This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Anjee Bhatia. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

I Grew Up In A Society That Normalises Street Harassment, Here’s Why I Refuse To Give In!

By Anjee Bhatia:

I was twelve when I started traveling alone. I had just started high school and it was newfound independence, the first few days of which I savoured.

I was thirteen when I was followed by a middle-aged dudh wala on a cycle. I had just turned thirteen, and was returning from school. Like any other day, I had taken a rickshaw from the metro station. He started following me from where the rickshaw dropped me, he almost followed me home. I was terrified, even though my parents had taught me what to do if I was followed.

Picture from Slutwalk Kolkata 2013
Picture from Slutwalk Kolkata 2013

I was almost fourteen when I first noticed catcalls, singing, and whistling. I finally knew what it felt like to be objectified on the roads, every single day.

I was fourteen and was sitting in the front seat of an auto when the auto driver kept “accidentally” touching my not-so-developed breasts. I was too scared to object or get down from the auto. He was driving recklessly, and smirking. When my stop did come, his grubby cold hands lingered on my hand while I paid him his fare. I stopped trusting autowallahs for a long time after that.

I was fifteen when I realised how unsafe public space was for me, and most other women. I was fifteen when I learned the “virtues” of changing routes, avoiding dark lanes and covering up in public spaces. I learned to not talk too loudly, not to smile, and not to attract attention to myself.

I learned that I should be prepared to be sexually harassed when I stepped out of the house. I was told that this struggle will never stop. That I was not the only one. My mom had gone through it, and so had my friends. This was the way of life, and I had to accept it. I struggled with dual feelings of acceptance and outrage.

I was fifteen-and-a-half when a middle-aged man with a huge belly followed me to my tuition. He used to stand opposite to my house, in front of the gate of an all-girls school. He followed me for the longest five minutes of my life while making obscene gestures with his fingers near his crotch.

I was shivering with fear when I frantically rang the bell of my tuition teacher’s house. After two hours of coaching, I was too scared to go back home. I was fifteen-and-a-half, and my teacher had to call someone to pick me up. I refused to go to tuition for the next three days. On the fourth day, I was escorted by a trusted acquaintance.

I still shudder when I think of that man and his obscene gestures.

I was sixteen when people started staring at my breasts and cleavage. On buses, in metros, and on the road. I was sixteen when I started carrying safety pins on public transport. I was sixteen when I learned to protect myself in crowded places by sticking out my elbows and stamping on the feet of men who came too near. I was sixteen when I started wearing my backpack in the front instead of the back.

I was sixteen when I started keeping a record of the days that I was harassed. At the end of the month, I had been harassed for twenty-five out of thirty days. I had not stepped out of my home the five days I was not harassed.

I was seventeen when a man sitting next to me in an auto tried to grope my right breast. I shuddered but asked him loudly what he was doing. He stopped. The other passengers shrugged, and I saw the autowallah smirk in the mirror. I was twenty when I was followed again. I was not scared this time, just defiant and angry. I got rid of the follower soon. I changed routes. I found a crowd. I spotted him on my way back but he didn’t spot me.

I was twenty-one when I slapped a guy for following me till the metro station. He was bewildered. The crowd didn’t react. I went on my way, feeling a mix of pride and anger.

I was twenty-two when my thirteen-year-old sister saw a middle-aged man with a huge belly masturbate outside the gate of our house.

I was twenty-two when my sister punched a guy in the nose for catcalling.

I was twenty-two when I stopped caring about my cleavage showing in crowded buses. I was twenty-two when I stopped blaming myself for being harassed. I was twenty-two when I started getting over my body image issues. I was twenty-two when I decided that I wanted to actively fight against street harassment. I was twenty-two when I joined my first movement against street harassment, slut-shaming, and victim-blaming.

I am twenty-four now and no, I won’t stop being outraged when people are harassed. Because using public space is still a battle for half the population. Because most people are not aware of how traumatising street harassment can be. Because street harassment cases and molestation incidents are still dismissed as unimportant.

Because we need to talk about this more often, and because it’s time we demanded safer public spaces.

You must be to comment.
  1. Babar

    -I was twelve when I started travelling alone.
    -I was sixteen when people started staring at my breasts and cleavage.
    -I was fifteen when I learned the “virtues” of changing routes, avoiding dark lanes.

    You have mentioned the cause of your problems yourself. I do not need to say anything further.

    1. J

      @Babar. Go get a life dude.

    2. Naomi Ganzu

      What do you mean?

    3. Cees Tompot

      Babar, yesterday I thought you just pretended to not understand. Now I,m convinced that there still is a long way for you to travel before you can call yourself an adult.
      It never, no never is the girls mistake when she is harrassed. No man has the right to treat another human being without basic respect whatever the circumstances.
      And babar, why are you hiding behind an alias?

    4. Babar

      Apart from the obvious exaggerations in the article, you have also eluded the obvious in my comment, so let me break it down for you. It is not normal for twelve year olds to travel alone, looking at the prevalent, imminent dangers. The question is not about why a girl cannot or should not be independent when she is barely a teenager, but whether it is worth it, looking at the dangers that lurk out there. Let me give an analogy. If someone goes to bed at night and doesn’t lock their doors, citing that it is their right what they choose to do with the doors, and that the mentality of thieves needs to change, obviously it is not going to make sense. Furthermore, the author has written that people used to stare at her breasts and cleavage when she was sixteen. Please explain to me why a sixteen year old needs to show her cleavage? Now I know you will reply stating that it is her cleavage and she has the right to wear what she wants, but then again, if the reaction of people makes her uncomfortable, then what loss is she going to incur if she covers up? Lastly, the sarcasm that the author has used while stating how she learnt that she should avoid dark lanes is appalling to say the least. What exactly is wrong in being safe? And just to let you know, men have been mugged, stabbed, robbed, and killed in dark alleys. Boys get molested and raped too, when they are out alone. Safety is not just a woman’s issue.

    5. Avinesh Saini

      The king of trolls. How come the admin doesn’t delete your insightful comments?

    6. Amused

      Baber! My friend! Glad to see you yet again. Was almost afraid that you might have gotten some sense finally after religiously following all these articles on women’s rights. But thank god you are still as moronic as ever. Please educate us all by letting us know women’s place and clear dos and don’ts for her. Also in favor of general good, please tell us tales (with stats) on men’s sorry state in this women dominated world. And do not forget to put what Canadians stats say, which obviously is true for the whole planet. And how suppressed male specie is since the first amoeba swam in.

    7. Sam

      Only if he understood sarcasm, he would’ve almost got what you are trying to say 😀

    8. N

      And what was the cause of her problems? Pray tell us. We could not understand your thought process. Was it her age? So is she not supposed to grow? Or was it ‘travelling alone’? Or learning to shake off predators by taking the trouble of changing routes/avoiding dark lanes etc? Or having the gall to have breasts? Or was it going out at all? The crime of being seen. What exactly the cause Baber. We would like to know

    9. D Gill

      Again Babar, not sure what your issue is with the other half of humanity, but you clearly have serious issues. Maybe a confused, spiteful closet case perhaps? Your comments are redundant and a bore. Again, move on and get a new hobby or some therapy.

    10. ishita bhatia

      hi, babar. i will deconstruct your argument point by point.

      1. “obvious exaggeration”: are you a woman? if yes, you are lucky that you have not had these experiences. if no, then you cannot imagine what females have to endure on a daily basis. i can vouch that all of the incidents talked of are quite true, being the thirteen year old sister mentioned.

      2. “It is not normal for twelve year olds to travel alone, looking at the prevalent, imminent dangers.”: the entire point of the article is that these dangers shouldn’t exist. that public places are unsafe for women, and that this needs to change. i will not comment on your definition of ‘normal’.

      3. “If someone goes to bed at night and doesn’t lock their doors, citing that it is their right what they choose to do with the doors, and that the mentality of thieves needs to change, obviously it is not going to make sense.”: it appals me that you compare sexual harassment/assault with property theft. are you implying that women are property? this is victim blaming illogic.

      4. “Please explain to me why a sixteen year old needs to show her cleavage?”: please explain why a girl/woman cannot do, with her own body, what she wants to? moreover, you very conveniently skipped over the fact that people stared at the author’s covered breasts too. whether a woman’s body is covered or uncovered is irrelevant; what IS relevant is that her body is constantly commodified.

      5. “the sarcasm that the author has used while stating how she learnt that she should avoid dark lanes is appalling to say the least. What exactly is wrong in being safe?”: absolutely nothing. i reiterate, the point of the article is that women should not HAVE to take these measures, because they should always feel safe wherever they go.

      6. “men have been mugged, stabbed, robbed, and killed in dark alleys. Boys get molested and raped too, when they are out alone.”: exactly why we advocate for a better society where people feel safe in public spaces, regardless of gender. no one is denying that men get raped too, but that is off-topic. this article is specifically about street harassment, which males do not have to face on a regular basis.

      i repeat myself quite a bit, but i thought it necessary since your points were quite irrational. thank you.

    11. tanisha

      that was brilliant. The problem is that the danger exists. I don’t know why these people take it as an obvious thing. Its fucking wrong ! it is not “involuntary” and its disgusting that you think its normal .

    12. S

      Mr. Baber’s problem is not comprehension. His problem is people talking about women as humans, when they actually should have been talking about men.

    13. adya

      and what exactly is the cause?

  2. Naomi Ganzu

    Very well written Anjee. While reading your article, I was teleported to the time, when such things happened with me.
    We just need to stop taking their “shit” like we are supposed to “clean” it.

  3. Dushyant

    Anjee very well presented writeup.
    I am all for my sister or girlfriend to face up and punch the molester and instead of being a victim.
    Surely, we’ll have people commenting that we need to understand the prevalent dangers and not face it, but avoiding a situation isn’t same as solving it.

  4. Shariff

    This is just a piece of shit that keeps repeating all over the internet..
    will you leave ur house unlocked and then protest that the thieves mentality has to changed..? No..Right..? What if you dont show your cleavage to every other guy on the road..?

    1. tanisha

      Its not easy to accept to oneself. I applaud your courage . and to all those who think that if you don’t want to be raped why are you showing your body. If you don’t want to get slapped why are you showing me your face !

    2. ffareedd

      Dear shariff! Do u have a sister? I guess not.. coz when she gets stared and molested and groped by some asshole..wud u still tell her that its bullshit and i read it smwhr on internet or wud u go and beat the hell out of tht not-so-guy?? I guess u shud check ur mentality and standards b4 playing pee ka boo with a lonely sisters’ chest…

    3. adya

      Hey shariff. What is wrong if someone’s breasts can be seen? I thought they were organs to feed babies.

  5. Aseem

    Why do you need to make it graphic description? You want to sell the story by making it spicy.

    Why do you need “right breast” in story while you could have used “touching inappropriately”

    1. sneha sayankrut

      Hi Anjee, Kudos, very well written, very realistic article. The way you have mentioned ” Right Breast” and one Aseem has sais you made this article spicy my graphic description so Aseem hear me out.

      @ When one gets harassed, its not like something that one can wipe out. It happens to many girls. Happened with me too and still i remember that it was on right side or left side. That feeling does not go away even after continuous showers so yes the girl still remembers all the graphics.

    2. S

      Difficult to hear isn’t it? Now imagine that someone had to go through it!

    3. Anjee Bhatia

      Hi Aseem

      Did “graphically” talking about my right breast make you uncomfortable? The fact that a stranger tried to touch my breast should make you more uncomfortable.

      Many women live in fear of strangers thrusting their penises or other objects in their vagina. Does that make you uncomfortable?

    4. Kavya

      Cleavage is more prominent for women who are fatter. Breasts are there to provide for nourishment for human babies and so they are full of blood vessels and nerve endings. This makes breasts very sensitive and easily aroused, exactly the same way that penises are. These are facts about the human body.

      There are some psychological aspects beyond that.
      No man or woman would like to have their body commodified, even if they themselves choose to be part of any kind of sex-related products. The same logic applies: no one would want even their parents to see them even semi-naked.

      The problem that is being addressed here is that many public spaces are unsafe. More so, for girls and women. Boys and men too get raped/mugged, but still no one fears if a male has to go out to run a small errand after dusk. Reason is simple: that statistics of men getting raped/molested is nearly insignificant compared to the amount women get molested/raped in public places and during day too.

      Yes, children of age 12 may need to travel alone to go to school, tuitions, dance, music etc classes. It is a sad fact that girls get to know that their breasts are developing, when they suddenly start noticing that neighbourhood uncle, or the friendly shopkeeper has started talking to their chests and not their faces. They get to know it even more when parents stop them from playing outside once puberty hits, or asks to not reveal to their brother as to why they get a carefully packaged cover every month, or when their ever loving and caring dads suddenly become insensitive to the daughter’s monthly pains and cries.

  6. Babar

    Hello, Ms. Bhatia

    the entire point of the article is that these dangers shouldn’t exist.

    Dangers exist for both men and women in every corner of the world. There is not a single country in the world which can claim to be free of danger, for either sex.

    it appals me that you compare sexual harassment/assault with property theft.

    The only comparison I am making is that of crime vs safety. Dangers exist, and we must take precaution.

    please explain why a girl/woman cannot do, with her own body, what she wants to?

    In that case, please explain to me why men can’t do whatever they want with their eyes? I hope you are able to see your double standard. To men, a woman showing her cleavage is just as obnoxious as it is for a woman to have a man look at her cleavage.

    you very conveniently skipped over the fact that people stared at the author’s covered breasts too.

    The only time someone can stare at a girls covered breasts is when she is wearing something skin tight. Girls are more than welcome to wear a loose shalwar kameez, with a dupatta.

    i reiterate, the point of the article is that women should not HAVE to take these measures, because they should always feel safe wherever they go.

    I find that amusing, Ms. Bhatia. We live on planet earth. Nowhere in the world can any human being feel safe all the time. This is regardless of gender or geographical location.

    exactly why we advocate for a better society where people feel safe in public spaces, regardless of gender.

    Regardless of where you live in the world, it gets dangerous after dark, especially in isolated places, for both men and women. You must learn to be safe.

    1. pratyartha

      Babar, I’m with you, especially when you expose women’s double standards in the 3rd point. Women can’t live in denial anymore arguing they have nothing to do about this issue. That is plain bullshit. If safety is the only concern, then literally every citizen should be protesting against the Govt.

    2. Sam

      Dude, you should have your face broken sometimes by people who are not as idiot as you are… Just for fun you know… I know it won’t make you understand or anything but it will give the people with brains someone to release their anger on…

    3. kamal

      Lets join together to eradicate all evils off planet earth.

    4. sneha sayankrut

      @ Babar, i will quote your words below:
      ” If someone goes to bed at night and doesn’t lock their doors, citing that it is their right what they choose to do with the doors, and that the mentality of thieves needs to change, obviously it is not going to make sense.”
      You have compared thieves with dirty minded people. wow simply wow. What thieves take away can be returned or can be bought again. But what these dirty uncles take away can never be returned. Hope you understand.
      Little children under 10 have been molested, you cant really tell them to cover up or lock their doors.

    5. adya

      as long as people like you keep thinking the world is unsafe, it won’t be safe. why is there a need for theft? because more often than people are dying of hunger? why is there rape? because men feel they can do anything they want to.
      children are born without clothes, clearly clothes are not even natural.
      there is a difference between looking at something and staring in a disgusting manner. wearing something does not offend other people, but if someone stares at you, it does.

  7. Radhika

    That is a very neatly written piece of work! Each and every line here has a huge relevance to mine and my sister’s life. Every time we have to walk alone, we feel so exposed and danger lurking large. We have always been taught to ignore or forget such incidents that happen in our daily lives. Regardless of what we wear, people stare and at all wrong places! I have a 6 yr-old daughter who sits behind me on the bike..once, while in a traffic signal, she held to me so tight and i asked her what had happened..she pointed out a man who was around his 40’s. He was making obscene gestures at her. Its disgusting to state, but yes..she does face such issues at this naive age! I stand up for this cause because every girl i know has faced it and more so because i do not want my daughter or any other child to.

  8. Templetwins

    I’ve stated before and I will reiterate again. The term (sexual)harassment could mean anything for the law states it is something that makes a woman uncomfortable, the definition itself is problematic. It relies on her feelings however irrational and assumed it may be.

    Secondly I am against, groping, cat calling, any form of verbal or physical harassment but however staring is not one of those. You may feel disgusted or uncomfortable when someone stares at your cleavage or your shaved legs, the same discomfort and feeling of disgust could be attributed to someone who is a trad-con by seeing your cleavage/shaved legs. You may say ‘look away’ perhaps the same response should be given to you..look away if someone stares at you. He/she is not touching you or invading your personal space or verbally abusing you, he/she will deal with your cleavage, if you deal with his/her staring.

    Thirdly as stated by Babar no society is free from any crimes. Crimes happen to everybody in a different way. Why crimes happen may have several reasons including poverty, social negligence, sexual repression, hunger, mental illness, addiction, gender empathy gap etc. So how are you going to solve all these social ills? All I see is ‘I faced this, I faced that’. What are you going to do to solve it? Without solving the rest of the social ills how can you alone could be free? No one is free until everyone is free. Stating your issues gives you is a soap box of how much of a victim you are, we got it? what else?

    1. Anjee Bhatia

      Hi Templetwins, how are doing today?

      Let me start by telling you the dictionary definition of sexual harassment- uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature”

      Now let me point out that IPC issues punishment for the following sexual harassment acts.
      Molestation ( unwelcome physical contact, explicit sexual overtures )
      Teasing ( words, gestures, action towards a person which are sexual in nature or have a sexual purpose.)
      Stalking
      Photography without consent
      Rape and Gang Rape

      Secondly why would anyone with sense make another person uncomfortable by staring? Like, you said if you don’t want to see someone’s body part- a cleavage, a shaved leg, hands, mouth just look away. Sadly, looking away when someone stares at and makes you uncomfortable is not going to solve the problem. The starer won’t stop staring.

      You talk about crime. Well, yes we live in a society full of criminals. Sexual harassment is a crime. Ask at any Police station. Or look up the IPCs. I understand that you mean to imply that people should not complain against criminals?

      I faced “criminals” many times. Don’t I have the right to talk about it? You want me to stop talking because it makes you uncomfortable? Stating this issue has opened a discussion and that was the only point of this article. What else?

      P.S- you’re right. No one is free until everyone is. Then let’s all be free to use public spaces like roads, transport, shops etc.

    2. Templetwins

      Hi Anjee, Im gud thanks for asking, how about you?

      What is welcoming and unwelcoming and who decides it? Based on what? Sometimes two guys who tried the same cheesy lines had become a potential bf/fuck buddy or a harasser based on how attractive/flattering he is to the woman he approached. Hence I said that the definition is problematic. It revolves around how a woman feels about the the guy who approaches her for relationship/sex.

      Sadly, looking away when someone stares at and makes you uncomfortable is not going to solve the problem. The starer won’t stop staring.

      Like I said, a conservative person who would feel uncomfortable seeing your cleavage or shaved legs. And looking away is not going to stop you from wearing such attires. So it wont solve their problem too.

      No it doesn’t make me uncomfortable for you to say how much of a victim you are. I am not asking you to not to state your problem but also state your solution. We get that it happens like murder, kidnapping, extortion etc! What else? We have invisible chains in different way, so there is no one solution for all our bondage.

  9. Prajakta

    Just Amazing! I am very very proud of you! <3 so much more power to you!

  10. Spycandy

    Fantastic article. And to all the people who are blaming women for having breasts – you are probably the ones harassing women. Get some self control and get help for your issues instead of blaming us for being born female

  11. White Woman In India

    Great article and something I face on a daily basis. I happen to get stared at because I am considered a “foreigner” because my skin color is white. Little do people realize I live in India.

    I respectfully disagree with “Templetwins” about staring. It makes the person stared at feel very uneasy and I have seen man literally “rape me with their eyes”. Even if the person staring is not invading my personal space or touching me, it doesn’t make me feel any less uncomfortable. I am not a piece of meat to be stared at, I’m a human being. In my home country, we consider staring to be very very rude. I have told people to look away in hindi… now I yell at them, sometimes, swear at them, ask them what they are looking at and sometimes I just ignore them.

    I have been sexually assaulted, had men brush up against me and follow me. I use my elbows as a weapon so they can’t get close to my breasts, walk with pepper spray in my hand but the one thing I refuse to do is blame myself. I have worn the so called “ethnic wear” of India along with the dupatta. Now in conservative areas I stick with capris and tank tops, in places like Goa I relish my time in shorts and tank tops… it is hot!

    I know the hollywood movies don’t help, people think white people are just easy and will sleep with any guy who asks. They find out how wrong they are, when they cross my path.

    I don’t know what it is like to be an Indian girl and face all the distress this writer has faced. I sympathize and empathize with the hell she has been put through. Times are slowly changing. Keep writing, keep advocating for female equality, keep doing the slut walks. Don’t let the naysayers stop you! One day I hope India moves more towards equal genders, like in my home country. One day, I hope parents teach their children that staring is rude. One day, I hope foreign women and indian women alike can walk down the streets and feel safe. It is only by educating the population and speaking out that this will happen.

    1. Templetwins

      It makes the person stared at feel very uneasy and I have seen man literally “rape me with their eyes”

      Your rights as a scantly clad woman ends where their eyes begin. If you dress in a manner that reveals your body in a sexualized way, they are going to look at you sexually whether you like it or not. It’s within men’s nature to be visually attracted to women in such ways and it would appear women want men to deny their nature while women are allowed to embrace their own.

      No one raped you visually. To rape is to penetrate by definition and we cant penetrate you visually, so no rape occurred by staring at you. It made you uneasy? Many conservative people feel uneasy by seeing scantly clad women? So your freedom to dress how you want should be restricted since someone felt uneasy? So why do you think you have to restrict their freedom to stare? In your home country staring is rude? How about be as Romans when you are in Rome, perhaps be more conservative in India or stop complaining about staring. Use what you want, elbows or otherwise if they go beyond staring. How about those animals in zoo whom you stare rape all the time because they look different from you? People stare at anything thats odd or different or if they are curious about it. Which country are you from by the way?

    2. S

      You are a apologist for rapists, sir.

      The problem is not whether they are going to look or not. They anyway do. Even without reading your comment. The problem is that they should not be doing it. And why do you assume that she is dressed in a manner which reveals her body? She spoke about Indian attire and capris and tank tops. When is that revealing. Or are you from the brigade who thinks that the proper attire for women is burka and proper place is kitchen?

      And the stares do rape us with eyes. Rape is defined as penetration, yes (although a wider definition is on its way), but it doesn’t mean a women do not feel abused when someone stares us down. You are just splitting words here. But don’t think something good can be expected out of a closed minded misogynist person like you.

      Whatever country she is from is much better civilized that us. For a fact, I feel much safer and comfortable when I am outside of India. There people do not stare hungrily at you usually. And if someone does it, they have less number of idiots defending the stare and more civil people denouncing it.

    3. Templetwins

      I didn’t condone rape in any of my comment. So your accusation about me being a rape apologist merely shows that you are the kind who would be ready to falsely accuse someone who have a different opinion than you.

      Let me tell you again. People don’t have the right to dictate what cloths you must wear and you don’t have the right to dictate where to look. Period. Like I said people look for many reason because it is different, odd or curious? A tank top can be modest and sexy, depends on how deep is your cleavage and how lose is your tank top or how big is your breasts and the fabric of your tank top, if it is transparent or if you have pointy nipples etc. I don’t dictate what a women should wear burka or otherwise. It is just your complain about staring which I have a problem with.

      Stares do rape you with eyes? You are doing a disservice to all the rape victims by diluting what rape means. Women are feeling abused when someone stares? Well celibate men feel abused by seeing your cleavage and shaved legs on the street too? Are you going to change yourself because someone felt something by seeing you? I always say ‘we are the creators of our own feelings’.

      I am sure in her country there might be an epidemic of single mothers who drove their husbands away and took them to cleaners through divorce. I am sure in her country the suicide rate of men must be higher than women. I am sure in her country the politicians pander to women for votes. I am sure in her country any criticism against women is seen as misogyny and white knights come to aid to save the damsels. So eff your civilization! You feel safer and comfortable outside India, GTFO.

    4. akshita prasad

      Well, your perspective is merely sad.

    5. S

      First a certain bunch of people would refuse to accept that a safe world for women is not only women’s responsibility. Instead of asking them to not do something, they should be asking the others to not do what they are doing. So they come up with thoughtless comments like the one below:

      “People don’t have the right to dictate what cloths you must wear and you don’t have the right to dictate where to look”

      Yes people do not have a right to dictate what I wear and similarly I do not have a right to dictate where they should look. But I ‘do have a right’ to dictate them to not look at me if that is making me uncomfortable. Staring is considered rude generally and as harassment if it makes one uncomfortable. And if the stare is sexual in nature, it is sexual harassment.

      And when one tries to tell them how it is a menace and how it is possible to have a society largely free of it. She is asked to GTFO to where she feels safer. Speaks a lot about the apologists here who believe that its ok for our society to be closed minded and limiting because if someone desires anything better why the F*** she is here. Better GTFO to better places. We are like this only, No point expecting decency from us. Its an affront to our value system.

    6. Templetwins

      First a certain bunch of people would refuse to accept that a safe world for women is not only women’s responsibility.

      I’m a Neitzeschean existentialist who rejects collectivism. So I don’t care what a bunch people refuse to accept and I am no way gynocentric in my world view.

      Instead of asking them to not do something, they should be asking the others to not do what they are doing.

      So you recognize yourself as a protected class and that your rights are more important than others. You are dwelling in your narcissistic bubble and forgetting that you are just like everybody else, not a unique special snowflake.

      Yes people do not have a right to dictate what I wear and similarly I do not have a right to dictate where they should look.

      We are in agreement.

      But I ‘do have a right’ to dictate them to not look at me if that is making me uncomfortable.

      Yes you do have that right if they are looking at you in your bedroom or your private place. But on a public place anyone can look anywhere and feel attracted, disgusted, uncomfortable too.

      But I ‘do have a right’ to dictate them to not look at me if that is making me uncomfortable.

      No you can’t dictate them. Not everything revolves around how you feel. I think your S stands for solipsistic.

      Staring is considered rude generally and as harassment if it makes one uncomfortable.

      By who generally? Women? That is the problem with defining what is harassment, whatever unflattering, unappealing to women is considered harassment, which is why I reject it. Also, It is only sexual harassment if she doesn’t like the guy doing it.

      And when one tries to tell them how it is a menace and how it is possible to have a society largely free of it.

      Just look away S. That’s what I do, when I go for an early morning walk by the beach, I see so many people taking a dump, which I look away, here you complain how others seeing you is same as raping you? You disgust me.

      Speaks a lot about the apologists here who believe that its ok for our society to be closed minded.

      You are one who is close minded. You are shaming male sexuality which is natural, staring is merely an expression of it. They aren’t touching you or blocking your space. To leer could also mean ‘To look with a sidelong glance, indicative especially of sexual desire’. To be sexually attracted to an adult woman is healthy. You find it disgusting stay at home, wear a Burka, see a psychiatrist about your own social anxiety, stop telling everyone else what to think,to look at.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anjxU7ma9Z8

    7. S

      You have 2 habits Templetwin.

      1) You get personal and attack the person who come here for a debate
      2) Your arguments although very well written is very one sided. I wish I had the time to go through each of them and discuss but I know that some mindsets can not be changed. So I would take heart in the fact that there are many whose thinking is different from this and move away from someone whole sole motive is debating and who clearly is not willing to see and understand the life at the other side.

    8. Templetwins

      You get personal and attack the person who come here for a debate.

      I wasn’t even addressing you but your first line to me was ‘You are a apologist for rapists, sir.’ Here you are claiming I get personal and attack the person who come for debate. This is the typical psychological projection at best. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

      Your arguments although very well written is very one sided

      Thanks! but no thanks! The original comment/article was one-sided to begin with, I just filled in and gave a different perspective which is often ignored by our gynocentric society.

      I wish I had the time to go through each of them and discuss but I know that some mindsets can not be changed

      I don’t have a rigid mindset, I was once religious now not so much, yet I am tolerant to others beliefs as well as long they don’t expect me to partake in it. So learning new things, and challenging my pre-existing views is something I like, but you have to be logical and rational instead of trying to appeal to emotions which doesn’t work on me.

      who clearly is not willing to see and understand the life at the other side.

      Oh I’ve seen, heard all the arguments before, that’s why I could make clear arguments because all I see is entitlements. The hypothetical guy who stare at you could probably just do that, he probably knows he’s way out of your league, as long as he doesn’t block your way, cat-call you (not a simple hi babe, but nice tits), try to touch you, I still sympathize with the sexually repressed fellow Indian.

      If you understood the life at the other side too, you probably won’t lump molesters and people who stare at you together but the typical solipsistic, narcissistic harpies with the typical attitude of ‘Avert your gaze, peasant’ won’t understand it.

  12. White Woman In India

    You know I read thru some of these comments and was absolutely disgusted. It is the mentality of people like this that allows the sexual assaults and rapes to continue. What they seem to forget is the girls who were raped and hung from a tree in UP were in full ethnic wear, with every part of their body covered.

    Raping isn’t just about sex, it is also about power. If the lack of clothing was a cause for rape, then every foreigner in Goa would be raped. I have seen so many white woman in shorts and bikinis and no one staring at them. The men in the area are so used to it, it’s like nothing “new”. Why are these Indian men not chasing these women down and raping them? Sure there have been cases of rape in Goa, but I haven’t heard of an Indian man state he felt he needed to rape a girl in a bikini to make her dress proper. How silly and messed up is that!

    Anyways I hope that every women, before getting married, asks her partner what he feels about sexual assault and rape in India. I would not want to be married to the men who blame the women for the way they dress. If your family insists on an arranged marriage and it’s fine with you, make them ask your prospective spouse that question. If it’s considered not respectful ask them yourself. I’d rather know what kind of man I am living with and lose a little “respect”, than to live with a man who feels it’s ok to stare and grope at women and who blame women for sexual assault and rape!!

    Thankfully my husband does not. He saw a girl in a bikini, his first time in Goa and was a little shocked she walked down the road to the beach. I told him it was normal from where these girls come from, they were hot and wanted to tan their skin. The girl next door to our hotel room was laying on the bed in a bikini with her door open and what my husband said was that she should be more aware, anyone could walk in, close the door, lock it and overpower her. Very true. Nowhere in his discussing this bikini issue did he ever mention that they were asking to be raped, sexually harassed or sexually assaulted, and for that I am grateful!

    1. fact

      because he is ur husband ,n for women their husband is a god but other men r molesters ,but u ladies don’t know men r same …..n even women r also same ……

  13. Prashant Kaushik

    Boys prove their courage by drinking ‘Thanda Toofaani’,
    Girls prove their courage by participating in ‘Slutwalk’.

    Clearly, the youth is getting empowered !!!

  14. junaid

    your whole focus on selling stories not presenting truth…so cheap approach from u ppl.

  15. Ritesh

    Even educated and awared men are doing such kind of frraking things. Education system can just teach us. Follwing the things wht we have taught is in our hand and unfortunately few peeps are doing thing. Discussing about this matter is important but pointing out the things which shouldn’t be here makes us one of them. I wish every men can understand that being a women is a matter of pride but we are turning things into a bad way. Shame on every men who is nt rasing voice against it.

  16. ItsJustMe

    I slapped the guy who followed me the metro. Is it not a bit of over reaction? Could have just told him to back off.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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