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Megha Dadarwal
26 May 2017 . 1 min read

How To Deal With Inappropriate Touching In Public


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I came across this question on quora recently which got me thinking if we really know how to deal with inappropriate touch in public places.

If I ask around, there'd be two advices. To avoid public transport or to ignore whatever happened.

When I asked myself, I couldn't immediately come up with an answer. Probably because I don't know the right drill. Most of us don't!

What we've been taught is- ‘ to IGNORE’. Which I agree would actually be a smarter thing to do in most situations. But what about times when you're stuck and ignoring just doesn't do it. What about situations where ignoring only encourages it? We need a better solution to it after all.

Everybody reading would agree to having at least one such experience. We have all experienced it. Yet we refuse to treat it like a real problem. The fact that it is a problem so common that hundreds of women face everyday. The fact that we resolve to ignoring or using personal modes of transport rather than facing it says a lot about how we've accepted this state of affairs. Many feel scared and ashamed to even call or help or publicly tell that they were groped.

There's no platform better than public transport and crowded places for perverts to make a cheap move or inappropriately touch you. Mostly by brushing against you, groping or grabbing you or intentionally and repeatedly making unwanted physical contact. Many women become a victim of groping by perverts. Most of these cases are ignored and go unreported or unresponded to which is exactly what encourages them.

(Also Read - Acts & Tips To Be Safe From Workplace Sexual Harassment)

If it does happen, you should be equipped with how to deal with the situation. Here's how-

Stop feeling ashamed and speak up

Firstly, there's no shame in admitting that someone misbehaved with you. Have the courage to stop anyone trying to have his way with you. Public transport isn't meant for men alone and you have rights equal as them to use these facilities. There's no way to stop things unless you don't raise your voice against it.

Don't be afraid to call for help or to complain. Raise your voice and be firm.

If need be, there's no harm in calling out for attention towards yourself. Let everyone know and shame the person who tried invading your personal space. This would embarrasses him and make him step back immediately. In addition to that have no hesitation in complaining to the concerned authorities.

Carry a safety pin

A traditional advice by women travelling in public transport is to carry a safety pin. You carry the pin around and whenever a man touches you or rubs against you, quietly poke him with the pin. He will jump back immediately. And if he tries to accuse you, just pretend you don't know anything. In most cases, he will know why he got poked. It's a safety pin afterall.

Don't hesitate to reciprocate

Don't be afraid to hit back if needed. Use your elbows to hit back hard if anybody tried to grope you in crowded places. Nobody should get away with touching you without your consent. If somebody has the guts to grope you then you very well can reciprocate and hit them back. Just keep in mind your reaction has to be in proportion to to the action.

Pepper spray

Needless to say, a pepper spray is a must while travelling alone. You can easily buy one from amazon.

Ignore

In cases where you don't find it worthy of your energy, ignoring might not be a bad idea. A comment or a failed attempt at something can be ignored so long you're sure of it not happening again.

Prevention better than cure

Avoid extremely crowded spaces and public transport whenever possible. Try to take the female’s compartment in the metro or locals.

(Read more - Here's How You Can Stay Alert When It Comes To Online Sexual Harassment)

Be aware of your surroundings and cautious about the people around. Avoid falling asleep while travelling. Avoid being on the phone of using earphones when in such places. When travelling by cabs, send cab details to your close ones. Use GPS to confirm the route while in an unknown city.

Most importantly, inform the authorities and TAKE AN ACTION whenever you feel the need. We are an equally important part of the society and escaping is only a temporary resort. Refuse to accept the state of things. Any unwelcome physical contact is punishable by law and one person punished would discourage the others from such a behaviour. Let's claim what's ours and work towards a safer environment for us.

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Megha Dadarwal
22, Dentist, passionate yogi who loves dogs and beaches.

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Responses

  • Anonymous
    I agree atleast this can be easily done in Public, but just a thought how many times I do that as I commute daily an hour in metro. This is everyday scene.
  • V*****
    What to do?Do we have time for this question,,Act ....then and their,Shout ,Scream break his nose and...............Wake u,we all need to wake up