We live in a society where rapists and rape incidents dominate the newspaper everywhere and the ‘lesser‘ important offences can never make headlines in our country. Imagine, when every day some of our sisters are being raped in our very own neighbourhood, then who has the time to focus on girls who are ‘merely’ being eve teased, some of them just being groped in public transports or likewise, facing lewd remarks each day from filthy men. We are satisfied that at least they didn’t get raped!
I have no intentions of illustrating a horrific incident; I am sure being ‘proud’ citizens of this patriarchal country, we all have heard enough stories to give chills to our spine. There are chances of my story being forgotten as a routine affair or perhaps ignite us to take a stand, I do not know which would happen nor do I care. Because I think it is shameful that such affairs happen on a routine and nobody really cares.
Ever since I can remember, I have lived in a highly un-organized, almost illegal part of our national capital but never have I thought it to be unsafe. That is the reason why I chose to walk with two of my female batch-mates at around 10:00 pm in the same neighbourhood, discussing life per se. Three young guys, barely old enough to ride a bike, stopped right next to us. They passed an extremely disgusting comment which I am even shameful to reiterate and swiftly raced away. I was not really sure what had happened, I could not even imagine the audacity that these guys had, to do such a thing in the middle of a busy road.
But what was I supposed to do? Was I supposed to yell and abuse them back? Or was I supposed to run after them? Make a police complaint? I was perplexed, half by shock and half by my incapability as to what my next move should have been. Not that I realized that I had been standing there lifeless for quite a while when one of my friends told me, ‘It’s okay, we are used to it. Happens every day in every city’.
I started to think that day; have the girls decided to live with such incidents or are we so helpless in our own society? It is not that I wasn’t aware about such things happening, mostly you see men staring at the girl walking next to you and you either look back at those men or tell them to mind their own business and life is back to being hunky-dory.
This incident which happened a couple of days back, disturbed me to the very core. If this was not verbal sexual molestation then how else can you sexually molest a girl by words? I decided to speak to my elder sister about the issue, not only was I troubled about how I should have reacted but to know whether the girls in our society have really started accepting such indecent behaviour as part of life?
She really had no answer as to what I should have done but she did have a little of her own story to share, which she passionately decided to recite:
“I once remember I was travelling in the bus, this was about 6 years ago when the college crowd used to travel in DU special buses and Metro was not available. It was early morning around 9 when I saw this drunk guy, perhaps must have been drinking all night long, entering the bus. It was not a crowded bus but he decided to stand really close to a girl. I have never understood what is the excitement that they get out of squeezing a girl in public transports. Nonetheless, when that girl moved away, he decided to do the same to my friend. I yelled at him to act decently and behave himself. The guy yelled back at me, saying that he is not bothering me so I should not be concerned. The yelling went on from both sides for 5 minutes when he threatened to do things to me and I have no idea what the guys or the girls were doing watching silently. I, in fact went to the extent of saying that maybe these silent puppets who are just witnessing the show do not care about your misbehaviour but I would not take it. Only after 10 minutes when the next stop came that I was able to get him off the bus. What was worse was that some guy who finally chose to speak after the show, said, wow! Girl power!”
What is the solution that we have when guys instead of supporting and standing for us say, “wow! Girl power”. We take offence every time a guy says something wrong, but what else can we do? What is the solution? I have been repeating the same question to myself, what is the solution? Have heinous crimes in our society grown so much that we are willing to let go off such lesser criminals who one day would develop to become rapists?
I do not say that the society has not improved. Some of our men have surely grown, they think dowry is wrong but getting gifts from in-laws at the time of marriage is alright. They think domestic violence is to be looked down upon but slapping your wife once or twice in a while is alright if she is wrong, you know. Where they and their sisters should get the same education but obviously she cannot claim property rights from ancestral property because she now is married and belongs to another man.
The worst part is that these are the men who would go to the streets protesting against rapes and think of rapists as dogs. These are the men who think it is alright to stare at a girl from top to bottom and scan her body parts. These are the men who think such small things are justified, at least they are not rapists. And hey, marital rape is not rape yaar.
One of my very close friends suggested moving to the Nordic Countries as the only solution, the cold might kill but at least women would be safe. She has decided to pack her bags and move soon, but is that the only option left? Or is there a way for a strong confident girl to live in a society without her modesty being outraged by many guys every day?
I still do not know how I should behave in the future and worse, I still do not know, what IS the solution?