India, as a country, is struggling to keep their women safe – be it on roads or in their own houses.
From being shown lewd gestures, to being harassed in broad daylight, women in India have been going through a lot for a very long time, and the situation only seems to be getting worse.
But unlike their earlier counterparts, today’s women are gathering the courage to raise their voices. And, they are not raising their voices just because they want justice for themselves but because they want to leave a better and safer society for their future generations.
Recently, one such woman came forward to share the horrific incident of being harassed by an Uber driver in Bengaluru.
Aparna Balachander, who is a resident of Bengaluru in Karnataka, took to Twitter to share the nightmarish incident in the hope that it would help spread caution and awareness among other women. And wishing they don’t have to live a similar horrific incident in their lives.
So What Happened?
Aparna tweeted her experience,
“Hi guys, I need you all to take a minute and read my traumatic experience with the cab driver while taking an Uber cab tonight! Help me spread more caution and awareness among women so that they don’t go through what I did!”
She further wrote,
“Today, I had the most traumatising experience of my life.
I got into an Uber cab after dinner with my colleagues. The cab driver was telling his friend on phone about customers being very bad.
Suddenly, he turned to me and told me that as an educated woman I should leave work before 7 pm and not go out drinking with colleagues. (sic)”
“I told him I didn’t drink and asked him to mind his own business.
He went on to call me a slut and also to say things like I can’t even be his keep who cleans his shoes.
At this point, he started slowing down the cab and I got extremely scared. I pressed the ‘safety’ button on Uber.
Instead of calling me, they called the cab driver and he started telling the customer care person that ‘I am extremely drunk.’“
Recalling her trauma, she continued,
“At this point, I had no choice but to start screaming, asking the customer care to listen to me. The woman on the call spoke to me and I cried begging her to help me. She told me to get out of the cab and that she will book me another one immediately.
Meanwhile, this cab driver started threatening me with things like ‘I will tear your clothes if you don’t leave the cab now.’
As I got down at 11.15pm in the night on a not-so-busy road, I was waiting for a call from the customer care and also for my backup cab.
I was terrified that the cab driver would come back to hit me.
After waiting for 15 minutes and desperately writing messages to the Uber Customer Care, I received no support and I had to call my friends to help me.”
But what was even more saddening was the way how Uber handled this safety concern:
“All Uber did was refund my money which wasn’t what I was concerned about at that point.
If I as a customer press the safety button, it’s ridiculous that the call goes to the driver. I am beyond terrified with my this Uber experience.
I am raising this issue not only because I am terrified by my experience but also because the ‘Safety’ system of Uber is extremely messed up.
How can the call go to the driver and not the customer who raised a safety concern?”
Hi guys, I need you all to take a minute and read my traumatic experience with the cab driver while taking a @Uber cab tonight! Help me spread more caution and awareness among women so that they don’t go through what I did! @UberINSupportpic.twitter.com/DNm5o1sa7S
Aparna also shared her trip details and her conversations with the Uber safety person, which just shows how Aparna was left all alone in the middle of the road without any support from Uber.
Aparna further shared how Uber showed lack of interest to follow up on a safety matter of such high concern.
Though Uber support said that they ‘tried’ contacting her, but Aparna said that she did not receive any calls. Sharing the images of her chat with Uber support, she mentioned:
“The entire day I haven’t received a single call despite following up with you about my traumatic experience.
Why do I have to keep following up for something so serious? #UnsafeUber #NotSoUber #Uber”
In response to Aparna’s tweet, several people, men, and women came forward to share their harrowing experiences with Uber drivers.
But this isn’t the first time a woman has been harassed by a cab driver.
Recently, a young brave womansharedher horrific experience incident whena Mumbai cab driver flashed his private parts at her.
Rather than being scared of shaming, this woman made sure the accuser is behind the bars so that he never gathers the courage to do the same with any other woman again. This woman recorded the incident and shared the details on Instagram.
As a society, we need to celebrate the courage of these young women who are raising their voices to fight and make India safer for her women.
We hope Uber and all the other cab aggregators will learn from this incident and roll out a robust safety mechanism before they put another woman at risk.
Hope this story gives you the courage to fight back the next time you are shown lewd and inappropriate gestures by men in public spaces!