Today I ended up taking out a couple of minutes to read this article on BBC written by Preity Zinta. It talks about the problem of "eve teasing" in India. I haven't been to India in 6 years and I was only 15 when I moved out but like Preity says, "A lot of women in India have a story of "Eve teasing", I do as well. The term 'eve-teasing' sounds so ridiculously biblical and yet, refers to something that's not only immoral but inhumane in my books. It might not seem like a big deal to those who haven't experienced it but those who have, will definitely agree with me.
Butt-pinching, what me and my friends used to call butt-lifting, groping, heck even pulling up skirts in India was as frequent as weather change is in Calgary. The perpetrators did not belong to any specific age group or social class. Only thing they had in common were that they were males. ha! I remember an incident when it was around 9 PM at night and obviously it was dark. I went to the market with a friend of mine to pick something up for my mom. I had a Vespa scooter then (heh good old days). We parked the scooter, went into the shop, came back out to find a dirty magazine lying on the pillion. I picked it up and threw it down in order to avoid any unnecessary trouble. A couple of 20 year olds approximately (i was 15) approached us and accused us of "mistreating their book". I was shocked to say the least. Everyone else around us went by their business and did not bother to inquire what was going on. Well, I ignored them and we came home. Of course, they followed us home and for the next few days, we were bombarded with prank calls but I guess that's 'normal'. There was no theater, no bus, no marketplace, no lonely road that was free from these rogues but as a woman, you were taught to cover yourself appropriately and behave yourself appropriately to avoid any mishaps. I don't know about anyone else but I certainly felt emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and even physically drained before I had to step out of the safety of my house after dark.
The cause of this horrific situation of eve-teasing, according to Preity Zinta, is the images being splashed across the new-age media. I'd say that I will have to disagree with that. Media hadn't reached the lower strata or the middle class of society in India, to the extent it has today, when I was there. I can't agree with Ms. Zinta and I can't give you a reasoning of my own either. I am at a loss of words. Maybe it is the male chauvinist attitude that a majority of the males there are raised with or maybe it is the repression of sexual behavior that leads to men opting for immoral means to satisfy their urges or maybe it is, as widely believed, a consequence of shoddy law enforcement.
My first experience with this not-so-incredible, let's say, phenomenon of eve-teasing was in my school itself. I was in Grade 8 and wore a skirt as part of the school uniform. I always used to notice that the guys sittin in the desks lined parallel to ours (me and my girlfriend's) always had a mirror with them. I never could figure out what it was for until one lunch break, they left it on the desk. I went and sat in their desk and looked in the mirror and as we expected, the leg-view could not get any better. I approached them when they came back and they apologized for it. Next day, the mirror was gone and it never came back into the classroom again. I am sure they probably thought up of a cleverer plan and put that into action. Interestingly enough, I am good friends with one of those guys now; I should ask him.
Either way, the point I am trying to make is that I don't know the exact cause of the problem neither do I have any measures to fix it but the problem surely does exist. It starts on early irrespective of caste, creed, or color and lasts a lifetime for some.
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