Personal Essays My Burqa Didn’t Stop Them From Sexually Violating Me

My Burqa Didn’t Stop Them From Sexually Violating Me

Do people still think that sexual harassment cannot happen when a woman covers herself in a burqa?

This story is part of the 16 Days Of Activism campaign against sexual harassment. People are invited to share their experiences and shift the onus from the survivor to the perpetrator. To know more and take part in the campaign click here.

Year: 2004

Time: 3.00 pm – 5.00 pm


Hello. I am a 30 something guy. I am an opportunistic sexual offender. This means I sexually harass women when I get the opportunity to do so and, get away with it. Let me tell you one incident from my collection.

The APSRTC bus was crowded as usual that day. Many college girls get on the bus at the Narayanguda bus stand for the 30-40 minutes journey to Afzalgunj. I was standing next to a seat in which two girls were sitting and the crowd pushed me towards it. I blessed my luck. I could touch her, now. My thighs touched the girl’s arm. This aroused me. Now, when the bus moved I moved myself against her thigh. Slowly, I shifted myself to place my penis against her shoulder that was getting hard inside my pants. I let it rise on her shoulder. I rubbed it up and down on her arm. I enjoyed a lot that day. The girl couldn’t move anywhere thanks to the crowded bus. I pleasured myself on her arm for a good 20 minutes, all the way from Koti to Afzalgunj.

The crowd thinned near Afzalgunj. She got up and ran towards the exit. I was still holding my penis over my pants. I was close to climaxing. She turned and looked at me before getting down and I gave her an inviting smile. She didn’t react and left. What a bitch! It was all her fault to be sitting in a crowded bus.

Me: This was my first sexual harassment incident. I was 16 and still in the process of understanding my sexuality. The reality of sexual violation was alien to me. I didn’t understand what was happening or that how could it be happening. I didn’t want to believe it. Shock paralyzed me when I felt his thing rise on my shoulder. I felt nauseous. The more I moved away the more he pushed himself on me. There was no room to get up. I was trapped: physically and mentally. I couldn’t look up or speak. I endured the misery for 20 minutes and ran to get down the first chance I got. Before getting down, I turned back. I wanted to look at him because I couldn’t believe someone could actually do what I thought had happened. When I saw him, he was still holding it and smiling. Smiling!!! I got down feeling disgusted. By the way, did I mention I was wearing a burqa when this happened?

Year: 2005

Time: 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm


Hello. I am a 20-30 yrs. old man. I am the stalking sexual offender. This means I sit around watching women, their routines, etc. and finally harass them sexually when I know they’ll be alone and that I can get away with it. Let me tell you one incident from my collection.

I saw her get down at the Koti Bank Street bus stand. I knew that this girl had to walk a good 1.5 km to get to the other bus stand because of a roadblock owing to a fire near OMC building. I started to follow her. Her butt looked juicy. All I wanted to do was grab it. After half a kilometre, she started walking faster. Maybe she knew I was following her. I quickened my pace, too. She was practically running as we neared the bus stand. I couldn’t let her get away after all the distance I walked just to touch her. I ran, too. There was a bus standing. I knew she would get on it. As she started to climb, I put my hand on her butt. But, before I could squeeze it, she kicked back. It hit my face. What a bitch! First, she’s walking alone and inviting me and then she kicks me?

Me: My antennae were tingling with threats of a potential harassment. I was aware of someone following me. Very aware. I could hear his panting breath: his lust for my body. This time, I was ready. I wasn’t going to let him touch me. It felt amazing to kick and hit target. My heart was beating so fast. Yes, I was scared, too. But, in a good away. Thank God for heels, right? By the way, did I mention I was wearing a burqa with the face veil when this happened? Kindly note, I don’t wear the tight monto burqa. I keep ‘em loose.

Year: 2008

Time: 8.30 am – 9.00 am


Hello. I am a 40 something male. I am a sexual predator. This means that I sexually harass women for sexual satisfaction anywhere, anytime. Let me tell you one incident from my collection.

She was standing at the Afzalgunj bus stand that morning. I went up to her in the pretext of asking directions and showed her a piece of paper that I was carrying. This I did to distract her. When she looked at the paper, I got my chance. I am an expert in molesting. I put my hand between her thighs and shoved them apart. Quickly, I thrust a finger inside her vagina (over her clothes). Then, I grazed my palm up towards her pelvis and reached her belly button. Oh! The pleasure. I was just about to move up towards her breasts when she jumped and moved back. I don’t know where she went after that. Some people saw me doing this and they started hitting me.

Me: I was 20 and aware of my body and its sexuality now. The violation I felt this time is the worst ever in my life. Never before had I felt such extreme self-hatred. It happened so fast that I couldn’t even scream. I ran inside the first bus I saw. It gave me no satisfaction when I saw people hitting him. All I felt was disgust towards my body. I sat in the bus and started punching my thighs and stomach. My vagina was burning so bad. I kept thinking why I still existed after this brutal humiliation. I didn’t want to be me. I hadn’t cried in either of the previous incidents but this time I did. I reached college and didn’t attend any classes. My friends asked me what’s wrong. This was the first time I shared something of this kind with my friends. Everybody supported me and gave me strength. I am thankful for the comfort they gave me. By the way, did I mention I was wearing a burqa when it happened?

Year: 2014

I hate that I remember all of this. I’m not even going to begin writing about the eve teasing and cat-calling. Don’t tell me I was lucky to escape without anything worse happening. NO! I am not lucky. This shouldn’t be happening in the first place to consider our fates as lucky or unlucky. It’s not a fate thing, it’s the man/offender’s problem to sexually gratify himself, assert his dominance over a woman. It is not MY problem that it happened. It is HIS problem that he did it. I am supposed to stay safe because some sexually weak person can’t handle the fact that I have breasts and a vagina? Because being safe is better than being sorry?  I want to have the freedom to walk without the fear that someone will touch me because I am a woman.

I’m not scared of street harassment anymore. I have the mental strength to fight it. I am working on my physical strength, too—I’m training in karate, jiu-jitsu, unarmed combat and self-defence. In spite of these incidents, I didn’t stop traveling alone. When my college used to end at 6.00 pm there were many times when I was the only female on the bus. They stared, but I never showed fear. My office was a good 10 km away from home and I used to travel alone in autos at night (as late as 10.30 pm). I walk fearlessly on roads, now. They stare at my body, I look them in the eye, and my look tells that I am not afraid of them. THIS IS MY BODY! I am going to hurt you real bad if you touch me without my permission!

Raise your voice if it’s happening to you or around you. Scream, shout, keep a whistle and blow it loud. Don’t run away. If you’re in Hyderabad, join the Budokan Star Karate Club and train to defend yourself. The only way to keep these animals who “can’t control themselves” in check: beat them, whip them, and hurt them. Don’t let them get away with it. Be brave because these lecherous bastards feed on your fear.

Does anyone opine that sexual harassment is permissible? Street harassment happens every day. This means there are people who think that it is right. You say it’s wrong yet do nothing to stop it.

My messagedon’t just think that street harassment is wrong. Start acting against it. NOW.


  1. Suyash Pandey says:

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