The picture above is of a flash mob raising awareness on street harassment on January 12 with LEADers, School Leadership participants, and other girls from our partner-schools participating.
In honor of International Anti-Street Harassment Week, we asked our staff and participants to share stories about their experiences with street harassment in Kathmandu. Sonu, our Program Manager, shares her story today.
My home is near the Thamel area. I usually prefer using that way because it is a short cut and if I don’t walk from there it takes a lot of time to reach my home. Every day when I use that street I face a problem. Today, I would like to share one of the most troublesome moments in my life when I faced street harassment.
One day I was going home late because there was some urgent work I needed to finish that day. There was no public transportation around there because it was almost 8 pm so I was in hurry and afraid because there was no one besides me in the street. On the opposite side of the footpath, there was one young boy of about 20 years old standing in the street and watching me. Unexpectedly, that boy started masturbating in front of me. Oh my god! I then walked off quickly and didn’t look at him. After that incident, I stopped going that way in the evening.
Another incident occurred nearly 2 years ago, when I went to drop my aunt to her home. When I was going back home, I lost my way and suddenly the lights went off on that area because of the load shedding. I felt scared because it was almost dark and it was past 7 in the evening. I was walking round and round trying to find my way but I felt confused. Finally I decided to ask for directions and asked one of the older street venders and he showed me the way. At the same time, nearby, young people listened to our conversation and they started to follow me. Oh my God! My heart was pounding and I started to walk very fast. All together they were 3 young men and they were saying “Can I help”? ,”May I show you the direction?”. This made me more scared. Suddenly I saw a place that I knew. I reached Kamalpokhari and nearby there was a police station so I scolded the guys, telling them that if they harassed me again, I would call the police. The guys went away. Finally, I had reached a way which I knew, with light and some people walking around. Then, I took a long breath and walked off slowly.