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Victim starts e-war against sexual abuse


Veena, an MBA student who was attacked by two youths near Majestic last Thursday, has launched an online campaign to cajole people to shed their indifference to sexual harassment


Sameer Ranjan Bakshi
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Posted On Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 01:01:12 AM

Veena, an MBA student, and her sister were attacked by two men in a car on a busy road in the city in broad daylight. More than the verbal and physical abuse that Veena suffered, it was the apathy of scores of onlookers that traumatised her. Veena and her husband Raghavendra, a techie with Hewlett Packard, have since launched a campaign against sexual harassment and the general apathy that breeds it.
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Veena and her husband Raghavendra’s campaign can be found on a Facebook page titled ‘It’s not common anymore’

To begin with, the couple are focussing on college students and IT professionals through an email campaign aptly titled ‘It’s not common anymore’. They have also launched a campaign on social networking sites such as Facebook and Orkut. Their campaign has already found a large following.

“Our aim is to ensure that ruthless behaviour by some men be questioned, stopped and eradicated from our society,” Veena told Bangalore Mirror. “Can’t women, or any individual for that matter, enjoy a peaceful walk in the streets of our city? After being attacked by those two men, I was told by passersby that is was a common occurrence. I think it should not be common anymore,” she added.

Last Thursday, Veena and her sister were injured and humiliated when Madhu, a street hawker, and Girish, the son of a constable, stopped their car in front of them, spewed vile language and then began assaulting them, all in full public view. “The two of us were attempting to cross a road in the busy Majestic area when a car pulled up in front of us and barred our way. The driver of the car told me to undress and get into the car. I just said ‘hey hello’ and attempted to move away. But then, he and another youth from the car got down and began slapping the two of us,” Veena recalled.

Refusing to be cowed down, Veena shouted for help. A huge crowd gathered but none of them came to their aid. But fortunately for them the traffic began to pile up and a couple of police constables came to the spot. “At first the policemen took no notice, but when the two attempted to drive away, we blocked their path by standing in front of the vehicle. Only then the policemen came to our help,” Veena said. The two abandoned the car and ran away, but the girls lodged a complaint with Upparpet police and the culprits were soon nabbed through the vehicle registration details.

Mental scars
As for Veena and her sister, Thursday’s incident has left deep mental scars. But they are finding a lot of support too.
Professor Sumitra, who teaches Veena, said: “Nowadays women work 24/7 at par with men. Today it happened with Veena and tomorrow it may happen to me or my daughter. The culprits get away with it all the time. People who perpetrate such acts should be punished severely,” she said.

Spreading chain mail
A colleague of Sumitra, Professor Hemanth, has also joined the campaign. Not unusually, the two men who attacked Veena got bail immediately.

But Prof Hemanth is optimistic. “I have about 700 students studying under me. I will spread the chain mail to all of them and ensure the matter is kept alive. This way it will help the law take its course,” he said.

A common affair

“I used to stay at Malleswaram 7th Cross and some boys used to drop their pants and masturbate in front of me every time I walked by alone. The street lighting was never good and some of them used to grope my behind when they passed by on their bikes”
– Rohini, 24, post graduate student

“It’s very common for guys to follow us when we are riding back alone from college or from shopping. I have been frequently followed by men. They blare their horns and sometime block the way.”
– Ankita, 23, student of M P Birla Institute of Management

“Sometimes even auto drivers indulge in such acts, especially when the girl is alone. It’s scary.”
– Parneeta, 23, also a post graduate student

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