This Woman Withdrew Her Harassment Case After 6 Years. Here's Why You Need To Know About It

In a detailed Twitter thread, she explained why she was forced to withdraw her case after pursuing it for almost six years

In 2013, a news portal in Ahmedabad carried a report on how Shruti Chaturvedi, a college student took on a shopkeeper who had allegedly harassed her and her female friend at Bhadra Fort. Chaturvedi, who was then studying at St Xaviers’ College had filed a police complaint against the accused. But six years after the incident, she finds no merit in pursuing the case.

On September 3, Chaturvedi, now a media professional, retracted from the harassment case filed against the accused shopkeeper.

In a detailed Twitter thread, she explained why she was forced to withdraw her case after pursuing it for almost six years and attending eight hearings. In  the course of the trial, she had to cancel important work meetings and travel to Ahmedabad multiple times and spend her entire day in trial court.

Here is the link of the Twitter thread: 

Here is the full text of the thread:

I retracted a harassment case today. A thread on why:

Some context – This was 2013, I was in college in Ahmedabad. My friend and I had gone to Bhadra Fort – I went to the Bhadrakali temple while she stayed outside, checking out earrings outside. When I came outside, I saw her trying hard to get out of hold a man. He was a hawker in the Bhadra market. He held her by the wrist, touched inappropriately and kept saying lewd things. I tried to get my friend out of his clutch so he held me too, repeated. I slapped him and moved back (must have been a funny scene because he was huge and I am 5’3). No one intervened to help. We left but that evening, I called a journalist from @ahmedabadmirror I had written a fan mail to once. I asked how can I file a complain, and she guided me. Complaint wasn’t lodged until she accompanied me next day, to put some pressure. I hadn’t told my parents but they got to know because next day, this was a front page story. A day later, another follow-up story with letters/mails that several women sent AM office sharing similar experiences from hawkers.

Why did this man do this?

Because my friend refused to buy earrings from his stall. 6 years later, I got the first notice for hearing at a house where we no longer live in. In last 6 years, I have switched 2 jobs, started my company and moved 3 cities setting up offices. For every hearing, I was supposed to travel to Ahmedabad from my city of residence. On working days with a prior notice of 1 or 2 days. There’s been 8 hearings so far, everytime a new date. Fed up, I decided to close the case today. I confronted the man again. Despite the judge insisting that the crime was unpardonable and I should pursue, I had to, because it didn’t look worth all the effort it takes anymore/don’t remember how it felt either. The man later today had the audacity to tell me “dukaan par aavjo” (come to my shop someday).

Why am I sharing this?

One, to tell you how courageous those women are who pursue cases, and see them through. It is not matter of months or couple of years. It’s YEARS. I couldn’t see it through, couldn’t keep cancelling important work meetings, travel multiple times, and spend all day in trial courts. Trial courts are not a pleasant place to be in. They stink, hardly have a fan & benches hurt.

Two, next time you invalidate someone’s story because she didn’t file a case but only complained on SM, remember this ordeal. It’s easier tweeted then done. The system sucks. Even to withdraw a case, no matter which country you are based in, you have to come to the court where the case is proceeding. The court can issue an arrest warrant on your name for not appearing for hearing.

What could have helped (IDK how doable):

– Internet, webcam, speaker and a computer.
– mechanism to conduct hearings online for people who do not live in the city of attack anymore.
– mechanism to get trial within a year of the case registered, too much to ask?
– mechanism to retract a case online if someone wants to.
– mechanism to conduct faster trials – set rules where if either parties do not comply to produce what is asked, they are penalised. Would avoid stalling.
– a way to ensure opposing lawyers do not settle among themselves
They do this so much to keep prolonging the case, to continue making money.