It’s not just a thought but a voice. One that needs to reach out to everyone possible, not just women but every single person.
I came across a man today at the railway station. He looked like he was in his 40s. I was with my mum and we were waiting for our train at the platform. He saw us and came walking towards us. We occupied seats on one of the benches and he immediately sat on the adjacent one. He kept staring and smiling like he knew me from ages. Well, I’m damn sure he did not. Yet, he continued to stare and smile. I did not bother to look at him. He tried grabbing my attention by striking his fingers against a metal pole right next to me.
Well, I continued to ignore until he increased the amplitude and continued to stare, smile and change his sitting position to directly face me. I turned around with a fierce stare and asked him what his problem was through hand gestures. He didn’t know what to do because it was pretty evident from my expression that if he’d continue I would have lost my cool for sure. Following which, he immediately cleared the place.
This incident might not sound very tragic or as scary as being physically abused, but this is how it all begins. This isn’t the first time it has happened. Well, it feels like being verbally abused, followed, spanked, touched or molested in public or closed places. Such things come with being born as a girl. They don’t care if you’re with someone, be it family, an elder or friends in a group or anyone for that matter. Neither were my clothes so called revealing’ nor was there any kind of a ‘green signal’. Maybe he does have a family, maybe he does not. Finally, it doesn’t depend on what background they have come from. It all depends on that one single thought that is running through their mind. I wonder why women do not get such thoughts in comparison to men! Harassment can be any action that makes someone uncomfortable. And it certainly needs to stop. People should stop blaming women in every circumstance since the thought in the mind of many men is already seeded. Wearing so-called ‘revealing’ clothes cannot be put up as an answer to being harassed when a woman even under a burqa can be harassed in broad daylight. It is certainly the thought and mind process which is to blame and not hormones. It is shameful to even think that people like these exist, especially in a country like India where goddesses are worshipped. It’s a pity to find such people in an era where people are looking forward to women empowerment.
There might be so many young girls and women out there who might have just kept mum every time they had to go through such incidents. Well, I was one among them too. This incident alone hasn’t triggered me to write but it’s the dozens of similar incidents that I’ve gone through and also heard of from my friends and family that has made me reach my peak. They tell us to learn to ignore and move on, but until when? There is no end to this. Every week we come across millions of such incidents but we still continue to ignore. How could women trust men when such issues keep arising. Eventually, even those who are genuinely good are judged.
There has to be a change in the attitude of both men and women. We need to teach and raise children about respecting women and their freedom. Sex education also plays an important role. The taboo related to sex education has to be overcome. This isn’t an issue that should just fade away but it surely should ignite minds. People should think on what changes can be brought about. And realise that there can never be an end to such issues until the change is brought from within. So, let’s hope and pray that people think about changing their attitude for the betterment of our nation and the world as a whole.