As a woman residing in the ‘rape capital’ of India, I’d like to believe that now since women are not trying to reclaim public spaces amidst the lockdown, we’d be safe from random strangers trying to grope, tease or harass us.

The Guardian

Turns out, I was wrong. A 28-year-old woman in New Delhi was molested by a local vegetable vendor who was delivering veggies to her doorstep. 

What’s Hot (Representational Image)

It was just another day for Soha (name changed) who was collecting her groceries from the local vendor. Considering the scorching heat and the flight of stairs to reach the fifth floor, Soha generously offered water to the vendor.  

Typsy (Representational Image)

Mistaking her kindness for an ‘invitation’, the vegetable vendor said, ‘kal dekha maine’. When she asked him to clarify what he was talking about, he reached out for her breast and ruthlessly grabbed them.  

NNE (Representational Image)

For a couple of seconds, was in a state of shock, trying to register what just happened to her in a safe place that she calls ‘home’. She opened up about her jolting trauma:

I didn’t slap him. I didn’t scream. My initial reaction was just shock. I stood there and asked him, ‘kyu chua mujhe?‘. 

As someone who had faced molestation as a child, Soha was on the verge of spiraling. But she mustered up the courage to take a stand and fight back. In a conversation with ScoopWhoop, she reveals: 

Sadly I’ve been through this as a child and at that time I couldn’t fight back for many reasons, and now I’m 28 and this man did this in my own home. So no I’m not traumatized. At first I was also feeling guilty.

She screamed for her sisters after a couple of minutes but the vegetable vendor ran away as soon as she did so. But Soha decided to confront him in front of the colony security guard to ensure that this predator didn’t step foot in her locality again. 

Initially, he refused to admit that he did anything wrong and started blaming Soha for offering him water.  It was only when Soha publically spoke up against his actions in front of a few colony residents that he apologised. 

When the head of Soha’s colony asked the vegetable vendor why he did what he did, with zero remorse or guilt on his face, he said: 

Last time when I was delivering, she was wearing a short dress and I thought she was inviting me. 
Daily Mail (Representational Image)

With his response, we got an insight into his sickening mindset which is a rotten fruit of patriarchy’s conditioning. Soha further opened up about her traumatic experience: 

This didn’t happen in a bus or a crowded place. It happened in my home. This man thought that he could grab my breast and get away with it , with a simple ‘boy will be boys’ excuse. 

Along with her sisters, Soha did file an FIR but for some reason, the police chose to indulge in victim shaming her by asking her what she was wearing during the incident. 

With her decision to speak up, Soha has inspired many women who have been in similar situations to open up about their experiences.

While the entire nation is fretting over the deadly virus, women still have to think twice about their safety, even when they’re in the ‘comfort’ of their own homes. It makes me question which is the more deadly virus that’s spoiling us rotten —  patriarchy or Corona.