Wikipedia defines "eve-teasing" as a euphemism. And what a euphemism ! It's actually a nice word for molestation - hear, hear ! And we need nice words for serious problems like sexual harassment, because how would we, otherwise decent people, live in sanity in our "high-moralled cultural" society, where on one hand we revere the woman as mother, but really can't resist a lascivicous grope when the opportunity presents itself !
And what about the woman upon whom this euphemism is visited ? Have you ever thought of your mother, sister, wife, friend subject to this violation when they step out on the street ? Have you REALLY thought about it ? Or are we now so inured to the subject of abuse on women that we accept it as a part of life ? After all, what do you expect when you go out on the street ALL ALONE ?
When we turn a blind eye to this problem, or we suggest to our daughters to not venture out alone, and to travel with a male, we condone the actual problem. We accept that it is OK for women to be harassed in public places. We accept that women are unsafe alone, that women need protection, and are unable to stand by themselves. And that is the message we give out to women and the rest of society.
In my mind, molestation on the street, occurs primarily because of the mindset of Indian society. Issues like street harassment, violence against women, foeticide and infanticide are manifestations of the same problem. When we think of women as liabilities, burdens, needing dowries, needing protection, as unable to do anything without the protection of men, then really is it a surprise that such attitudes come back and boomerang ? When in our patriarchial society we accept that men are superior, women inferior, and can be burnt, beaten and molested , that they are in fact powerless to stop violations against themselves, then what do you think the women AND men learn ?
Some interesting links on this topic are :
- Eve teasing on television
- Vikram's article on indian sexuality
- India Parenting
- The worth of our daughters
- Action Hero Amodini