Mumbai

Mulund ATM kiosk flashing case: I chose to teach him a lesson, says victim

Caught in the act: Sandeep Kumbharkar was arrested for flashing a woman at an ATM in Mulund last week.

Caught in the act: Sandeep Kumbharkar was arrested for flashing a woman at an ATM in Mulund last week.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

23-year-old victim of Mulund flashing case says reacting is better than regretting

The 23-year-old woman, who was the victim in the Mulund flashing case in which a 38-year-old man was arrested by the Navghar police last week, recalled how a similar incident in her childhood spurred her to confront the predator this time.

The victim, an advertising and marketing professional, was at an ATM kiosk in Mulund when the accused, Sandeep Kumbharkar, flashed his privates at her. The victim recorded the act, tweeted it out and sought the police’s help, following which he was arrested.

Scarring experience

Opening up about her experience to The Hindu, she narrated how, in 2006 when she was in Class V, a man followed her into the elevator of her building for two days in a row. On the second day, the man touched her inappropriately, and the victim still carries the scars of the ordeal that she had to go through at the tender age.

“I had left for school early when others at home were still asleep. The man did not stay in our building. When the man touched my shoulder and back, I went numb with fear. I stopped the elevator and ran down the stairway. From the next day, my brother started accompanying me while travelling to school,” the victim said.

On May 11, which was a day before her birthday, the victim was on her way home after attending a music concert in Khar. The State Bank of India ATM, where she stopped her autorickshaw, had always felt safe to her. “It is right in the heart of the area where I have resided all my life. I knew I could walk into the ATM even at three in the morning feeling perfectly safe,” she said.

Recalling the exact moment when Mr. Kumbharkar flashed at her, she said, “I froze. The moment in the elevator all those years ago came rushing to my mind. The helplessness I felt 13 years back enraged me further. I had run away then, but I chose to teach him a lesson this time,” she said.

While the victim feels that police patrolling in the area is sufficient, vigilance needs to be stepped up at places where women can be vulnerable. “We need active security in the city so that nobody feels unsafe at any time of the day or night. We also need more police patrolling in the city and CCTV cameras, so no offender can escape the law,” she said.

‘End victim-shaming’

Calling for an end to victim-shaming, she said that women need to realise the importance of teaching perverts a lesson. She said, “No matter what time a woman goes to an ATM or anywhere else, no man has the right to misbehave with her. People need to stop asking women what they were doing out so late. No matter what time and place, men need to know that unless the other person has not given his or her consent, you cannot touch them.”

She said that women need to react and not regret later. “In instances such as this, it is usual for women to freeze, feel lost and numb. But reacting is better than regretting. Regret is the worst feeling to live with,” she said.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 10:01:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/i-chose-to-teach-him-a-lesson/article27142049.ece

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