Cases of women being sexually harassed in public transport aren't unheard of. But there is still a huge lack of information regarding the process that needs to be followed if one ends up in such a situation.
This Twitter user was molested in a Shatabdi and she has shared a detailed version of her ordeal so that women can know how to deal with unfortunate incidents like these. It's great people out there want to help and it's also extremely sad why we need to know this.
I was molested in a shatabdi and this is my thread on how to go about with the legal process @IndiaMeToo— 2am Philosopher 🏳️🌈 (@sokrafood) July 16, 2019
First of all, she points out the most important thing about who has the highest level authority in a train. She also adds how important it is to immediately react and let others around you know that such a thing has taken place. Witnesses are extremely vital to a scenario like this one.
Many people don't know that TT wields power in any train. In fact, more than a police officer. My co-passenger in a drunken stupor molested me in a full shatabdi. First thing you do, scream and shout and alert the people around you because they are potential witnesses.— 2am Philosopher 🏳️🌈 (@sokrafood) July 16, 2019
Even if they don't help out, they are aware something like this has happened. Inform the TT. In my case, the TT wasnt close. I asked the pantry person to inform the police or TT. The RPF came before than the TT. I told him what happened. They escorted the person outside the cabin— 2am Philosopher 🏳️🌈 (@sokrafood) July 16, 2019
Another thing that she calls of utmost importance is to write everything down.
I got down at the next station with the officials. Ladies! This is important!! I know this can be a harrowing experience but you need to clear your mind and write down everything on a piece of paper!! This will not only help you frame your statement but later acts as evidence— 2am Philosopher 🏳️🌈 (@sokrafood) July 16, 2019
She also points out that every railway station has a police station -- a very important piece of information.
Go to your nearest Thana/police station. Every train station has a police station. State clearly that you want to file an FIR. They will ask you to write a statement. Write the statement in front of the officials in case you have any issues, clear it then and there.— 2am Philosopher 🏳️🌈 (@sokrafood) July 16, 2019
Under no circumstances, should you leave the police station without filing an FIR.
Time is of essence in these cases. DO NOT LEAVE THE STATION WITHOUT FILING AN FIR. If they say we will file it, stay till they file it. I stayed for 3 hours at the police station because they were taking time to file it. But DO NOT GIVE UP. they have to file an FIR— 2am Philosopher 🏳️🌈 (@sokrafood) July 16, 2019
In such cases in our country, we can face unfortunate officials who are capable of refusing to file an FIR. In case, something of the sort happens, do not panic.
In case they refuse to file an FIR, you can call up the police control room at 100 or the women's helpline services and file a ZERO FIR. The control room will guide you on the same. Take copies of your statement, even if it's photograph. Ask the police to give you a receiving— 2am Philosopher 🏳️🌈 (@sokrafood) July 16, 2019
You could be asked to drop the charges but do not lose your ground.
They cited reasons of how I should think of the family and kids of the molester. I was adamant. I received a copy of my FIR. I was not withdrawing. I submitted my train ticket as evidence. You will have to repeat the story in front of different officials but don't give in!!— 2am Philosopher 🏳️🌈 (@sokrafood) July 16, 2019
She also mentions how your loved ones should be kept in the loop at all times.
Ensure you tell your family or friends or people you trust after the incident so that they may also be your witness. They will be called and asked what you said to them and what happened. So it is important you inform anyone who is a friend or family— 2am Philosopher 🏳️🌈 (@sokrafood) July 16, 2019
She also clears out all myths and misconceptions regarding the legal process because that is when most people back out from taking action.
Now, here is where I break a couple of myths. People are hesitant on filing FIR because baar baar court aana padta hai. I'll tell you how it happens. The moment it is a criminal case, you are a witness. You do not need advocates because the state prosecutor will be fighting it— 2am Philosopher 🏳️🌈 (@sokrafood) July 16, 2019
She adds how the opposing counsel will try to 'settle' but you have the power to say no.
On the date, ensure you carry your summons. It will mention in whose courtroom your case will be heard. There will be cops and judicial staff who will help you out. The defense counsel will try and 'settle' the issue. I clearly stated I want a court order and I'm not settling— 2am Philosopher 🏳️🌈 (@sokrafood) July 16, 2019
She also explains the legal process once the case goes to court.
The prosecution will examine you first and then the defense lawyers will cross-examine you. They will try and find loopholes in your story or they will try and find differences between the police complaint you gave and the statement you are giving at the moment— 2am Philosopher 🏳️🌈 (@sokrafood) July 16, 2019
And goes back to the moment when she mentioned why it was important to document everything in writing.
Hence it is important that you stick to the statement and why writing everything you remember is important because 7months down the line, you won't remember everything as clearly as you do during that moment and that's why take pics of the statement so that you know what u said— 2am Philosopher 🏳️🌈 (@sokrafood) July 16, 2019
Honestly, this was way more helpful than any other piece of advice that gets thrown our way every now and then. Women should know their rights and never hesitate to take charge of their own situations.