“We have sent a Man to the Moon, and Women walk around with Mace in their handbags”

April 13, 2011

Lets see what have we done.

We’ve come a long way. Man on the moon, Satellite in space, heart transplants, liver transplants, all possible.

And yet, when we walk on the road, we do not look at each other, nod and smile.

When was the last time you walked to the market and smiled and nodded to every woman you met on the way?

You simply don’t. Men have done so much street harassment that each woman walking on the street, going to work, driving to work, going to the market, going shopping or simply going for a walk thinks that the man coming in front of her will pass a remark or stare at her breasts or try to at least brush past her.

And it is not unfair to say that men have earned this tag of being synonyms of harassers. It is a badge we have earned over the years after having stared at the breasts of almost every woman we pass by on the street.

Take a minute. Read this. Sit down. Think.

When was the last time your wife/daughter/sister went on a public transport and came back without even a single strange male trying to touch her indecently.

When was the last time you yourself were on a bus/train and saw some random man try and get close to a random woman and you made an effort to raise a voice against that man?

Most probably, you just turned the other way around and thought to yourself this happens everyday.

When was the last time you stood in the aisle while in a bus or a train and did NOT try to peek inside the shirt of the woman sitting on the seats?

Men must realize that every action they do nonchalantly does hurt the sentiments of someone a lot. We have created this whole big mess for ourselves wherein just because we do not speak out against injustice happening on the streets in the form of harassment we too get stressed. Every time the wife of the daughter goes out she has a story to tell when she gets back home. We have started this. We must come forward together as one to stop it.

We must educate the boy child from the very beginning that it is not alright to stare at random woman on the street. We must teach them to respect the fairer sex as much as they would respect a their own mothers. It’s not alright to pass remarks to woman on the street/bus/train/park & everywhere else. All woman are not their honey/sweetheart/sweetie.

Walk on the streets like you would expect other men to walk when your wife/daughter/sister is out walking alone. Seriously men, women’s breasts are not museum exhibits. It’s not alright to stare. It’s not alright to stare down their shirts. It’s not alright to turn back while walking and ogle at their waists and hips. It’s not alright to whistle. It’s not alright to pass remarks. They are NOT your honey. And no, she will not suck you or have sex with you or sit on your lap. Please keep your organs inside your pants. If you cannot control your urges, go help yourselves. Do not expect every random woman on the street to jump in the sack with you. They are not your playthings. Come together as one, reach out, voice out against street harassment. A little effort from all of us can go a long way in ensuring the women can feel safe on the street. It has to be a collective effort. One man alone cannot do it.

But you have to stop staring and ogling. You have to start re-thinking your actions. There is a very thin line between a gentle flirtatious glance and a stare that would make someone uncomfortable. If you don’t get the difference between the both of them, please do neither and help keep some women’s sanity intact.

Do we realize what have we done to this world? We have sent a Man to the Moon, and the Woman walk around with Mace in their handbags.

I would suggest, let’s send all the men to the Moon. At least Mace would be able to concentrate on manufacturing other toys that kids could use.

@TbgDgc in Delhi, India

Visit his blog at: Desi Ghee and Coffee

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.

Nonconfrontational intervention to stop eve-teasing in Delhi

March 4, 2011

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.


Street Harassment Snapshot: January 9, 2011

January 9, 2011

Story Submissions Recap:

I accept street harassment submissions from anywhere in the world. Share your story!

Street Harassment in the News, on the Blogs:

Image via Washington Post

Events:

  • Jan. 10: Radio show about street harassment by The F Word: Feminist Media Collective, 3 p.m. EST
  • Jan. 10: Discussion on HarassMap at 14 Sleem EL-Ghatas St, Off Sleem the First St. – Hadaek EL-Zatoon, Cairo, Egypt, 5 p.m.
  • Jan. 13: Stop Street Harassment Book Talk, University of California, Irvine, 8 p.m.
  • Jan. 15: First day of 5 week self defense class with the Center For Anti-Violence Education in Brooklyn, NY. sliding scale! call 718-788-1775
  • Jan. 23, Anti-Street Harassment Planning Meeting, In Other Words, 14 NE Killingsworth, Portland, OR, 4 p.m.
  • Feb. 1: Stop Street Harassment Book Talk, Northern Illinois University, 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 12, HollaBack Baltimore Launch Party, Metro Gallery, 1700 N. Charles Street, 8 p.m.

Announcements:

New:

On-going:

10 Tweets from the Week:

  • monaeltahawy “Move away or I’ll smash your face!” a young woman told the man who groped her on a bus in #Yemen (she wrote to tell me). Kickass!
  • DianeMassage Another day of #streetharassment in #nyc, whilst wearing my red puffy jacket.
  • MaxineFrances Street harassment so angers me. Usually I let it lie due to incredulity and fear for my safety. Proud I gave it a bit of lip just now.
  • FatSocialWorker Octopus Pie on #streetharassment http://bit.ly/dJNhZ6 cat-callers don’t make me laugh like Octopus Pie does.
  • bettyslutsky Street harassment is worst when other cyclists do it. A Harvardy 1 made lascivious tongue gestures & ruined the sunshine
  • FatBlackDiva Cab home. Driver says: “Why not invite me in? I like a big woman like you.” Yeah? Do you like fines from the TLC, too? #streetharassment
  • sasaragor Chuffed to see WAG’s ‘Let’s stop blaming victims’ rape prevention campaign on Queen’s Street in Cardiff #streetharassment
  • StreetHarassmnt recntly approached a dude known for yelling at women on the street and told him to quit it. ended w/ ‘don’t fuck with me’! he was speechlss.
  • _sugaHoney Doesn’t matter what you wear. If you have a vagina, you’re going to be harrassed because men don’t know how to act. Period.
  • burnyourbones man in car shouts “I can see your knickers!” at me cycling down hill. At best I’m humiliated, at worst a multi-car pile-up #streetharassment

New police initiatives in Delhi to deal with rise in reports of eve-teasing, rape

January 6, 2011

Women’s reports of rape and molestation rose in Delhi during 2010. In response, this week the Delhi police force held a press conference to announce several new initiatives to make the city safer for women.

Via Sify News, here are what the initiatives include:

  1. All Police Control Room (PCR) vans had been ordered to help stranded women at night and women “in distress” can call 100 and get dropped off at the nearest safe spot.
  2. PCR vans with women police officers will be deployed around women’s colleges and schools.
  3. There will be a women’s help desk at all police stations, managed by women officers.
  4. Women police beat staff have been deployed in areas prone to crime against women.
  5. A 24X7 specialized mobile team will deal with domestic violence.
  6. Police teams will also conduct surprise checks in buses, markets, universities and areas prone to eve-teasing, especially in the mornings and evenings.

This is quite a lot of activity. Hopefully it will deter some of the street harassment and assault that is rampant in Delhi (just as it is in so many major cities around the world) and also provide survivors with ways to seek justice.

UNIFEM and Jagori are also working on initiatives to make Delhi safer for women.


Blocking the view of oglers

August 5, 2010

This happened in Delhi. Yesterday evening, I was at a take away place and I had ordered something and was waiting for my order to come through. This young girl about 13 or so walks in and orders some take away food at the counter and stands back waiting for her order to be ready. There’s this group of men in their early thirties were waiting there too. This kid is hardly 13 and has no breasts to speak of and she’s wearing jeans and a long shirt below her hips with an open collar. This dirty group of young men stared openly at the kid’s chest. Made me feel creepy. Think about it, she’s just a kid! It made me very angry, but I couldn’t do much, so I moved myself and positioned myself in front of the kid so the other guys couldn’t ogle at her, as in I came in their line of vision. I cannot go all around town slapping people. That was the best I could do at that moment. What is the world coming to? Everybody has kids who are 12 or 13 at one point of time in life! Sickening!

– Tbg

Location: Delhi, India

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Include your location and it will be added to the Street Harassment Map.


96% of women in Delhi are afraid to be alone in public

November 14, 2009

Via Indian Express:

“As many as 82 per cent of women find buses to be the most unsafe place in Delhi and 96 per cent of women feel unsafe to venture out alone, says a survey done by the NGO CEQUIN, or the Centre for Equity and Inclusion.

With sexual harassment in public places on the rise in the Capital, areas like Chandni Chowk, Connaught Place, Karol Bagh and Rohini are deemed the most unsafe localities for women, the study says.

The organisation, run by Sachin Pilot’s wife Sara and Lora Prabhu, said it had formed a working committee that would contact the key stakeholders and form ways to improve the safety of women in Delhi. Prabhu said the survey covered more than 600 respondents, who were asked questions about sexual harassment and their safety in the city.

“We were shocked to hear that women faced the most harassment in crowded places in the city,” Prabhu said.”

I’m shocked to hear that she is shocked. Around the world crowded city streets and packed public transportation are notorious sites for men harassing women. Just two months ago, a “Ladies Special” train service started in four of India’s largest cities to give women some reprieve from male harassment. There are women-only buses in parts of India for the same reason.

Maybe one of these years, after countless more women and girls are harassed by men, governments will decide to tackle the root of the problem – male socialization to harass women – instead of trying halfheartedly to address the problem by separating women from men.