No hero came to my aid so I punched his face

When she was molested on the bus, she took matters in her own hands and punched her molester in the face.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

If you are a woman and a regular commuter in Dhaka city in Bangladesh, then you are no stranger to various forms of harassment by strangers.

You know from experience how helpless it feels in those awkward moments.

Sometimes, you daydream about a knight in shining armour coming to your rescue.

But they don't and you wonder how you will deal with the situation next time.

I'm no proponent of violence and, being a lawyer, certainly no advocate for taking law into your own hands.

But then, there are those moments when you feel, what if you did just that?

A few days ago, on my way to Farmgate from Moghbazar, I was standing near the Moghbazar intersection waiting to climb into a bus.

As I was climbing in it, I could feel an indecent push, not one of those you would get from a fellow passenger when you are both fighting your way into the bus.

I cringed and I turned around, only to find a middle-aged man, chuckling as he flashed his teeth.

Something inside me right away told me to be wary of him.

Inside, no seats were available but the bus was not overcrowded either.

When I got in, only two men were standing and they quickly moved back to give me some room to stand.

But this "good friend" of mine had other ideas, it transpired, so he stuck to me.

I ignored or rather pretended to ignore and stood holding on to a seat where a woman was sitting.

This guy stood right behind me.

Apparently, as the driver pushed the brake, he fell over me. I angrily reacted, and he hastily moved back.

As we were crossing Bangla Motor, he came closer.

Now he was standing so close that I could feel his breath on my neck.

This was when I decided to be my own hero.

I turned around and, with all the might I could gather, I took the law into my own fists.

I landed a punch on his face.

He was startled and frightened even by the quickness of it all.

Even so, he tried to create a scene but couldn't as other passengers were on my side.

By then, we had crossed the Karwan Bazar intersection when the bus was stopped by a traffic cop who sensed the trouble inside the vehicle.

The policeman climbed in and asked me what had gone wrong.

I told him and asked him to take action against the man, which came promptly.

The cop slapped him and took him off the bus.

"You did a good job, and all girls should be as brave," said the policeman.