“Oh my gosh! What’s wrong with me……why were the boys whistling and shouting at me. If my father gets to know it, he’ll kill me”, reads Harjit’s diary
“Day by day, it’s getting difficult to travel by bus. The pinching and the lewd comments are just too much and on top of it no one helps me ……they behave like mute spectators. How many times do I have to change my route?? ”, reads Sheena’s personal diary.
Years have passed by, but the problem faced by women is still the same — Eve Teasing.
Eve teasing has become a part of every young girl’s life. It has become a rampant social evil. It is all pervasive – beaches, roads, cinema halls, buses and sadly even in educational institutions. When eve-teasing persists even inside educational institutions, one can obviously infer that even the educated youth don’t necessarily desist from indulging in this uncouth behaviour.
It may come as a surprise but the definition of eve teasing is somewhat like this:
Eve teasing is a euphemism used in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan for public sexual harassment, street harassment or molestation of women by men, with Eve being a reference to the biblical Eve. Many feminists and voluntary organizations have suggested that the expression be replaced by a more appropriate term. According to them, considering the semantic roots of the term in Indian English, eve-teasing refers to the temptress nature of Eve, placing responsibility on the woman as a tease, as though the aggressive response of the males was normal rather than criminal.
Now do you feel proud to be an Indian? Be it the metros or the small towns, this menace is every where. People often label it as “harmful fun” but when this fun turns into something serious they refuse to act or comment. Eve teasing is not restricted to obscene behaviour or crude remarks, it has degrees to it. At times refusing advances could lead to adverse consequences; acid attacks, physical and sexual assault.
“25-year-old student, who was injured in an acid attack allegedly by a spurned lover and his two associates in Andhra Pradesh’s Warangal town three weeks ago, died at a hospital here Wednesday. After battling for life for 20 days, Swapnika succumbed to her injuries at a private hospital”, every one of us have read these kinds of articles in our daily newspaper. Victims who are lucky enough to live are treated like untouchables as if it was there fault. These incidents scar the victim’s life forever. More than the physical marks, the mental and emotional trauma is harder to over come.
The conviction rate is extremely low. “Victims do not report the incidents. Some take it as a one-off situation and this gives confidence to the perpetrators to get with it. The next victim suffers more because of no complaint. Girls should muster up the courage and talk about it to elders or people in authority, so these sick men can be taught a stern lesson. We as a police force have become more women friendly. We have special cells with dedicated hot lines. A number of self defense and awareness camps are organized”, according to S.P Anuradha Singh
Molestation by a total stranger can be humiliating but by a known person or worse by a family member can shatter the personality. The person feels isolated and betrayed.
“I’m horrified and shocked. What a disgusting and frustrated man, he is my mom’s elder brother and thinks he owns us. Bloody hell!!!… Oh God, what should I do? Can’t tell my father and brother as that would lead to unnecessary fights, even my mom doesn’t know how to deal with this situation”, writes Ali after being molested by her uncle on daughter’s day.
“I have come a crossed many scared girls. They are confused and helpless and don’t know how to tell their parents. Many of them become hesitant to talk to their fathers or interact with boys. It’s a serious matter, the parents especially the father has to understand the child”, says Nandini a child counselor.
There is absolutely no point in telling how to keep your self safe. Every Indian women knows the regular tips, it’s the men who need to behave themselves. Start treating women as humans not some sexual object. Not only the perverts but “well- behaved” men should also learn to raise their voice. And the society must stop blaming the girls, nobody enjoys being groped or pinched by a stranger. If things don’t change now, even our daughters will face the same humiliation.
The names are fictitious but the incidents are not. Today this happened with them, tomorrow it could happen with you. Act now! Voice yourself!
The writer is a Delhi based correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.