September 04, 2012

I WAS MOLESTED, and the onlookers stared & laughed: Ritika Popli

I don’t wish to start this piece by giving it a philosophical angle or by taking a moral side, but I have to write about this not for the greater good of any community or ‘society’ but to justify my being to myself. Yesterday, at around 7:30 in the evening I was coming back from college and I took a detour from my usual route and boarded the Blue line of the Delhi metro from Rajiv Chowk. Being used to this chaos everyday, I was warned by my companion that we should board the ‘Ladies’ compartment and not the ‘General’ compartment. My only sensible argument was that firstly it is a ‘general’ compartment and not demarcated for Men so we should board it and secondly that they are also beings and not ‘animals’. I was just about to regret my thoughts a few minutes later.

I had to get off only a few stations after that so it didn’t seem that this decision was going to cost me heavily. Being surrounded by 50 to 60 heavily sweating men seemed like a nightmare enough to take for one evening, but this was just the beginning. Through those 10 minutes that I was present there every part of my body was scanned in minute detail which made me feel like my sex was a curse with which I was born. Not once did anybody even look at my face but only parts that supposedly excites them. The ordeal had just started.

My station arrived and I pushed my way to make it to the door before it could close and during this struggle my top was pulled by a man to expose my breast for good 15 seconds while at the same time somebody grabbed my behind. Trying to keep my stuff together I somehow reached the metro door and got onto the platform. I got onto the platform and screamed my lungs out at those 5 to 6 men who were standing at the door. I hurled abuses at them which ideally no sensible Indian girl should utter even in thoughts, let alone whisper.

The reaction of those men is what has made the experience traumatic for me – they simply stared at me and LAUGHED. They continued laughing and my anger continued to rise. I always believed that if ever faced with such a situation in my life I would beat the daylights out of those people, but I could only stare at them and I was dumbfounded. My hurling abuses seemed like an impetus for them to laugh harder.

I am not playing victim here and not trying to grab eyeballs. No that is not my intent because all I want to know is that how come out of that entire compartment not one man came forward to do something about it. They could have stopped the metro immediately, called up 1091 or simply stepped out of the metro to support me. Does the status of being anonymous in a crowd fueled with this pathetic group mentality give them the freedom to do anything? Why blame the patriarchal setup when the women present there looked at me as if I was at fault for being a girl. Nobody present on that busy platform came forward to do anything.

If the frustration level of men in Delhi is so high then they can go to places where sexual services are available for a certain amount of money but MY BODY IS MY OWN and I do not give anybody the right to touch it. This article is not about me; it’s about the psychological scars that I’ll have to live with for life. It’s about how incidents like this happen everyday and they are not even talked about because of the fear of being caught in something bigger and unwanted. It’s about how after going through all of this, I for sometime, blamed all of this on myself. I don’t know if this will help things or not but for writing this I had to relive everything and now I have lost faith in a lot of things.

Written By : Ritika Popli 
Source : Youth Ki Awaz

Copyright © 2012 - ScrutinyByKHimaanshu


kanu..... said...

hmm its a big problem...and all the girls are facing the same....

Anonymous said...

Every where its torture for all the females...the best solution is to stick blade's tiny tin under ur nails as these creep try to be near u ATTACK with ur power nails

Anil Kumar Gupta said...

Dear Sister Ritika

I can understand your issue, which is not only yours. We find India as one of the most cultured and civilized nation but in reality picture is entirely different.

I know many of the girls are silent for the treatment they are getting it in such crowded or lonely places. I appreciate that you shown the courage to put it forward through this blog.

For this issue not to happen with others and with you again, I think we need to do a lot of things. Each girls should be more cautious in dealing with such uncivilized / animals in the society.

Today some of the girls has declined the character values like Poonam Pandey that even degraded the respect for female. Our culture which says except your wife, every other females must be considered as either mother or sister; while what hapening is opposite of that. Today man is considering every women as wife other than his mother and sister. The pseudo women right activists are not raising any concern on this. In fact none of the organization can be considered which is really working for women welfare; everybody is talking about the women right but not about duties of man or women and hence we find girls like poonam pandey, Sharlin Chopra etc etc.

Another thing we need to do is "Public punishment". Govt must consider that even if a slap in presence of their known people will de-grace the offender. The Arab countries are doing the same and hence nobody is daring to even see towards any other women.

There are lot of things which we can do and can be discussed but due to time limitation, I am stopping it here.

Anonymous said...

Ritika im so sorry u had to go throught this
and i just wanted to tell you that it doesnt happen only in India , in my home country it happens too but not in stations it happens in markets mostly

I wish u could forget everything but the truth is that it will make u stronger
Anil kumar im sorry but i dont agree with you if poonam pandey is like this doesnt mean that others girls are the same :/ we all r different and men should understand that they rnt even men they r animals

Well im back to the topic i know it's a schok and u'll always remember it but with time Im sure it won't remain the same it'll remain a bad moment

U should b proud to have got the strenght to publish this here cause writing is often one of the way to feel better

and never feel curse to be a woman nowdays most of the women are doing great it's a matter of time and in India
too women will stand up fr themselve

Siham :)

Anonymous said...

It is utmost sad that even in a regime of educational awareness and social promotion programs like Satyamev Jayate, these unlawful events are still happening.

But actually, what we can expect in such a country where social issues take back bench due to political atmosphere.

I wonder if this would have been happened with Sonial Gandhi or some other political women leader, what would have consequences. The guyz would have punished with death sentence without any trial.

But since it happened with you, a common citizen, Nobody cares. We can crib or discuss about it, show sympathy et all but the fact is No one will come out of the crowd to support you because we are free just for name, the truth is we still are slaves and Nobody cares for Slaves.

I don't feel sorry for you but feel sorry for this nation which is losing its cultural values rapidly giving way to crimes and social dilemma.

Aabid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aabid said...

Very Shameful. you should fight back strongly to reduce the after-effects of such incident.

Satish Batra said...

Hi Ritika,
I am born and brought up in Delhi and have seen the decline in moral values all through last 50 years.

Unfortunately whatever culture was there has been destroyed by the endless influx of people from neighboring states.

Probably you were out to prove something which was bound to fail and has failed.

I have grown-up daughters probably of your age, we keep on fighting (my wife is more vocal) about dressing sense and ensure it prevails. Probably all these years in the city have made us more aware of cruel naked realities which the newer generation is learning. Trust me, life is so very different from what we see on Cinema. Adventure do turn to misadventure.

Society has not accepted fair gender as equal is clear from the fact that we have to make arrangements for Ladies Coaches, Ladies Seats, Ladies Quota and so on. You keep this unguarded and you will find all these occupied by men. Kolkata was one good place back in 80s but unfortunately it is also struggling. Delhi was never a decent place for a girl to live in. She is unsafe even when she is with her parents. Any argument and the life of her brother, father is in danger.

Question is what to do. Certainly it need change and youth is the hope of change. Start it at School and University level. Make your friends realize that time has come to protest and give befitting treatment publicly to the offenders. Assam is the example where posters were there everywhere for general public to see the faces. Even if not punished, humiliation is enough to even think of it again. Facebook and Twitter should be used more for this rather than spreading stupid status updates.

Had you shown the courage, the offender's pic was there on CCTV installed inside every train. Even now, DMRC can provide the same if you know the train timings and station name. Media picking up stories randomly like this have greater responsibility and must contribute towards social awareness.

Hope, one day, these things would be a thing of past and people will see others as humans rather than as flesh and meat.

Anand Mishra said...

we on facebook continuously facing reports like these from entire nation. it seems that many indian men are being controlled by lust and always forced by their subconscious to molest, mistreat and ravish a female- any age or place.
it is more shocking that original post is removed from youth ki awaz blog. i got this article on bhaskar but blog was removed.
thanks to owner of this blog to repost the article.

VIKRAM JHA said...

I don't know how should i start after reading this cruel incident.I have been to metros in south india for most of my education and related to my work but one can find those cities far more safer than delhi.
My one line advice to you that please learn some martial arts.I know it will be tough but at least you will be able to give befitting reply to those bastards who are animals and keep creating such scenes.So the next time you see any wrongdoings in public or wherever,kick them hard.
Your act may encourage other women/girls to do the same.
It is much better than going to police stations as we all know how they handle these cases.
And just because of this,never ever feel guilty because you are a woman.
Always feel that you are best in the world(at least you showed the courage to speak up unlike many) and these things can't dampen your spirit to live your life to fullest.
You can lose faith in others but never ever lose faith in yours,never ever do that.

Anonymous said...

धटना शर्मनाक है लेकिन इसके लिए लड़की भी कम दोषी नही है क्या ज़रूरत है ऐसे कपड़े पहनने की जो आसानी से हटाए जा सकते तो सड़क पर पार्टी बीयर कपड़े ठीक नही ..लड़की को पुलिस कांपलेंट करनी चाहिए...

Anonymous said...

hello mr. Anonymous 10.18 am listen to this........SHUT THE FUCK UP....first u cant tell girls wat to wear n second this proves u r also one of d same horny animals as those wid the ritika case.n ritika it wud do a lot gud for u n other gals too if u get d cctv camera footage frm dmrc n publish those assholes' pics ovr d internet n media

Anonymous said...

Dear Ritika,

I appreciate your courage to write your experience.

I am concerned about safety of my friends and family members.So, please do not see my views as preaching but just suggestions from a well-wisher.

We cannot change general perception of society overnight. But, a little precaution can avoid such gruesome incidence.

I would suggest while traveling in general compartment of Metro, better be at the gate - between the gate and seat that has space just for one person. It would help you getting out of the coach easily. Secondly, buy Pepper Spray. I believe you could get it in Delhi nowadays. And most importantly, spare a little time to learn some basic self-defense techniques. I think the Delhi police could help you.

If, God forbid, anything this like happens in future you could teach the persons a lesson he would remember forever.

Unknown said...

why don't you go for complaint against that crowd, as there is always a cctv recording. that crowd or person can easily be identified. but before that think that is it ok to point out against all the male that all men are like that. why don't you appose at that moment. now you are showing guts to discuss your incident on the social blog. there is no bravery to discuss the incident. be strong and go for a complaint.

nitin khatri said...


i salute your courage,hats off!

i request you to file an fir in this regard or atleast lodge a complaint for the same.
you should also try and seek help from the metro officials or the available ground staff,
just take someone from the "women's help cell" along with you and ask for the recorded video footage of that day (on wich the incident took place,the metro station where it all happened,the timings and every other relevant details)
i think this might help you to catch hold of the "culprits" somehw,
ask the metro officials for the cctv's footages of that day.

i hope that you get the best of the help from all the concerned authorities.
god bless you!

Jueeli said...

really nice :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Popli, I don't feel that you have acted with courage except in abusing the culprits and to write the blog. You do not seem to be a wise girl. Firstly, why at all you decided to board an extremely crowded general compartment that too against the wishes of your companion. No doubt, females have a right to travel by general compartments. But was it not advisable to travel by reserved compartment at that time of rush. The logic that the journey was just 10 to 15 minutes is not comprehensible. Secondly, any of you two could have pulled the chain of the metro train. Thirdly, from your description, it seems that you were wearing cloths which were unsafe to travel in such a rush. Fourthly, you should have told about the incident to your parents the same evening. I am sure, putting myself in the position of your father, instead of writing on the blog, your family would have lodged the F.I.R. with Police the same or at the most the next day. You should have told this unfortunate ordeal to the Police. Perhaps, they could have done something better then all of us who are just feeling bad, very very bad.

Anonymous said...

Hello! Mr/Mrs/Ms Anonymous. 4.32 pm You listen.
I am not Mr. I am a a girl like Ritika.
Do you live in India? If yes, you are no less than a duffer.

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