Groping is an offence, Downplaying Its Severity is a Big Deal

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao
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MeToo Rural India, Indeed Censuswide Survey

We have trivialised groping to a point that it is now seen as a part and parcel of growing up.  Almost every woman in India has faced it and still, we refuse to give this action the accountability of a crime. Have we become so numb, that groping has become as inconsequential as catcalls to us?


When did groping become an inevitable reality of our lives?

It's not just a menace in public transport or urban cities. Groping is an assault which women all-over India, and from all walks of life have to face. The worst part is that the incidences are so commonplace, that after some time our assailants cease to have a face.

For us now, they are just roving hands on our waist, erect penises against our buttocks, elbows digging deliberately into our breasts, and a lusty heave down our neck.

We either move away, or squat off the hand. The brave ones shout and protest, but very few feel the need to report the incident as a crime. Groping, a sexual offence, has been trivialised so much, that men think this behaviour is acceptable.

Every offender needs to be punished

We fail to realise that numerous schoolgirls, who are yet unaware of their developing bodies, and too weak to defend themselves, are the ones who are mostly pried on. Desolate streets and packed buses are where our girls first learn the dynamics of gender in our society.


Isn’t this how it started for most of us? The touch we never asked for and were too defenceless to protect ourselves from.

What remains is the guilt of being a girl and the shame of being touched by a man. It’s a dirty feeling and it never goes away.

Our uproar is necessary for these innocent girls, who need to be told that someone has their back. We need to learn from the women of Japan. The school girls there had long been suffering groping on public transport, but two years ago, some of them found the voice of resistance.

Some Japanese women are distributing pamphlets and badges which shout out, “Groping is a crime” and “Don’t do it”. The Railway police now hold awareness-raising lectures in high schools which have enabled students to feel more comfortable speaking about the issue.

When a lecherous hand goes unchecked, the mind behind it grows bolder in its offence.

We as a society need to take this issue more seriously. If a man can touch the private parts of a woman or a young girl, unchecked, then would he not think about going a step further? Stalking, molestation, rape… there is a reason why sexual assault is so widespread in India. We fail to nip the problem in the bud. We the society, fail to tell men they are doing something wrong.


The trivialisation of groping basically happened because no one paid heed when women protested against it. Every man should be made aware that touching a woman against her wishes is a criminal offence.

Also Read : Children of Both Genders are Equally Vulnerable to Sexual Assault 

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are author’s own.

Groping women sexual assault in India women harassed in public transport