11/02/2015 8:07 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST

No More Shame: Advice For The Man and Woman in Plane Molestation Case

Last night I messed up
Last night I messed up

I recently saw a video on a Facebook page, where a woman stood up for herself after being molested by an elderly man in a flight to Bhubaneswar. Yes, the girl did the right thing. She stood up for herself and created a public scene. I applaud the lady and support many similar actions that draw attention to wrongdoing. Bravo, women, bravo!

Yet, this incident was traumatic for both the victim as well as the perpetrator. If you watch the video closely, you can see so much shame in that man's eyes. "Shame on you men who molest just because you think it's fun," the victim said to the man.

Shame! Shame! Shame! Reinforcing more guilt, and more shame. The repression of negative energy persists in one form or the other, whether it's through victimhood or through criminality. Is there a way out of it? What next? Forever bitterness? Forever shame? Or is there a room for forgiveness, healing and living virtuously, for both the criminal and the victim? Can there be freedom from guilt, shame and ill will? I think so. But we, collectively as a society, need to educate ourselves on how to facilitate such change.

Let me be very clear, wrong happened. The girl did absolutely the right thing. She brought to mind Goddess Kali, who used her fierce powers to destroy evil. But can she move on?

Superficial Forgiveness vs. Real Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not prescriptive. It arises naturally.

Superficial forgiveness is accepting an apology but still holding a grudge within. Toxic memories linger and poison future interactions. A person may take on the mantle of a "fighter" over a long period of time. The only way out is real forgiveness. And for this you need to "forget". By this I do not mean glossing over a criminal act. What I am referring to is less a matter of forgetting and more a matter of remembering. It is our duty to remember many things, like our own dignity and divinity as well as that of others. Remembering our divinity and dignity will help us to forget bitterness and forgive those who wronged us.

Ending The Shame Cycle

Criminals are humans who acted (past tense) on the basis of a distorted mind. Humans can change (present tense) based on personal will and a healthy social environment. I personally feel compassion for both the woman and man on that fateful flight. If I were at the scene and if I were given permission to do so, I would give a love-filled hug to the lady. Bravo, sweetheart! And I would also hold the hand of the gentleman, the gentleman who sinned, giving him chance to weep away his shame rather than bury it inside.

We need to end the shame cycle. Why so? To get out of vicious experiences and cultivate virtuous ones. This can only happen by learning to feel compassion for distorted minds, while also having faith in true human potential and in the power to change. A criminal can change into a hero, a sinner can become a saint, a victim can become a victor.

My Advice

To the man: Please come of out the shame cycle by speaking up. Do not bury your guilt. Confess to the public. The woman had every right to express her anger. Be a gentleman and apologise socially and publically. Become a hero. Support anti-rape campaigns. Start inspiring many more who are equally ignorant of their distorted, pent-up and constricted sexual desires. Seek the support of professional psychologists and spiritualists, who will help you regain self-control and inner powers. Help in the prevention of such acts and inspire many more who suffer distortions similar to yours. Know that you are as good as anyone else! It is a sickness of mind that makes people do reprehensible things. But you, as well as others, are powerfully pure and good. It's just matter of exercising the will to do good.

To the courageous lady: You did so well coming out of the shame of being a woman, and acting courageously. Now through forgiving you will be able to release the bitterness from your memory. You do not need to let this incident colour your personality forever, you do not need to always be known as a "fighter". There are times to fight, and then there are times to take flight, sophisticatedly. If ever the topic surfaces, you can gently smile, confident in the knowledge that you acted righteously when it was needed. Now, that is in the past. And the past is "bhootkal" (ghostland). In the present you can choose to be as free as you desire to be. Don't let yourself be tagged by society or even subtly by yourself as "a fighter". Because being a fighter is not the goal. Being free, creative and happy is.