OPINION: Leave Us Girls Alone, Please!

Whatever maybe the claims of Delhi Police, or of any authority for that matter, sexual harassment, or as it is euphemistically called “Eve Teasing,” and other crimes against the fairer sex, is nowhere near the low mark on any scale.

Let us have a look at the data. According to the Delhi Police website, there have been 489 rapes and 585 molestation cases reported in Delhi in the year 2010 alone. Obviously, the actual number is much higher than this, as many incidents go unreported.

Every day, the moment a girl steps out of her home, she has a fear etched in her subconscious. The fear of facing those who consider any girl as their private property, thinking that they can stare at a girl as they please, pass as many lewd comments as they want to, and even touch if they can manage to.

It’s an everyday experience for girls.

Early in the morning, you are standing at the bus stop, minding your own business, when some idiot of a boy stares at you, making you feel very uncomfortable. And as if that was not enough, passes a lewd comment at you; you ignore it and get into the next bus, where taking the benefit of the crowd, someone tries to touch you. No need to mention — it is all very humiliating and frustrating!

What’s even more frustrating, when you go and face them, they reply shamelessly “Dekha he to hai, koi crime to nahi kiya na!”

“Let me make it very clear, it is a crime to stare at a girl with that hungry look in your eyes! So just take your damnnable eyes off!” said Vartika Tiwari, a Delhi University graduate, and an actor with the Asmita theatre group, in a conversation with me after the staging of Asmita’s play on sexual harassment, titled “Teri, Meri, Uski Baat.”

And then there are those who pose themselves as our “well-wishers” and try to give us a “good piece of advice.” The advice to behave sensibly and dress modestly. Immodesty here means wearing anything except salwar-kameez. In their words, ‘behave like a cultured girl.’

So, in other words, those who say this, are accusing our constitution — which took real hard work from some of the most intellectual people of India to come into existence — of encouraging obscenity!

The constitution of India gives us the right to wear anything we want, doesn’t it?

But above all, no matter what girls wear, it is NOT an invitation to molestation.

Let me repeat it with stress: Not an invitation to molestation!

Nothing justifies molestation. It is a crime under any circumstances.

Seriously, I can’t understand for the life of me why these oh-so-cultured gentlemen are provoked by the mere sight of a girl?

The point I am trying to make here is that just let us be, how does it matter what we wear or how we walk or how we talk? It gives no one a right to pass nasty comments. And as a bitter fact, we face the same things even if we are in salwar-kameez!

And if I am not wrong, that group of men who are really sensible, and in that sense, true gentlemen, also find these immoral, bawdy and foul-mouthed people a test to their patience.

Those who find “eve-teasing” fun, must try putting themselves in our shoes and experience the nightmare of sexual harassment.

It would not be long before they shout out — Leave us alone, Please!

About Maitreyee Shukla

Maitreyee Shukla (2014) is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology. She can be reached via email at: maitreyeeshukla [at] jamiajournal.com

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  1. Hey, Maitreyee, great write-up! Love the quote by Vartika Tiwari.

    And I guess there are only a handful of good men surviving the society… Wonder what happened to that good-old theory of survival of the best! Where have all the best(good) men gone??

    A message to the girls out there: Refuse to be a victim. Fight back.

  2. Thank you very much Nithya.
    I guess every girl wonders the same nowdays.. And you are right, we must fight back.

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