Sexual harassment by strangers is a notoriously difficult crime to prove!
Men’s elbows thrust out to brush against you, someone stands to close behind you, and a variety of comments address you if your dressing includes a skirt, or a short dress. These are some common evils of eve teasing. A thorough look at the newspaper, daily shows, routine life, and organizational settings depicts various crimes being committed against women. Eve teasing is one of the major issues arising in the youth. One of the reasons why eve teasing is so prominent is due to the structure of our Indian society which promotes male domination. Male domination is not a myth; it still exists in our societies. Even though women achieved their right to vote, their opinions don’t hold a very strong position in comparison to the males. Eve teasing is a complex problem, and requires a tremendous amount of attention.
There are many incidents that occur in our day to day lives. I still remember the day; I learnt that even being in a group cannot protect an individual from the evils of eve-teasing. We live in a world where it is hard to walk down a road with some friends without being harassed. I remember the embarrassment, the fear, the anger, the disgust my friend felt on being eve teased by two bikers on her way to the market. She said, they had been stalking her from the moment she left her place. He tried to strike a conversation with one of the common questions, “kya haal hai”? It was easy to ignore at first, but then in the eagerness to show anger, she replied with a smarter answer supposedly, and said, “jo teri behn ka hai”, and started to walk away. Before she could take any step forward, she felt a voice that echoed in her ears and said, “meri behn toh pregnant hai”!
Every step for the victim becomes a step away from bravery and a step towards fear, and surprise when encountered by inappropriate touching which was just a casual walk for her. Such an incident increases the levels of nervousness, nausea, and a feeling that someone owns you. The victim suffers a loss of self-esteem, faith, and dignity. People, friends, family, and relatives say “pay attention to the surroundings”, but does that mean I cannot even breathe without paying attention?
We Indians have a habit of using proverbs for every situation. This habit encourages us with the saying, “tumhare ghar mein maa, behn nahin hai”? But we never visualize the effects of such sayings until we don’t tend to encounter such incidents that are full of disgust. Males have become so heartless that whether it is the system, the public, their families, nothing can prevent their inappropriate actions towards females.
Gender discrimination is hampering the growth of our society. Females are said to be equal, but are never treated equal due to the centrally rooted values in our traditions. Past revolutions in the country have contributed to the individuality of women in the world. It is said to be bad if a female leaves her house without being accompanied by her brother or father, but with the improvement in education and female work aura it has become essential for the women to become independent in order to maintain her current status and rights. Even today females are treated as their property by many males in our society.
A large percentage of Indian women have faced or are facing this menace. Whether it is a public transport system, public places, shopping malls, or multiplexes, women find themselves vulnerable to the threat of eve teasing everywhere. It can be in the form of using inappropriate signs, touching without consent, passing awful sexual comments, or stalking. Victims feel they are surrounded by evil eyes, and are in the hands of predators. According to some feminist writers this behaviour is considered a kind of “little rape”.
Some incidents prove to be shocking, but some leave a mark that haunts our personal identity. They leave heavy amount of guilt and hatred towards oneself. Victims deal with the feeling of humiliation and helplessness. With the increase in the violent crimes against women there are many questions which surround a victim. Why me? What is my identity? Will women forever remain target and victims of eve teasing? Are the major questions that remain in the victim’s mind.