biggest fear ever since I was kid and even today when I walk back home at night from yoga or when I take a rickshaw from a friend’s home is being RAPED. I still feel that fear. I am still am on guard. I still fantasize of having that MACHINE GUN. In the past 4 years I have been living and working half in India and half in New York and let me tell you I have walked the streets of Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn (perceived as the most dangerous in NYC) at3am after parties in short skirts and felt safer than I feel in Bandra at 10 pm on a quiet road fully covered. WHY??

Let’s talk about Delhi our Capital. I was there 2 days ago and the day of the rape. I wanted to go out and walk by India Gate and admire our great monuments but could I?! Why?? What good are all your speeches in the US or Japan or AUSTRALIA- NAMO, if no woman can walk freely in the streets even in broad daylight by herself in the CAPITAL OF OUR COUNTRY. Isn’t this a SHAME? SHAME ON YOU SIR. This is our NO1 issue. FIX THIS before anything else. This is a SHAME. And it’s YOUR SHAME. You are now RESPONSIBLE FOR US.

I beg all of you fine gentlemen that I have addressed to help change the LAW. You are powerful men. I say, SHAME and PUNISH THE Gropers and Sexual offenders severely. KILL THE RAPISTS. I won’t ask for public castration which is what I want and all the women want because I know this is unrealistic and things move SO DAMN SLOW in our FINE NATION.

All I ask for is the -Death Penalty Please. NOW! QUICK! If that’s too hard or will take too long then at least LIFE IMPRISONMENT. Put them away forever.

Why was this man who had raped twice before out on bail? And then given a drivers license? YES, BAN UBER TOO. Make everyone responsible. I’m ready to do anything. I’m not a big enough celeb but you Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Sharukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Anil Ambani SIRS- need to speak up as MEN ( you are the men with the power) SAVE US! Please demand the Death Sentence for the Rapists. NO BAIL. Just Death.

Superstars I beg you, please take a stand. Use your Superstardom and Power and MONEY and save the women of our country. SAVE US! I urge you to protest or go on a fast or do something DRASTIC so people take notice, the government wakes up and CHANGES the LAW so these men are terrified to touch us. Death to rapists. No bail. Just death.

Imagine Amitabh Bachchan Sir, Aamir Khan, Salmaan Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Ambani- if you went on a fast or walked to the Rashrtrapati In Delhi. If you, took this stand and made this YOUR NO 1 issue, how much change there would be?! Why should we as women feel so unsafe in our motherland?! Why should we as women be terrified and on guard all the time.

Why was this man out on bail after committed two rapes already ? Make an Example Of Him. Any man who even touches a woman should be imprisoned for life. Be strict, make examples of these men, scare those who dare to touch us. SCARE THEM BY MAKING AN EXAMPLE OUT OF THEM. SAVE US, Save your mother, daughter, sister please! This is NOT OUR SHAME. THIS IS YOURS. SHAME ON YOU. Don’t sleep till you- SAVE YOUR WOMEN!

With all respect,

Shenaz Treasury

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When I say I was harassed, I am not bragging.

Rajina

Site Leader, Hollaback! Bangalore

Street harassment, eve teasing, cat calling or whatever word is more into use in your region, is often not taken as a “real” problem. I understand that in popular culture, casual teasing as they term it, is considered harmless. While we are fighting to prove that wrong, what makes me go really crazy, is when someone considers harassment stories as a brag.


“LOL. He thinks you’re hot.”

“It’s a compliment.”

“Be grateful. At least someone thinks you’re pretty.”

And the worse, that eye roll you give that you think we did not notice.

 

Let me say this one more time. No, harassment stories are not a brag. It’s not high school(or our girl’s night out) gossip. Our stories of street harassment and stories of that guy that we like or likes us, are NOT the same. The former, is in no way a compliment- it doesn’t flatter us. All it does is makes us angry and scared.

 

“Women logic: It’s flirting if it’s a good looking guy and harassment if he’s not”

It’s not about how the harasser looks. It’s about what the person does that categories into harassment or flirting. It’s flirting if you gently approach someone and compliment them, tell them a joke or innocently smile at them. It’s harassment if you go “Hey baby!” to a  stranger. Or, call out “Oyee Short skirt!”, or “Chammak challo” (the indian style). It’s harassment if you smack them in the ass, try to touch them anywhere inappropriately, if you stalk them, if you sing out the DDLJ song to them on the street or the bus or anywhere in public space.

It’s basic common sense.

 

“People who complain about street harassment are usually the ones who aren’t pretty enough to get catcalled”.

“I got harassed on the street today” does NOT translate to “OMG I am so pretty people can’t stop staring at me. *blush* *blush*. ”

Being commented on weight or skin color or sexual orientation is also harassment.

 

“Knock off the attitude already. That guy doesn’t want to date you. He was just having fun.”

My story is my anger and frustration and fear. It’s not playing “hard to get”. Oh, we don’t want to date him either. And he can go have fun with acceptable activities that do not make others feel vulnerable.

 

“Work on real issues like domestic violence and rape.”

Street harassment is a real issue as well. When street harassment becomes a habit, women avoid late night shifts, late night classes, and any other productive activity that they could be doing but cannot because of the timing or company. Also, street harassment has been recorded to quickly escalate to rape and violence on street. I shouldn’t even be giving the reasons of classes or work. Hell yeah, I should be safe to go clubbing at night too.

Making streets safer means giving people the liberty to walk alone or late at night carefree.

 

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“Hey! some crazy people use panties instead of napkins” Submission from Alavia

Few days back me and my frnds went to jayanagar 4th block area for shopping,there we saw a man staring at us.We started ignoring him and when he saw that,he came close to us ,took out something from his pocket and started smelling it.At first we thought that it was a napkin but later we realised that it was a girl’s panty.He was a middle aged man wearing decent clothes and it seemed that he was an educated man.He did not stop,he continued doing that for 2-3 times But still how could he do that.When itold my friend infront of him “hey some crazy people use panties instead of napkins” then he just went away…how shameless some people can be..!!!!

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“Just next to a police station” Submission from xyz

At 5 in the evening, my friend and I decided to walk down to ulsoor to have pani-puri. we entered the cut just next to the ulsoor police station, my friend just screamed and said – “don’t look towards your right”.. so i didn’t.. after a while i asked her y did she say tat?.. she said some guy was showing his penis so i saw thats y i warned you not to look towards your right… I was like at 5p.m…. just next to a police station??-like seriously?? – heights of guts these f***** beast have…

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Ashlesha

I have been a victim of street harassment many a times…one day while i was on my way back home around 7 in the evening a guy came out no where and started abusing me verbally.. He gave me a dirty look .. As i was alone ,i was helpless…I didnt know what to do.. I thought the best way to escape was to run from that place and reach a crowded area..i did that and saved myself for the moment….

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Jetaa’s story

Hi,
first of all,i am totally new here in Bangalore.so when i came for the first time here, i didn’t expect that will happen with me.just 3 or 4 months back,one of my cousin sister, took me to visit her brothers place in Shantinagar.while we were walking by the road an aged man(may be 50+) just came suddenly and pushed me.i thought it was crowded enough so it happened mistakenly.but while we were returning back from there that man again came from the opposite site,he saw me and came beside me and just pushed me intentionally and walked away just like nothing happened.i couldn’t tolerate that time so i shouted at him telling that”son of a bitch,can’t you see while walking? saala ,kamina” and all those.as i said that place was crowded,so everyone was staring at me and that man.so after that he didn’t look back and walked away.

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While walking back home

This happened couple of months ago. We were walking home from the Corporation bus stand and were just intently talking. Then, I looked over at my friend’s face; she was facing forward and was gasping. I got curious, and turned where she was facing, there stood a man in his late 30s, with his fly open, flashing at us. Not just that, he was touching himself and calling it “an ice-cream”. He was rambling” Do you like the ice-cream? Which flavor would you prefer?” We started freaking out and walked as fast as we could. He still wouldn’t quit, he kept tailing us till the end of the street and while still rambling what he was rambling earlier. But, as we reached near the signal, we realized that we could get some help and that strangely gave us some courage. We turned around and started shouting at him, on the top of our voices threatened to call the police. It was apparent that he wasn’t expecting this, as a result he got startled and started running away!!

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