The earliest I remember being molested is when I was about 9 years old.
I was in a shop looking at some stationery, when an old man wandered past and pinched my (barely existent) nipples very hard. The memory is vivid because it was unpleasant, and not because I realised what was happening. It happened a few times, before I gathered the sense to walk away from him,and go find my mother. At that point, I did not even register what had happened. That came a few years later, a eureka moment of sorts.
The most upsetting time I was molested was when I was about 14.
I was in one of the new malls in the city, and in some awe of the surroundings. A man who walked past me reached out and squeezed my breasts. It took me completely by surprise. The breathtaking nonchalance of the act really really angered me. I remember wondering if the skirt I was wearing had anything to do with it. I also remember being upset that the glitz of the mall had offered no protection against men ‘like that’.
The first time I ever confronted my molester was when I was 19.
This happened in Delhi. It was the first time I visited the city. I was attending a college festival, and was walking with a friend in a crowd when a hand casually groped my butt. It was casual enough that I’d convinced myself that it was probably an accident. The next second my friend turned to me teary eyed, and pointed to a man who she said had touched her ‘down there’.
Something came over me in that moment. It was anger and also a sense of chivalry, of wanting to ‘protect’ the friend I was with. I turned around ,ran up to him and shook him by the shoulders, demanding an apology. He was completely drunk. Another man tried to separate us. He only smirked in response. I then slapped him. I had to jump a little to do this, he was much taller. A little crowd had gathered by then, and people clapped. We went our separate ways.
The scariest time I was molested was when I was about 22.
I and a friend were at a market, in a city in Karnataka, when we noticed a group of 5-6 boys/men following us from shop to shop. We didn’t think much of it, till we went to her scooter that parked by the side of the road. They surrounded us at that point, making leery comments. The scooter wouldn’t start for some reason, and we panicked, wondering if they had done something to damage it.
There was a traffic constable on the other side of the road, and I shouted to him in Kannada to come help us. He first pretended not to notice, but when I began to cross the road to get to him, he yelled back a comment of his own. Blamed us girls for being out in the market at 9.30 pm in the night.My friend had managed to start her scooter by then, and she maneuvered it towards me. I hopped on.
When I turned around, the men were still following us on their bikes. Luckily, one traffic signal put enough distance between us and them that when we finally reached our hostel, there was nobody behind us.