Tuesday, August 26, 2008

eve-teasing

If you are a female its impossible that you haven’t been a victim of this very disturbing, extremely annoying ritual, if you are a male however I sympathize with you, though I haven’t come across incidences yet where there have been advances from the opposite sex. It starts off with your teens, the time when you are coming to terms with your body and are at the extreme low of your confidence, and then some cruel comments can destabilize your leftover ego.I remember this girl in my apartment who was constantly teased because of the somewhat extra fat on her chest. She was very ashamed of her body and refused to go out of her house for any other reason than school. I was however teased for being flat chested. But I was never ashamed. I was proud of having no girlish qualities that would get me noticed, and I could move around without getting pinched at all the wrong places when travelling in the crowded buses, and the guys wouldn't stare down at me when conversing. All that changed as I grew older. Ignoring catcalls and lewd comments is a daily routine for all girls, something we are groomed to bear from small age. As a girl, I have come across and been at the receiving end of this very natural, as many feel, process for a long time. And like every other girl I totally detest it. This blog is however not against males, its just a very general summation of some incidences ,all real, some narrated, that formed my views on the subject.

 I was travelling in a bus and like always I was standing at the front of the bus. The backside is generally full of men and any female with some brains, or given the option, would avoid the jungle. Before two stops to my place, a man somewhere in his middle thirties, entered the bus from the front door. I remember two aunties scolding him for coming from the front, and in the process of them squeezing away from him, I was pushed from my place next to him. I do not remember anything else about that journey. I got down from the bus at my stop. As soon as the bus moved away , the bus stop was really crowded, a girl came running towards me and took off her dupatta and put it on me. I was really shocked at the turn of events and scolded her. I thought she was a maniac. Then she whispered in my ear 'Your back is torn right through'.I was trying to comprehend the situation when I felt the sudden pain on my back. I asked her to accompany me to the nearby public restroom. It was only when I reached there that I realized what had happened. The man, I assume since according to me another woman would receive no sadistic pleasure at seeing my bare back, had cut right through my dress, also cutting my back at several places with a blade, tactfully though cos I never once felt anything. I was bleeding and very very frightened. The girl offered to accompany me home. Only when I reached home, and after hours of coaxing by parents, I was able to cry myself to sleep.  I was 14 when this happened. The incident however lived with me for years. I used to keep searching for that lunatic. And for months, I never took the bus. I can never forget how helpless I felt that day.

It was Diwali. I was visiting the mall with dad, weekend shopping, looking forward to emptying dad's wallet. We were at a Levis store. I saw this really pretty girl wearing a scarf as a top,coming into the shop. Everyone at the store was staring at her. She walked into another section of the store and I entered a trial room. I was still struggling to fit into the one-size small jeans when I heard a scream. Then I heard somebody crying. And many voices shouting. I quickly put on my clothes and ran out ,heading towards the sounds. The girl had been wrapped in a shawl and was being taken to the restroom. I went behind her. Two guys had untied the scarf at the back and it had come off. Before anybody could understand the situation, they had made escape. She was crying, and me and two other girls tried to pacify her. She was an NRI from Australia. ' Everyone had told me not to come to India. I was the one bent upon visiting this hell.' We tried to explain to her that India is still very conservative and her dressing had caused the commotion. 'What kind of excuse is that for this kind of treatment? How can somebody undress me like that just cos I don’t dress like the gals out here?'. Me and dad dropped her back to the hotel she was put up in. And she took the next flight from Delhi back home. I remember discussing this incident with many people, and most of them blamed it on the girl's callous attitude.

I was seven then. I was home alone. Parents had gone to the nearby market after administering long lectures about not opening the door to strangers. I was playing with my dolls.The bell rang. I went to the door and saw bhaiyya. He was a distant relative. Since he was no stranger to me, he used to come over quite often, I opened the door and let him in. After playing for a while with me and my dolls, he asked me to sit on his lap. Before I could fathom the rest, he started kissing me. I was too small to resist or stop him. He kept telling me that he likes me a lot thus justifying him touching me. Just then the bell rang and after talking to my parents for some time, he left. I was too ashamed about what had happened and very scared. Although too small to realize the gravity of the situation I somehow understood that something wrong had happened. I burst out crying and midst continuous and patient questioning, I told my parents everything. I remember the helplessness I saw on my dad's face then. My dad and his friends beat up the guy and I never saw him again. However many years later the incident still haunts me. Although much older today,physical intimacy still leaves me in jitters.

There are many more incidents, most of which are too horrifying to be narrated here, the point however is that are females always to blame for what happens. I agree some girls dress provocatively, but is that reason enough to strip someone's pride in public. Why do I have to walk around wearing clothes that I'm not comfortable in just cos I don’t want to gather unwanted attention. Why should I dress for anybody but myself. Why as an individual I don’t have the basic right to decide on something as personal as my dressing. I have often come across people who gasp and comment when a girl wears unsuitable clothes according to them.I did four years of my college in a very reserved part of South India, where all girls would wear were salwars, mostly very conservative. Such incidents are not fewer there. Who then is to blame. How could a seven year old girl woo a man. The problem is not with the clothes you wear or the way you behave, although sometimes, agreed, that could be a factor, but mostly the guilty are sadists or psychos. All I have to say to people who blame the victims in most incidents is that when it happens to you, its never your fault. Eve-teasing is not a story, its very real and its all around you. As girls when it happens to you, stand up and speak for yourself, and when it happens to someone near who cant handle it, take the responsibility to do so for them. Parents and friends might often advise you to keep quite and not make a hue and cry in such incidences, but if you are hurt, react. If need be, raise your hand. And as men, if you can help someone in distress who you know requires help go ahead, be a man and never never encourage eve-teasing. The incidents are forgotten , but the fear never is.

14 comments:

eldhosem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
athi said...

d ppl who crack it should completely break it open..
crack karke chhod diya toh panga ho sakta hai :)

sashankj said...

What this society needs is to break free from all the taboos.. especially from the biggest taboo of all -the three letter word 'SEX'. Eve-teasing is the outcome of a desperate and frustrated mind ( or to be specific - a fustrated organ between the legs :P)..But in a land where 'Dance bars' are targets for self appointed moral policemen and shows from MTV are termed not fit for public viewing.. the frustrations will continue for generations to come..

eldhosem said...

looks like someone has a point..

chaitanya said...

I am also completely against this dirty eve-teasing infact I agree wid ur sentence : I agree some girls dress provocatively, but is that reason enough to strip someone's pride in public.....But such cases are very rare in india atleast now a days and i m sorry 4 it.....I jst want 2 knw wat s the girls(atleast some who dnt hav dresing sense)intention in wearing such provoking dresses in public...I wonder if a girl in salwar is nt comfortable,den how cud she be comfortable in tight jeans and tops???Atleast wen roaming in public places the dress shouldnt be so akward to draw the attention of public.Atleast the girls broughtup in india shud know its culture and the typical mind set of indian people ofcourse men..
Wat i feel is dat a girl shudnt gve chance to others...shuldnt initiate people evn to comment dem....

sawan said...

bold words!

athi said...

@chaitanya

u thk waering tight jeans n tops s being provocative..? then i have nothing to say... :D seems d blog ws a waste

sawan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sawan said...

chaithanya, considering the fact that all men dont have so deep conservative thoughts, you may consider avoiding the generic term :-)
maybe the location could influence the crowd and the attitude, but india is such a big country and i dont agree with your words "Atleast the girls broughtup in india shud know its culture and the typical mind set of indian people ofcourse men.." dont brand "indian men" ;-)

Senorita said...

Athi...you ar right when you say we are conditioned...groomed to bear this from a young age...while walking on the road I pretend to be deaf, refuse to acknowledge the lewd comments that are thrown my way...I stopped travelling by bus after being groped several times...it costs money to travel by a rickshaw but at least my dignity is intact...atleast I do not arrive at my destination in tears of frustration at not being able to retaliate...
I did retaliate once at the railway station... this person nicely parked his hand on my bottom...just turned around and slapped him in full view of the other passengers...before anyone realised what had happenned the fellow ran away...the entire society is conditioned...the men folk are not chided when they strut their stuff dressed in nothing but shorts but the girl child is required to be covered...I totally agree with you "Although much older today,physical intimacy still leaves me in jitters"...

Sunil Kumar said...

great athi...
u r the voice of millions who are facing the similar problems every second

Vin said...

hey athi, pls check out this site: http://blog.blanknoise.org/

amit nambiar >> said...

classic!

let me me frank in saying.. it's not just females who get to see this kind of behaviour.. i have faced similar experiences when i was a kid, from lots of bhayyia's.. but i was not strong enough then, to describe these things to my parents.

after when my body became manly, no one dared to touch :)

awesome work, appreciate it.

-Amit

Chander Sharma said...

Great and bold words..It takes a heart of iron to accept all these incidents happened with you..It is common all over the world to tease the girls physically and verbally and its almost impossible to change men's mentality until they are educated in terms of culture not in grades. I myself never encourage eve teasing at any cost and no girl should do that too..Just raise ur hand and teach a lesson to the one doing it