Nonconfrontational intervention to stop eve-teasing in Delhi

Nai Sadak Book Market

It was the start of 3rd semester when I, with one of my friends, went to Nai Sadak to buy some of our course books. For those who don’t know, Nai Sadak is a well known and famous place in Delhi, India. You can find all course books there. While returning back to Chandni Chowk Metro Station we took a short cut. The short cut was quite remote, which we realized later.

We took a right turn and 5-6 meters ahead of us was walking a girl, constantly being followed by 2 local boys who were passing lewd remarks on her. Unaware of us, time to time they were making comment steep on the chart of lewdness. She was holding a poly-bag in her right hand and a bag was on her shoulder, seems she too was there to shop for books.

While walking by something shot into my solitude. This is eve-teasing, right? I questioned myself. I’ve read about it but never faced any situation quite like this.

“How should I stop it?” was the next question.

I told it to my friend, he too was concern. We cannot fight them like this. We needed to figure out something diplomatic. And that was the time when an idea struck into my mind.

We hurriedly went to the girl, passing by the boys, and started walking by her sides. At first she didn’t notice, perhaps because she was busy in figuring out how to get out of the mess she was in. Soon she noticed the halt in lewd remarks and two fellows walking along her sides and joking on their school life. The boys following her were still following us. I think it was instincts more than understanding that the girl realized that we were there just to help.

I passed a smile to her and she returned it back. Within no time we reached Metro Station. Not saying much she thanked us for our help. We parted our ways. She went off to catch a bus while we took  the Metro.

This was the first time I ever took such a step and perhaps the first time I ever saw eve-teasing and dared to intervene before it could turn ugly.

India is a country of freedom but freedom is at times taken in a sense of “Free-To-Do-Anything”.

Prateek Bagri

Location: Delhi, India

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Find suggestions for what YOU can do about this human rights issue.

7 Responses to Nonconfrontational intervention to stop eve-teasing in Delhi

  1. Jen says:

    Good for you! It was remote and she was alone, corned by greater numbers, it could have escalated into a lot worse. She’s probably still thinking about it and is still grateful for some help.

    Hopefully, one day those stupid boys will learn they should respect women even if another male isn’t there.

  2. Claire says:

    Thank you Prateek Bagri from all of us, thank you. You did just the right thing. Sometimes here in Paris when being seriously harassed I will pick a safe looking person and actually pretend to be with them or ask them if they mind if I walk with them-it always works!🙂

  3. Erik K. says:

    This type of 3rd party non-confrontational intervention is what I call the Visual Fence. The Visual Fence can be applied by the Target of Harassment or by a Bystander.

    In either case, the Visual Fence serves the purpose of limiting unwanted behavior. It communicates a message of disapproval through the use of body language and is enforced by the implicit threat of a higher level response.

  4. Prateek says:

    Jen- Thank you. I too hope they understand that harassment = uncomfortable.

    Claire- I’d say this is the best way, “Pretend you’re with the bunch of lads who looks simple or even ask them”. I am sure there still are people who will understand.

  5. That was very smart, and a sensible thing to do in that situation. Hats off to you!!

  6. beckieweinheimer says:

    hurrah! Great example! If men are reading this. Please do this if you can!

  7. Prateek says:

    IHM- Thanks a lot Ma’am.

    Beckieweinheimer- I wish people stop doing harassment, and this kid of act also has its own risks.
    -A girl could misunderstand the situation that is being created to protect her.
    -Or the boys following her may get furious and end up in a fight.

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