“How can a 17-year old child be harassed, and that too in the business class when she was travelling with her mother? Is no one safe anywhere? Even while Zaira was subjected to this humiliation a 5-year old girl in Haryana was raped murdered and wood inserted in her private parts. Have we as a civilization lost all sense of decency? Now children are molesting children!! No one is safe.You can be 5 or 85, you are a potential victim of sex crimes, ” laments Tannishtha who reveals she has gone through her own midair trauma .
“But there is a difference. I am much older far more experienced woman. No one can misbehave with me and get away with it. I’d slap the shit out of the creep.I could handle the lout who misbehaved. Zaira being a child was completely lost in the situation. The fact that the cabin crew did not help her has to do with the passengers’ hierarchy. Both Zaira and the alleged molester was travelling business class. This, to the crew, meant both were from a privileged class and had to be treated carefully. The presumption that sexual predators come from the underprivileged class probably works in midair also. If this had happened in economy class the offender would’ve been dealt differently,’ says Tannishtha.
Speaking of her experience the Brick Lane, Parched actress recounts, “Even before the flight took off this man, a co-passenger seated next to me was acting smart. I shouted for help. When the aircrew came I told them to find another seat for the man or for me . They mumbled that I should adjust. This is again, businessclass hierarchy.I insisted either he be removed or me.”
Tannishtha feels offender-shaming is very important. “When something like this happens, speak up immediately. Create a scene. Post a video on social media. Let the world know what’s happened. I am glad Zaira has spoken up. I am utterly ashamed of a society that can’t protect its women and children. Zaira is from the privileged class .And she was travelling business class. Then this happened! I shudder to think what working girls from themiddleclass go through every day on buses, trains and auto-rickshaws.”