by Duriba Khan
Dropping a metal fork in the sink’s garbage disposal, while listening to Mickey Singh ft. DJ Downy Soap, parking in a handicapped spot, spilling chai all over your organic chemistry book because you had to reach for that last samosa, and wholeheartedly and excitedly waving to the Zayn Malik doppelganger in your class, who in reality was just waving to the another brown girl with shinier hair than you and constantly uses the word “ratchet,” are all honest mistakes.
However, getting stumbling drunk, grabbing, inappropriately touching, and hurting a woman walking past you at a train station in broad daylight, does not qualify as an honest or innocent mistake.
Pradnya Mandhare, 20, who is studying towards her Bachelor’s degree in mass media at Sathaye College in Vile Parle, was waiting at a train platform after a lecture around 2:30 p.m. in Mumbai, India, when she was approached by an intoxicated man, who aggressively began to grab at her body.
When she tried to avoid him, he grabbed her and she was shocked—but only for a short moment. After a couple of seconds, her inner Beyonce kicked in and she began hitting him with her bag, as 50 people —both men and woman—present at the Kandivli station did nothing but watch her slay the patriarchy and defy the stereotypical female reaction with open mouths.
“He was trying to hit me, but I could overpower him because he was stinking of alcohol and I could make out that he was drunk,” Mandhare said.
So, with a heart of gold and the confidence of Kareena Karpoor’s character Poo from “Kabhi Khusi Kabhi Gham,” Mandhare grabbed the molester by his hair and hauled him to the Government Railway Police (GRP) officials.
“Dragging him by the hair and walking was tough, because he was trying to escape and I was afraid he would attack me,” she said. “He kept telling me not to drag him along and that he would come with me on his own, but I did not let go. I finally managed to hand him over to the police.”
An officer from Borivli GRP reported that the accused, a 25-year-old drug addict named Chavan Chowdee was drunk at the time of the incident and will be held responsible for his actions and taken to court.
“Most women are scared of approaching the police as filing a complaint is a lengthy process,” Mandhare said. “It involves giving a lot of statements, and sometimes dealing with uncooperative officers. But, I was firm on taking that man to the police.”
In India, women constantly viewed as the inferior sex, even though, neither the Hindu religion nor Indian culture evidently declares this, it is a dogma and mentality that lurks the gullies and ravines of mainly uneducated, financially unstable or simply arrogant men and women alike, who agree that a woman’s place is in the kitchen.
Perhaps this broken mentality is why More Magazine reported that nearly one in three rape victims in India is under the age of 18, and one in 10 is under 14.
The harshest part of it all is that, often times, even the authorities do not comply with the needs of rape victims, and further victimize them and let their alleged rapists go free.
When filing a report for rape, molestation, or sexual abuse, victims are often ridiculed for being irresponsible. However, it is time we realize that women do not fall prey to sexual assault because they were heavily drinking or injecting drugs. Women do not get raped because they were not careful or considerate enough to the men around them. Actually, the only reason women get raped is because someone raped them.
“I am grateful that the police also helped me and arrested the accused,” Madhare said. “I also asked the police officers to teach the accused a lesson so that he would not dare to molest a woman ever again.”
And, after all, those purse beating and hair tugs, he will not dare to inappropriately touch a woman without her consent ever again. At least, if he knows what’s good for him.