The conversation around "Is no place safe for women," over the past few years, has included homes, schools, street corners, fields, toilets, cabs and buses. But India just doesn't seem to run out of spots where women can be raped and molested.
This chilling story from the Arabian Sea quite literally grabs the spot of "all time low." Kavya Raman, a 23-year-old woman, writes about how she was molested by her scuba-driving instructor when they reached the seabed. Her narrative was shared by Youth Ki Awaaz.
"My instructor had my breathing equipment in his control and my oxygen tank in his hands. But as we swam across the corals, the fish and the fluorescent-coloured plants at the very bottom of the Arabian Sea, his hands were no longer on my diving equipment. First one hand, then the other and finally both. I cringed in shock. I tried to shake his hands away from my body but in vain. The shock slowly turned to fright when his hands began to move across my body. I looked in his direction in despair but couldn’t see him.
After all, he was right behind me with both his hands groping me. I was aghast and tried to think fast. I tried to break free but the grasp was too tight. He then signalled asking me if I was okay. I signalled with an ‘OK’. 12 meters below sea level, with my breathing equipment under his control, I didn’t dare show any fear."
"In the matter of a few seconds, his hand forcefully found its way back to where he removed it from. My body turned numb with fear. I wanted to scream and shout, I wanted to release myself from his clutches, I wanted to cry, but all I could do was signal him with an ‘OK’ because more than anything else, I wanted to get back to the boat and to my friends, safe and sound. For the next 40 minutes, he took complete advantage of my silence and my helplessness. His hands found their way to every part of my body but they chose to stop only at a few. They pulled me closer to him, caressed me and violated me. All I could do was signal him with an ‘OK’.
Raman writes that she spoke out against the scuba diving instructor after they got to the surface and she regained her composure. She immediately confronted him in front of her friends and other trainers, recorded his confession, and filed an FIR.
While pursuing the case, Raman found out that she was the second woman to report such a case against this instructor, this year, and several similar episodes had gone unreported.
"We did 2 things after going through this ordeal. The first was to lodge an FIR against Mr. Dhiraj Singh on the grounds of Sexual Molestation under IPC 1860, section 354. The case then went to the court where we recorded our statement, soon after which he served a 20 day non-bailable sentence. Sometime during those rounds between the courts and the police stations, we were informed by one of the officers that this was the second such report against him in the last 1.5 months. On doing some research, we found that there were many such unreported cases against the same man for the same crime. It was appalling."
Mr. Dhiraj Singh had his hearing in the court on 16th April, 2015. We are awaiting the final hearing date after which if proven guilty, he will serve a term of up to 3 years in prison. 3 years of imprisonment is a very small punishment for a monster who has permanently scarred the lives of so many girls by taking undue advantage of the silence of their screams underwater.