The porcupine suit

copyright-Ron-Pruitt

“Pinafores have to be an inch above the knee” , Mrs. Victor says sternly. My uniform dangles below my knee.

Does she come to school in a flying saucer? Hasn’t she seen the public bus during rush hour? Doesn’t she know that errant males amidst the safety of a crowded bus put their hands up short pinafores? I knew better than to ‘talk back’ so I’m quiet.

“Any questions?”, she asks. I want to ask: what do these men gain in a few seconds of groping?  But this is something we don’t discuss with adults.

I walk away wishing that our school uniform was a porcupine suit.

—– end —-

I seriously dreamed of designing something like to this to wear to school:

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/toonzguru/suited/

Picture of a bus in Chennai, India during rush hour.

Image result for MTC bus chennai crowded

Photo credit: Indian express

Sexual harassment of women/girls, by strangers in broad daylight in front of adult men and women – who seldom called out on the perpetrator – was common place in the crowded buses of Chennai, India. The crowd offered these “asstards” the perfect excuse for unnecessary brushes and groping. Many times one can’t point out the exact perv amongst the crowd compounding the problem. There is more awareness now  and more women are coming forward to lodge complaints with the police ,yet , it’s an ongoing problem.

If you are an adult who sees such harassment in public buses, please speak up….usually people wait for a leader who can raise their voice and then join forces to support them…so you will never be alone.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/MTC-identifies-bus-routes-prone-to-sexual-harassment/articleshow/6904580.cms

————————

This about 100 word ” story” is written in response to the 100 word photo challenge  posted by Rochelle Wisoff-Field each week.  This week’s photo was provided by Ron Pruitt.

Click on the ‘blue frog’  below to read other amazing takes on the same photo prompt:

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50 responses to “The porcupine suit

  1. OMG.. I felt the exact same way in school, when we had to dress in pinafores. you have wonderfully captured the essence how a school going girl thinks..:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First I’m happy that there’s no school uniforms in Sweden, secondly it would be perfectly acceptable to kick such “males” in the groin.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wonder what would happen if women started to grope the guys?? Maybe that’s a stupid question to ask.

    Lily

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lily, I think you kinda answered you own question 🙂 An author always thinks of “what ifs” …so following that train of thought …if women started to behave irresponsibly like such perverted men on the bus it would only lead to more rampant and open violence against women.

      Like

  4. Public transport can be awful! Poor girls

    Liked by 1 person

  5. With all these horrible stories of women being abused and killed in India (but also elsewhere) I often fantasize about poison being released at will when children and women are groped, or worse, by someone. Sadly timely story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I fantasized about this invisibe porcupine suit that has poison-soaked tips that gets activiated on gropes and such…..and creating a product to maim and kill potential rapists and offerring it to free to vulnerable girls/women/people( don’t want to exclude any others) across the world….One of my wierd “I wish we can do something like this” thoughts…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Ansumani,

    I hate it that there’s so much truth in your story. Well done with a killer ending line.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Rochelle. I knew my true story today would not be a pleasant tale to tell but I have been wanting to scream about this for decades and seeing the bus in the picture prompt took me back to that time and I had to write about it.

      Like

  7. A very well-written story, Ansumani! Brought back some memories …
    I was a girl in a pinafore school uniform in Chennai, riding to my convent school on the bus, way back in my distant past (I switched to bicycling all the way to school at a furiously fast pace, because:
    1. The buses were too crowded, and
    2. There were too much sweaty men and people with coconut-oil-covered hair.
    However, I don’t remember ANYONE groping me. Of course, there were occasional stares and sotto voce remarks, but no overt harassment. This leads me to believe that:
    a. Either they were better back then, or
    b. I must have looked too smudgy and indistinct to warrant such treatment.
    Whatever the case, I am grateful
    Thank goodness!

    Like

    • Dear Vijaya, I’m sure you were not smudgy and indistinct – that has never been a deterrent- some bus routes are notorious and maybe you were not on one of those. Anyway – thank your stars that you escaped unscathed. I developed advance tatics , to escape harassement and every day was like stepping into a war zone with an intent to return home untouched. My main tatic was asking for the women seated to allow me to sqeeze in a tiny square inch between them and they always were generous and gave room knowing the perils we faced.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I agree with you, that that has never been a deterrent! Even as I wrote that above, I thought something similar. You are totally correct. This leads me to think that men might have been better on those bus routes.

        Like

  8. Oh Ansumani… what a horrid school to demand such a dress code. Too real, sadly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dale, the school was a very prestigious school in the city and founded by the British 100 years ago – so the staff were still in “England” mode to maintain the heritage of the school and acted clueless to the world outside. Irrespective of the uniform we would have still faced harassment- the uniform just made some parts more vulnerable than other types of uniform.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Great story to highlight this issue. Let’s hope attitudes change so that this sort of thing is no longer deemed “acceptable behaviour” by so many men.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ali. Some Men/Boys try to protect the women by warning such pervs to stay off- but it’s usually on their own home turf where the women are their friends/neighbors. If they extended the same consideration to all female strangers – then this issue can be curbed very quickly.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Sad that the world is like this. It doesn’t need to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Well written. Really gets to the heart of a problem that may never be solved.

    Like

  12. Timely story, nicely done. A porcupine suit would definitely prove a point. It’s sad that women have to deal with this on a bus or anywhere

    Like

  13. this and pickpockets too. anyway, i don’t think it’s isolated in india. it happens everywhere. some guys do need to get a life.

    Like

  14. A porcupine suit would be a sight to see! Well done!

    Like

  15. Sew their eyes — it’s worth it. Great reminder! Thank you.

    Like

  16. Good story, bad situation on the buses though. I see why you might want a rather prickly uniform instead. As a matter of interest, when I was at school our pinafores or gymslips as they were called then, had to touch the floor plus one inch when you were kneeling! How times change, hey?

    Like

  17. A well placed mouse trap could be useful methinks with an added razor blade…something of a crude guillotine – it’s hard to grope with no fingers!
    Great story highlighting a very real problem.
    P.s. Love the idea of a porcupine suit 😀

    Like

  18. The telling line for me was, “I knew better than talk back, so I’m quiet.” That speaks volumes about the society. As long as everyone stays quiet, nothing will change. Getting in and out of the porcupine suit may be challenging. 🙂

    Like

  19. Good story to use as a vehicle for awareness.

    Like

  20. A very thought provoking story,It is a fact people stare at women lewdly.They are shameless creatures.

    Like

  21. I rode the bus a few times with my husband and didn’t like it, so took rickshaws, but I was an adult. I’ve been in the unfortunate position in the U.S. and India where I was smashed up against a strange man in a ride I had to take by myself, on a crowded bus where my husband was standing, or on a bench that got crowded. In the old days when women wore hats, they had hat pins they sometimes put to use. I think Mrs. Victor needed to be told the facts of life on a crowded bus. Knowing the attitudes in India though, the girl would probably be blamed. Women in Pune are now taking advantage of “women’s sections” when available. — Suzanne

    Like

    • Suzanne, Hat pins…safety pins …yes, we can always “arm” ourselves…but why should a normal commute of a female be a war-zone? That’s the question we need to have everyone thinking. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

  22. Thought provoking story. Porcupine uniform seems appropriate. 🙂

    Like

  23. Loved the porcupine suit – brought a smile until I read your flash in conjunction with the last photograph. In India I think a porcupine suit is an essential and Mrs Victor should realise that long is better than short.

    Like

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