No matter how much we have progressed it’s a sad reality that girls and women witness sexual harassment on a daily basis. From eve-teasing to stalking and even rape and murder, hundreds of incidents regularly take place that makes us question women safety in this country. The law enforcement forces have adopted many measures and SOS alert apps, and free helpline are quite essential in this process. But do these helplines work and actually provide the necessary help on time if a distress call is made?
A girl from Mumbai has shared her harrowing experience online of calling on one such helpline number in the time of distress. 22-year-old student Pooja Nair was travelling by Mumbai Local one afternoon when she faced a rather humiliating situation. Travelling in the ladies compartment with a friend she noticed a man was waving at a co-passenger from the next compartment through the rods, that separates the coaches.
She mistakenly looked up from her phone and made eye contact with the man, and heard him yelling abuses at her. She was not scared and decided to keep staring at him in hope that he would stop glaring and abusing. But the man was not deterred, in fact, he crossed the line by opening his pant’s zip, pulled out his penis and started masturbating looking at her. “Meanwhile, he puts his hand down, whips out his penis and grins at me, he starts masturbating,” she wrote in her post.
She asked help from a fellow passenger to call the women helpline to report the incident, but what happened next left her in dismay. “I told the person on the line all the details. The train was just approaching Kandivli. Which compartment, what time. All of it. Then I told him that this person had also called us what he did. And then the person on the helpline laughed.”
She was stunned at the person on the helpline could laugh at the occurrence and when asked for help, he disconnected the call.
According to her post, the man who was masturbating got down at the next station and even threatened her that he would rape her. He even tried to board onto the ladies compartment but other women in the coach yelled, so he backed off.
Her post has gained a lot of attention online and many have questioned what was the need for such helpline if they did not understand the severity of such incidents. Many also shared their own experiences. Here’s what other Facebook users had to say:
As the post went viral, the Western Railway now has promised to look into the matter. Deputy Commissioner of Police Purushottam Karad told the Times of India, “We have to check which helpline the woman commuter made the call to. There are two helpline numbers — one is railway police and the other is Railway Protection Force (RPF). We will talk to the woman.”