How do we stop men from objectifying us while we travel in public transport, or even wait for the bus/autorickshaws?Then how do we stop someone from feeling us up during the ride?Next how do we stop someone looking at us while we drive our cars and try to act smart and overtake us from the wrong end..These are just some thoughts and experiences which I or my friends have been through from their teens to adulthood.
An Ngo I recently signed up with works in an extremely religiously sensitive area in Kolkata and is concerned with working for children, but up-till now never have I felt so petrified or scared to walk on the streets of my own country..There were groups of men everywhere in every tiny by-lane street corner playing cricket or some other game or just standing or sitting and chatting and the stares only got worse once we entered the tinier lanes and walked, we tried to put up a brave front but I kept feeling strange and my intuitive flags were on red alert…Will I go there to work again, I wonder,not that anything has happened to any volunteer but the only other girl in the group told me this” you might get eve-teased or cat-called,no one will dare touch you”….After this statement I realised that the enemy was not an outsider waiting to punch us or gang-rape us, it was one among us, we women/girls have become each other’s biggest enemies by spreading the web of ignorance and little knowledge and taking verbal abuse lying down and treating it “as ok”..
I realised how important it is for a girl/women to know her rights and the thin line difference between abuse and misuse ?Why should a girl be subject to eve-tease and then accept it lying down, obviously because she has been told to submit to the male species and treat them as superior beings somewhere during her upbringing,maybe not directly by the people who brought her up,but rather by the people she calls her friends,peers and the circle she trusts that helps her form her thoughts & opinions.
I am probably blessed to be able to read a lot of material,meet independent women from different sections and understand different situations in Indian homes and analyse them..but if women do not stay stop , it won’t ever.I know this lady who has been tortured by her husband and sons even to the point of being physically abused but still does not have the guts to walk out and stays in the sham marriage,maybe there are many out there like her who are forced to stay for the lack of choice or hope becoming a thin line…
This topic has been running through my mind after reading the horrific events in Delhi and it becoming popular as the rape capital of India and girls thinking twice about accepting offers for work or education in that city?
A five year old violated by a 20 plus man and with items like candles,hair oil makes me wonder what sort of a society are we bringing up our future heirs in?
Makes me wonder whether we are human at all or not?
Makes me wonder why would perversity ruin the life of innocence of someone who cannot fight back?
Makes me wonder why this is the land of Sita,Parvati & Durga, but also gives me the strength to understand that there will be a time when Durga,Parvati & Sita will strike back and the ones who hide will have no place on earth to do so, because girls and women are much more reactive and December 2012 proved that…I just hope we remember wherever we are,if we hold each other’s hands we are enough to throw off our opponents and we should respect ourselves first!!
More on this coming up..keep watching the space!!!