On Saturday, a 23-year-old television anchor displayed grit and courage after she fought off a stalker on the streets of Madhya Pradesh.
But the irony is that when she sought help from those around her, all a group of bystanders did was look on, without coming to her aid.
Speaking to The Times of India, the TV anchor recalled how she left her office in Misrod on Saturday. It was at that time that she spotted two men aimlessly hanging around the elevator. She felt discomfort and decided to wait until more people joined her. Once there was a group, she got into the lift.
When she started walking towards the parking lot, she realised that the men were following her. As they moved closer, a stench of alcohol from them made it clear that they were drunk.
She waited for another ten minutes before getting on to her scooter just to check if the men were still following her every move. As soon as she got on to the vehicle, the men got on to their vehicles.
She sped for about two kilometres, trying to escape the stalkers as they tried to obstruct her between their motorbikes. While one was driving ahead of her, the other one was exactly behind.
Without wasting any time, she took a sharp turn and stopped at a pan shop. While the one riding ahead of her was not to be seen, the one behind her stopped.
“It was the last place where there were people around. The road was dark and deserted. He pulled up right next to me and started glaring at me, giving me looks that said he would rape me,” she claimed.
Her rage superseded any other emotion she felt as she yelled at him loudly to gain the attention of the crowd. She asked him why he was following her.
To this, the man sneered and said he’d do whatever he wanted. Aggravated by his response, she tried to grab his scooter keys and throw them away to stop him from following her. But the man grabbed her hand.
“I shouted for help. But the people around just looked on. I was boiling with rage and slapped him hard in the face. He was drunk and couldn’t retaliate as I had hit him eight to ten times. I hit him with a petrol bottle he was carrying,” she told TOI.
She even managed to take a video of him and his vehicle and quickly dialled the Women’s helpline number.
The police were quick to respond. But the man fled. She has now filed an FIR against the stalker as she had recorded the video and his vehicle number. The cops have assured her that they are on the run for him and will catch hold of him at the earliest.
“Had I not clobbered him, he would have done the same to some other girl the very next day. Being a journalist, I learn about such cases every day, and I was vigilant. Had it been an inattentive girl, she would probably have been raped. Because no one bothered to help me. Had I not been vigilant, police would have registered one more rape case on Sunday morning, instead of molestation,” she told the publication.
She appealed to other women to be alert about their safety at all times and have a helpline number on speed dial always.
And while the journo’s move to fight against the stalker is commendable, it is indeed unfortunate that the general public failed to live up to their moral and civic responsibility. We hope this story encourages women to be alert about their surroundings and also motivates people to help those stranded in situations like these, rather than watch from the periphery.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)