A male ally in New Delhi, India, speaks out – part 3
[Editor’s Note: This is part 3 in in a 3 part series. Here is part 1 and 2]
Each time you don’t have to fight back the guys who harass women on the street or hit them with your cars. I agree what I did back them in the rain was reckless and some serious damage could have been done too. But is sitting quietly in your car with the windows rolled up and the stereo on load the answer to everything?
You don’t have to be super human to fight street harassment too. At times, a simple task like moving in front of the girl and shielding her from the view of those guys is also good enough. We don’t essentially need to pick up a fight each time some guy harasses someone on the street. At times, you could do what I did, go behind the counter and help someone throw groceries in the sack so she doesn’t need to bend down.
Little things, and little efforts at times go a long way in making a woman feel a little more secure. Men need to make a genuine effort to stop street harassment too. This is not a women’s only issue. This is an issue that needs collective effort by both men and women.
Please talk to the woman in front of you, not to her chest. We all understand that you’re fascinated by breasts, but that doesn’t mean you need to talk to a woman looking at her breasts. Check your own actions. Are you making someone feel uncomfortable? Are you standing too close to someone? Is your bag touching anyone while you’re on a public transport? Do some retrospection and decide for yourself how you can make woman feel more comfortable in the office, on the streets, in the markets, on the train, on the bus.
Don’t fight each time or raise a hue and cry each time you’re on the street and you see a women being harassed. We don’t really expect that from men either. That would never work. It would only lead to fights and then that would lead to more fights. But do move a little bit to the left, or to the right, or to the center, if moving a little bit helps a random woman on the train feel a little better from the roving eyes of some ogler.
Small things often go a long way in making someone feel nicer. So do it. Watch out for Street Harassment and devise your own little ways to combat it. We don’t need to fight a world war to solve this issue. Men all by themselves can solve this if they all come together and make a small effort, a small step at a time.
This post is part of the weekly blog series by male allies. We need men involved in the work to end the social acceptability of street harassment and to stop the practice, period. If you’d like to contribute to this weekly series, please contact me.
I will not publish any comment that is offensive or hateful and does not add to a thoughtful discussion of street harassment. Racism, homophobia, transphobia, disabalism, classism, and sexism will not be tolerated.
Disclaimer: I may use any stories submitted to the blog in future scholarly publications on street harassment. Please indicate to me in your e-mail if you would not want your story included.