Parks are where butterflies flutter, flowers bloom, children play, runners sweat and elders take a stroll. Blue sky as a roof, green grass beneath, parks personify freedom. However what happens when in this space a girl child is gazed at, not for her innocence but for her raised top, a mother who is out with her infant gets her ass grabbed, a teenage girl gets stalked, which makes her stop going for her walks. Safecity asked women to narrate incidents which made them feel unsafe. The response that we got was shocking.
The narratives are given below.
I was 13 years old, had gone to the park to play on the swings, it was roughly around five thirty in the evening. There were three men sitting behind the swing set playing cards, I started playing with my back to them. While playing my shirt went up a little and me being a conscious little kid started adjusting it when I heard one of the we -men say ‘Rehne do na, aise hi achha lagta hai’[Let it be. It looks good]. I was JUST thirteen. —Akshita
Me and my friend had gone out with our respective younger siblings to the park for their skating class. We were supposed to pick them up in an hour. At seven thirty, we went to pick them up, it was already dark; the teacher and other students had already left. It was just four of us in the rink when a boy(around seventeen) came and sat across us. We didn’t think much of him as we were waiting for the kids to pack up their skates. After five minutes, I noticed some movement at his side; since it was dark it took me some time to realize what he was doing. That bastard had started masturbating in our presence. I didn’t say anything just told others to hurry. On my way back told my friend the reason for me to hurry. She was almost as furious as I was.
I am a bit plump so to reduce weight I had started jogging in the park. I noticed that some guys used to stare at me but I always ignored them. One evening, when I was passing their group, they purposely started talking about the female body and the things they could do with one while staring at me suggestively. I started going to a different park from then on.
I always go out to the park for evening walks. On April 18, I noticed that some guy had started walking behind me. I paid no heed to it but something felt strange about the way he was looking at me. So, to calm my nerves and to make sure that he wasn’t stalking me, I exited the park to continue my walk in a different park. After fifteen minutes, I noticed the same guy entering this park. I was officially creeped out, but I wasn’t going to go home because of him so I returned to other park, hoping he wouldn’t follow me. I was wrong, he did follow me. I was forced to call my dad. He fled after seeing me with my father.
I had gone with a couple of my friends to the society park to watch a football match between our society and another one. It was pretty crowed but I was okay with that because I had attended such events before with no incidents, also, I was with my friends. About forty minutes into the match, a chill ran through my body as I felt a hand grab my ass. Before I could turn and catch hold of the culprit, the hand had disappeared, leaving behind an uneasy me. I couldn’t enjoy anymore and had to leave. I stared avoiding crowded places since then.
I had gone to the park wearing knee length shorts and a sleeveless top because it was really hot. Some guy decided that it was okay for him to whistle and pass lewd comments. I started shouting and cussing at him. A lady decided to intervene; she called me to her and started scolding me for using colourful words and how unladylike it was. When I told her that the guy had been harassing me, she proceeded to tell me that it was my fault and I shouldn’t have worn what I had. Needless to say, I was left speechless.
Eighteen year old me went to the park to have some me time, to clear her head. I started walking with Poets of the fall blasting from my ear phones when I reached a semi secluded spot of the park. That is when some guy called out to me from my left. I turned towards him when I noticed his hand stroking his ‘manhood’. It is by far the most disgusting that has happened in a park with me.
I used to go to the park in the evening for socializing with other moms while our children used to play nearby. One evening, I noticed that an old neighbour was playing with my daughter. I didn’t think much of it because he seemed like a kind man. After a while, I noticed that he had my eight year old child on his lap and his hand was on her thigh (she was wearing a skirt) and he was whispering in her ears. I was so furious that I started shouting at him after taking my daughter in my arms. Couple of people collected and instead of yelling at him, they tried to calm me down. I was seething and wanted to bash him up but my daughter was trembling so bad that I had to leave. After couple of weeks, we moved from there. Doubt that solved things but I couldn’t stand to live in such a locality anymore.
There are two paths in the park that I usually go to; one for cycling & skating, other for walking & jogging. I had to go to the market and for that I needed to cross the park. I started walking and saw two boys around twelve/thirteen coming from the opposite direction on a bike. I smiled at them and they responded to the smile with a ‘Hey sexy!’ before speeding off. I was appalled.
I live in east of Kailash where every evening I go for a walk in the nearby park, a group of guys used to come solely to stare at the girls. I noticed them staring at me whenever I crossed them and the looks they gave that time was just so scary. This continued for a week and then they started commenting, I ignored them a couple of times. But the situation worsened as the comments got really disgusting so much that I was embarrassed to go for my walk. Few days later, one of those guys came up to me and told me that I looked pretty, he held me by my wrist and forced me to take his number. I just couldn’t take it anymore!! I lost control and started shouting at him. I was rewarded by them following me which scared the shit out of me I had no option but to call the guards of collony and only then they left me alone. -anonymous After reading all of these incidents, I bet you are feeling as disgusted as the women who shared these incidents with me felt. I know that you could relate with these because at some point in your life you have also gone through something similar. Who would think that parks could be this unsafe? What can we do to stop this nonsense? Report such instances! It doesn’t matter how small you think these are. You shouldn’t keep them to yourself. Never. You should ALWAYS speak