Abuse on the Streets

The blog post that inspired this

What bothers me more than actual eve teasers somehow, is armchair activists.

There are a zillion people ready to condemn. Most of them well educated, well informed and sensitive human beings. Yet if a girl is being teased on a bus, not one will step forward to help her.

Five scenes that happen a million times a day across the country.

Scene 1:
Location: Bus Stop on a busy road
Scene: Girl standing at the edge of the road, waiting anxiously for a bus. Guys, usually three or four, on bikes ride past slowly singing or saying something mildly to moderately suggestive. They drive past four or five times till they tire of it and leave.
Girl Feels: Angry, embarrassed, helpless, and extremely uncomfortable
Recommended Action (by society): Ignore them
Reaction of all males in vicinity: Turn a blind eye. Or, common occurance. They didn’d really harm her.

Scene 2:
Location:In a crowded bus/lift
Scene: Girl standing in the bus. Guy standing behind her presses into her and gropes her.
Girl Feels: her space deeply violated, ashamed embarrassed and generally abused.
Recommended Action (by society): Ignore. Or in more liberal cases, carry a safety pin.
Reaction of all males in vicinity: If she feels so terrible, ask her to get a scooty. What else can you expect on a crowded bus?

Scene 3:
Location: All Girls school. Classroom opening onto road
Scene: Half a dozen guys on bikes shine mirrors into the room. Reflecting light and making sound.
Girl Feels: Bewildered. Schools are supposed to be safe!
Recommended Action (by society): Ignore them
Reaction of all males in vicinity: what are curtains for? Besides they cant even see the girls!

Scene 4:
Location:Girl walking down a street
Scene: As the girl is walking down, five or six guys stare, pass comments, sing lewd songs and make gestures
Girl Feels:
Recommended Action (by society): Ignore them. Dress better. Don’t walk alone.
Reaction of all males in vicinity: Who said that was for you?

Scene 5:
Location: Movie theatre
Scene: Guy sitting in next seat pretends to be settling down and touches the girl wherever he can.
Girl Feels: Physically Abused
Recommended Action (by society): Switch seats. Thats why you should not sit next to unknown men.
Reaction of all males in vicinity: Genuine mistake. Could happen to anyone! Women are so quick to accuse!

These are the small things that an urban woman with decent means faces. I don’t want to think of what goes on behind closed doors in the name of dowry, children and financial difficulties. I don’t want to think about women who get raped because they were walking down the road after dark. I don’t want to think about husbands who abuse the women they promised to take care of. About Jessica Lall or the Nithari killings.

What I want to ask any male reader is not to comment, concur and agree. I want to ask what they have done when they have seen women be abused before their very eyes.

I’ve lived my life stamping on feet, poking with pins and shouting.

I’ve had a drawing teacher grope me when I was 7 and too young to understand what was happening. Only that I felt ashamed.

I’ve been groped on busses, approached by strange men when I travelled alone by train and had people stalk me when I walked to my school 2km away.

I’ve stood up in class and tried to explain to 16 yr old guys how it feels to be a girl and had three or four say they appreciated it.

I shall probably live my life this way.

But you educated, sensitive, physically stronger men. What are you doing?

ps:chakri, I’m sure many men are nice and everything. Please, don’t think I’ve gone bitter 😛

International Women’s Day

A Tale of Struggle, Womanhood, Rights and Eve Teasing.

A lot has been said about women and equality and rights, about how women are proving themselves weak by fighting for rights, about how men are indeed more equal than women and most men, subtly or not so subtly, usually end up stating that women are better in the home than outside it.

Before people talk about women’s day being just another day for the greeting card industry and the spa’s, let me ask them to read this first. History of Women’s Day And since men have no such struggles to boast of, I hold that we don’t really need an International Men’s Day.

It’s a beautiful thing to be a woman. And no doubt, it must be wonderful to be a man too. What’s most important is that we all realize that as humans, and largely heterosexual humans at that, we definitely need to know how to complemement each other and live together.

What brings these differences is when we contemplate “The role of Man in Society” vs “The role of Woman” What is the need? There are no roles. There is a society, there are people and there is a lot of space for them to fit into. It is for an individual to find his or her true calling and go about making those dreams come real. Are men physically stronger? Perhaps. Are women emotionally stronger? Perhaps. But I can think of a lot of examples where things are the converse of it to!

As a woman, I would like to feel safe, physically. I would like to feel that I can do whatever I wish without being considered a slave to my hormones. And most importantly, I wish I could respect anyone, guy or girl, man or woman and see the person they are instead of the gender they are.

To say something extremely cheeky, given that gender is rather changeable these days, there’s no point defining roles… 😛