A Gentlemen, always always (sic) makes one feel comfortable.
A gentleman will not do things that will be uncomfortable to someone else, and even if he does so, he always apologizes and tries to make him/her comfortable. Says a book that I once read at a friend’s, “How to be a gentleman”?
But not all men are gentlemen you see.
And street harassment continues.
Imagine for once that it was your sister or girlfriend in the shoes of the victim.
How would you feel?
Eve-teasing, harassment and feel-ups are things that happen to a lot of women, everyday. Blank noise project wants people to speak out. It just might make a difference, for as long as people keep quite about it, the perpetrators of the same will continue doing so thinking that they could get away with it or worse, thinking that it was OK to do so.
Almost Every girl have had come across street harassment. Since I decided to write about the same, I asked some friends if they have had an experience of such, and the answers were 100% affirmative.
Not a good sign.
I still don’t know what could be done so that street harassment stops, and I believe it will some day.
Eve teasing, I don’t think is as prevalent as it used to be a decade or two back. As more and more people are getting jobs, with a good economy, with lesser number of street Romeos, I think in percentage, the instances of eve-teasing must have increased (an assumption). But then, there was good old harmless teasing cum flirting like the Mithundas and Akshay Kumars did a la late early 90’s movies, which according to me, ladies, is fine. Even I did, and I always got smiles or flirted back. (It is a little off the track but do read on…) But I know that girls can make out the difference. Of pure flirt and of lecherous advances.
Back in college, when I used to openly flirt with hitherto unknown strangers of the opposite sex, my friends would always tell me, “Hey Anthony, marwayega kya?” Are you going to get us thrashed? I never got slapped, nor thrashed, but gained a lot of friends from amongst the girls. And I learnt that most girls do enjoy a kind admiring attention. But my friends thought that I was crazy. You know, engineering college students, no courage to talk to girls let alone strangers types. I thought they were too, maybe too proper.
Then one day, one such guy felt up a batch mate on the last days of our college, in the college bus. He was apparently drunk, which was no excuse for what he did, and then did some more. The girl slapped him, but to the utter surprise of the girl, the guy slapped him back. It led to a lot of tension in the college, but that is not the point. I am trying to make a point here. Of the difference between flirting with a stranger and of harassment per se.
The difference between the two can be compared with an internet based analogy. Of the difference between asking “hi wanna chat A/S/L please” and saying “cute ID, are you naked?” in the late 90’s chatrooms. I am not endorsing the former, but then I just wanted to make sure that no one confuses, befriending a girl with street harassment. Otherwise I will never get to know a new girl unless I have a solid referral. Jokes apart, I know when a girl can make out the difference. The key word is discomfort. If your advances make the other uncomfortable, do a tactful retreat. Be a gentleman.
And any form of unwanted advances, is harassment. Be it is an isolated street or in a crowded disco. Never do insist. If you don’t know how to make a pass, then don’t. If she says no, consider it a no. Uski naa ka matlab ha nahin hein Boss. This, I have learnt. Key word “ Tactful Retreat”. This was about flirting which I though would be confused with street harassment.
Other than this is what is known as cheap thrill. Somebody feeling you up or rubbing. Now this is not only cheap, but horrible and disgusting. I knew this horrible guy with the height of a midget, who also gave me some unforgettable raggings, who would travel in a crowded public bus from one end of the city to the other whole day just to be in the crowd. Nobody liked him, and it used to disgust us because we knew he did that.
Another is pure eve-teasing, of unwanted sitis (whistle), and chamak challos and nasty remarks, not admiring but leching or disrespectful gestures. To those guys who think we have every right to admire a beauty, girls I know have told me that they know when someone is genuinely admiring or leching. If you want to lech, go buy yourself a porn magazine.
There is only one remedy though. The guilty must be punished. In Pune, there are considerably lesser eve teasing cases because the police in plainclothes would hang out in crowds and even crowded busus especially during festivals to catch hold of eve teasers. I think that is a very effective exercise and should be practiced everywhere, all year long. Every year, hundreds of people are reprimanded.
I will keep posting whenever there is news related to harassment.
But if, by banning even the instances of flirting and teasing that I mentioned as I approve of, street harassment will stop, then so be it. It is a small price to pay. I can always ask for a referral.
One small advice to girls. If you travel by local train or walk often in busy street, carry a small haversack or back pack which can be hung from the shoulder. Hanging it on the front is very effective, and you will look kinda cool. My ex girlfriend always did that and told me it was quite effective. She used it to hit people also, If she suspects she was bumped.
And learn kick boxing. Learn to give back as you take.
But if a guy admires your beauty, he might also be your future partner. Don’t immediately discount him as a satan. Love at first sight, anyone? It only happen between strangers right. I for one, always smile at a girl.
- Action Hero Anthony