For all those who believe that eve-teasing is harmless fun or an everyday matter that need not be paid attention to, I suggest you read some of the tales written there and maybe, just maybe, you might rethink.
I know I face it everyday, I do not use private transport and inspite of the fact that I use autorickshaws more than trains/buses, I still am subject to it all – the stares, the gestures, the words and sometimes even random men who want to join in the rickshaw and try and jump in while you scream and push them out.
In the middle of heavy traffic, you have the men on bikes and in cars who think nothing of mentally stripping you and making sure that you are aware of what they are thinking then.
There was a time when I would just sit and stare right ahead, pretending like I didn’t notice, when I would just hang my head down and turn up the volume on my i-pod.
Now I don’t, I realised what I was doing, I was apologising for being a woman, I was ashamed of the fact that I was stepping out of my house, I was being hounded for having a life and taking up space, I was being insulted because I had the temerity to be out without a man’s company and protection and began to stare back and talk back.
Some men get discomfited and turn away, others consider it amusing and stare at you until the light turns green, but I no more feel like I am being threatened. I get bolder each time I face a man down and now am more confident that I can take care of myself.
But I still am more fortunate, I have friends I can call and ask for lifts home, I can afford the taxi and the autos, what about the women and children (yes, even children get molested here) who have to rely on public transport?
And so, we all need to join in this, to make it safer for our families, yes, but also for those nameless women who have too few crusaders. When a colleague laughs and tells me he will kill anyone who touches his wife (since he would never let her walk alone) and that she would anyway never face this since she would not have to get into a bus/train, I want to weep. He was proud that he was keeping her safe by locking her away and denying her the freedom to walk on the road, to mingle with people, to assert her independence and he believed that he had done a great job of it.
Consider this a cry for help by single women like me who still only dream of walking on the sea-shore and listening to the waves; women who want to just , atleast once, commute without having to worry about stray fingers and abusive words; girls on their way to college who know to hug their bags to themselves from the front so that they are not hurt by men looking for cheap thrills; join in this event this women’s day and help make a difference (remember, there is no difference what race, nationality, language, gender you belong to, if you believe, then just do it)
The Chennai chapter may be meeting at Ispahani Centre at 4 PM this saturday (1st March). Those interested in joining in just send me a message and we will include you in.
If you are from different cities, then just check the BNP blog for details so that you can join in.
Lets make this a safer country for all of us. Together, we can and we will.