It is very, very tough for women to remember accounts of when they were touched inappropriately; a ‘harmless’ hug that looks OK but makes them alone cringe.
I was 8, maybe 9. I was sleeping. My mom was supervising a recording session for her documentary. Felt a man in priestly robes feel up my privates and I woke up. Told her ‘that uncle is bad’. This was in the studio called Santhome Communications that still exists.
Maybe I was 10/11, December Music Festival, ‘respectable mama’ whose name I dont remember kept pinching my thigh throughout a concert.
I heard more gross stories of Sabha secretaries.
In retrospect, a lot of children weren’t safe around some adults.
To some men checking my shirt pocket to see if I had anything in them, thereby feeling my chest in my teens, having my first mobike accident that left my entire right arm scarred because of an eve teasing incident on Kilpauk bridge, a lot of us women learned to internalize
I was perhaps 19; again, veryyyyyy respected, wayy older man called me to his office on a pretext, my mom was with me, I was called in alone; we suspected nothing coz said man showed no such behaviour before,walked from behind his table, hugged me and felt me up.
I remember leaving one of my footwear behind, hurriedly saying ‘Bye Sir’ and running for my life, shaking all the while.
Told my mom - she said this is some elder men’s way to test to see if you are ‘that type of a girl’. It was how ‘elders’ behaved in their wisdom, apparently.
Mom and I drove home. ‘RespectedMan’ never repeated his behaviour but I’ll never forget feeling as if worms were crawling all over me; how I, a sane, ‘intelligent’ girl had dismissed that predatory behaviour for ‘Thats how it is’.
We internalize. But we cant forget.
A woman speaking up *and* naming the man has a consequence of slut shaming, ‘what did you do that he behaved like that?’, beingn discredited, being called unprofessional and also losing work/career.
A risk women cant take. And that has enabled the men.
No longer. #TimesUp
‘Respected Man’ once raged and raged when I refused to do his bidding in a professional setting due to a prior commitment. Threatened political trouble from ‘Higher ups’. I was shaking. Thought the end is near. It left me in tears.
But I did find my gut which had gone for a walk, picked up the phone, called his manager, clenched my teeth and told him to tell Respected Man to keep his politics to himself and keep me away from it.
I filed the first case ever that led to arrests (it is not an achievement) after online harassment and threats to disrupt concerts/public events for over 3 years. Mom and I begged them to leave me alone. But I faced more bile and hate from Twitter for the case.
Two popular women writers and activists said ‘A woman who sings Mayya Mayya cannot file case on harassment’. More men and other women cheered these women on. This was in support of men who said they ll throw acid on my face or that I need to be raped to be taught a lesson.
I asked again and again and again for support; 2, maybe 3 gentlemen spoke up; promptly hushed by the same men with questions like ‘Are you sleeping with her?’.
No one wants to go file a case and fight it in our overburdened courts if only society would do the right thing.
The backlash to my filing the case - ‘Chinmayi says fishermen can be killed because she is a vegetarian’ - a rumour that was shared again and again. The now outed predator Mahesh Murthy was an avid supporter to these harassers coz I had called out a false article by him then.
One of the successful ‘Youtube’ reviewers now - Prashanth offered to ‘support’ me and immediately launched into, ‘Dont worry sweetheart/darling I will
Support you.’ Made me cringe; I deleted the DMs & said ‘Dont call me sweetheart’.
He launched into a hate campaign right after.
He called me an oppressor to whatnot; things that people believed then. I was the sole voice against 100s of men raging that I had called out a man who threatened to rape me. An actor’s PRO’s wife posted that they are filing a case of ‘Oppression’ against me. 🤷🏻‍♀️
I’d rather not be called ‘Brave’. I’d rather NOT have to come face to face with predators. I’d rather NOT be harassed. But no. Those weren’t my choices to make, were they?
‘Why do YOU alone get into trouble’ is a question I have had to answer a lot of times. I speak up. Others are too scared to speak up. That’s all there is.
Women are told to not attract attention. Anything girls do is chided with ‘whose attention do you want?!’
Some men are bullies; they need to assault in a way to assert their manhood. Other men are forced to enable bullies / predators for fear of being called a wimp or a wuss.
They’d rather be silent.
When Mahesh Murthy got outed years after this incident I felt God was watching.
Medicine, education, law, art, religion, journalism.. Even family - not one arena where there aren’t predators.
#TimesUp for each one of them I hope.

As for the priest from Santhome Communications, I’m sure he is preaching religion somewhere to more kids and their parents.
Women *know* when a man touches them inappropriately. Hugging one man doesn’t mean it is an invitation. Wearing nail polish isnt an invitation.
And yes we also know #NoTAllMen
(Do NOT respond to this thread with ‘What about fake cases?’. No. Not now. Now, you just listen/read)

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More from @Chinmayi

Jul 16, 2018
Ok so I dont have an Aadhar.
I hear I am not allowed inside Tirupathi temple if I dont have one. So there is no way for non-Aadhar users?
Women are anyway discriminated against in temples and now Aadhaar 😂😂
The insistence on Aadhaar from various sources while wanting to book a ticket for certain categories is real. But, you can go with a passport.
They tell you to ‘get the Aadhaar next time’.
Took me a few days but it did happen. My mother filed her IT returns with her passport. She doesnt have Aadhaar either.
The systems generally make it difficult to function without the Aadhaar but it’s possible.
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