It seems that we haven’t learnt anything from the Bengaluru mass molestations. After several protests and blog posts and men ranting about the fact that not all men are like that, another case of sexual harassment has come out of Odisha’s capital city Bhubaneswar. The news came to light after Bhaishali Bishwal, a dance teacher, and her friends were harassed by a group of men on bikes. When some of Bishwal’s male friends tried to interject, they were beaten up. Her post, dated Jan 6, has been shared over 2,000 times, and Bishwal added that the police didn’t take any action against the accused, but harassed the women for ‘being with boys.’
Bishwal said that on January 6, while she and her friends were walking on Bhubaneswar’s Nandankanan Road, a man made obscene gestures at them. Bishwal took a video of the accused, and a photograph of his accomplices. “Our friend Sarthak Priyadarshan asked the men to stop doing that and we went our way, but the men continued to follow us and continued acting badly,” she said.
Bishwal and her friends then called the nearest police control room, which she says was two minutes away from where they were being harassed. “They called some more of their friends and when I began recording their behaviour, they threatened me with consequences,” she added.
Priyadarshan then tried to intervene, but got beaten up. Another of Bishwal’s friend, Samata’s phone was broken and she was slapped by the men. “When we tried to stop, we were attacked as well,” added Bishwal.
What irked Bishwal the most was that despite a crowd of over 30 people gathering, nobody did anything to come to their aid. “The police came 40 minutes later and when we asked them why they took so long, one of the officers said that they had to fill their vehicle with petrol and asked us to go and question the government for this,” wrote Bishwal in her post.
Bishwal alleged that instead of arresting the group of men, the cops questioned Bishwal why they were with boys and the relationship between her and Priyadarshan. “The cops questioned our integrity, which was uncalled for.
Nobody took our case seriously and nobody did anything until our parents arrived. I felt like one of the girls in the movie Pink and had tears in my eyes. One of the onlookers even questioned why we were out at this hour,” she said.
In her post, Bishwal also advised women to learn self-defence and stand for themselves. “We are no less than any man, just believe in yourselves,” she said.