Yesterday, I was returning home from the office, around 10:00 p.m. I found a share-auto waiting so I hurried and boarded it. I hurried because share-autos do not show up after 10:00 p.m. This one was probably the last for the day. Missing it would mean walking all the way to home, covering a distance of more than 2 km or hiring a private auto and ending up paying exorbitant charges. Four out of the five passengers in the share-auto were men. The other passenger was a girl, a college student, probably. I was the sixth. The
moment I boarded, she stepped out of the auto. She hired a private auto instead. A share-auto would start only when it had a minimum of six passengers and because the girl had stepped out, we had to wait.
The other passengers felt that the girl had over-reacted. “What was so wrong with being seated with men? Doesn’t she have brothers?”, some of them asked. Initially I too thought that it was too rude on her part to have stepped out. But, come to think of it, we were six men, including the driver. She had every reason to not to feel safe. It has been only months since the brutal Delhi gang rape. Mind you, it happened while she was accompanied by a male friend. In this case, this girl was alone. A lot of things must have gone through her head – What if anything untoward happens during the journey? What if the other passengers turn out to be rapists? They may not look like rapists but you never know. Was she strong enough to fight back if such a thing happened? (God forbid such a thing happening to any other girl)
Even if it happened, this society will only blame the girl.
What was she doing at that hour of the night?
Where did she come from?
Where was she going?
What kind of a dress was she wearing?
Why did she get into the auto in spite of knowing that all the other passengers were men?
And lastly it will say – She was asking for it!
We, men, ask girls to see us as brothers, fathers etc. but we often forget that even blood relations have been the culprits in a number of cases. It sounds scary but it is the truth. This being the case, how on earth can we expect a girl to trust a stranger like you or me? She has every reason not to trust us and we will have to live with it.