news Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 05:30
Whenever instances of sexual assault or harassment against women are reported, its usually the women who are loudest protestors. But when a British traveller in India recently wrote about a man publicly masturbating in front of her, her blog post was flooded with apologies, not apologists for the man’s actions. Twenty-six-year-old British travel blogger Lucy Hemmings, recently shared her nightmare of being masturbated at in public in a bus stop in Mumbai. A man sitting near her pulled out his penis and before she knew it, began masturbating in her presence while staring at her. It evoked hundreds of responses, mostly apologizing for what she had to go through, and the majority of them were men. She felt sickened by what had happened, but this was not the first time she had experienced such behaviour when travelling around the country. But this one particular incident upset her so much emotionally and psychologically that she decided to share her ordeal on her blog. A self-confessed free-spirited person, Lucy writes in her blog – “For days afterwards, I was nervous walking anywhere on my own, I stopped making eye contact at anyone in the street and I started carrying a pocket knife. I only ate in busy restaurants, sitting near families with children and I stopped smiling at any men, even the familiar faces of men who ran the guesthouse I was staying in.” In days after she narrated her experience, the blog has gone viral on social media with many condemning the behaviour of such men who bring disrepute to other Indian men, and the nation itself. Among the hundreds of responses many appeared to be from Indian men said they were ashamed that she was subjected to a situation like this. One of the respondent, Saheb, writes - “All I can say and do right now is apologize on behalf of men. It pains to hear that women have to face such harassment because of some men. Please continue writing and sharing your experiences. India is a country of great culture and heritage. To all other readers, I quote Lucy – “in every country there are good and bad people”. Siddharth, another blogger, writes – “I am really shocked and ashamed of how some retard men do such disgusting acts and harass our guests, and ruin my country’s name.Being an Indian citizen,I apologise to all of those who had such terrible experiences in my country. Please do keep visiting my country,and I assure you that you will be greatly respected by majority of Indian families as our culture teaches us ‘Atithi devo bhava’ (guests are our Gods).”

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