If you are a professional in an emerging industry, like gaming, data science, cloud computing, digital marketing etc., that has promising career opportunities, this is your chance to be featured in #CareerKiPaathshaala. Fill up this form today!
If a girl or woman tells you that she was harassed, help her take action against the attacker. Don’t ask her how “sure” she is!
#AskingForIt is an initiative by Breakthrough to mobilize communities and get every individual, both online and in the ‘real world’, to speak out and not treat sexual harassment as ‘normal’. The Women’s Web #AskingForIt blogathon asks our readers to share their experiences, suggestions and resources on the topic of street sexual harassment in India and countering it.
Read all posts written @ #AskingForIt blogathon
How can you participate? Login to write if you have a contributor account at Women’s Web, or use this form to send us your post.
I was thinking the other day about the lectures I get from time to time about how I should dress, what I should add to my get-up to give myself a more acceptable (according to patriarchal standards) and/or serious (read, older woman) look, how I should conduct myself, why I should not laugh out loud and the list just goes on! The list is so long that if I actually maintain it for a year, I may not find anything ‘right’ about me at all!
Then, there are always those doubts and disapproval about the “right”. Was that the “right” place to be? The “right” time to be there? And the “right” reason? Too confusing? Allow me to explain. All my female readers might find it easier to understand.
Please think of the last time you were harassed on the road. No! I am not talking about those everyday incidents that we have all learnt so well to ignore, the same way we ignore barking street dogs! It is not about those. I am talking of the incidents that you cannot ignore and worse, cannot ever forget. They shake you from within however much you pretend to be brave. And then the questions from your near and dear ones follow. “Why were you out at that time of the evening?” “Why did you have to go out? Were not we there?” “Why were you so late?” And the worse of all, and this usually comes in a whisper, “Are you sure that he was doing what you think he was doing?” or “Are you sure he was targeting you?”
Why were you out at that time of the evening? Why did you have to go out? Were not we there? Why were you so late?
Am I sure? Are you sure? Have we all not been sure all along about this one thing? Have not we ignored it a hundred times even when we were damn sure that the hand that just brushed the bum was not an unsure hand? That hand damn well knew what it was doing. And it never fails to make your blood boil. And the questions that follow only make it worse.
About 20 years ago I was returning all alone from school when two boys in a cycle targeted me. My friends left earlier. I had to stay back in school for a program. I walked through the officers’ colony when those boys came in cycles. They were out to have fun. Loudly cheering, leering and shouting as they passed me one by one in their cycles. I held my breath and tightened my muscles. I was about to heave a sigh of relief when the last cycle came towards me and the pillion rider lunged towards me. I turned my back in reflex! His hand brushed my back. And they leered at the visibly shaken me and pedalled hard.
I don’t know what snapped in my head that I started running after them. I dumped my bag and water bottle and ran after the cycles. They expected that the least! They were too stunned to see the victim turning into the chaser now. To cut the long story short, I caught hold of them and handed them over to the police.
They were too stunned to see the victim turning into the chaser now. To cut the long story short, I caught hold of them and handed them over to the police.
After that incident, whenever I went out, my mother never failed to remind me I should not do that ever again. It was too dangerous. She said, “Come and tell us. We will help. But don’t do that yourself”. I believed her.
5 years later, I was stopped by a motorcycle rider in a dark road who wanted to “befriend” me in the most obnoxious manner. I talked myself out of the situation and came home to tell her. She said, “Did I not tell you not to go out after dark? Why do you need to go for theater rehearsals? Why is it so important to you?” I cried with indignation. I shouted, “But, he is wrong! I am not wrong. You said you will help me! Why are you scolding me instead of finding him and getting him punished?” I had to learn that nuisance makers always get their way.
Then circa 2009, it happened again. I could not believe someone could attempt to molest me in a busy road in Delhi. I thought I was too old for all that by then. However, when it really happened, I knew I, myself would have to do what I needed to, for myself. I held the man tightly till the police arrived (within a few seconds, unlike the last time) and took him over from my hands. I then sat in the Police Station for my statement to be recorded. I am thankful that the Police officers did not ask me to explain further when I uttered molestation. The word was enough! I am thankful that there were some junior ranked policemen! In the (in)famous Ruchika Girhotra case, I have heard a few senior policemen and lawyers saying, “Why don’t they specify what kind of molestation?” As if being molested was not enough. The girl then had to convince the “others” (men, mostly) that she was indeed molested by describing what was done to her. That it was not a loving hand blessing or befriending her but it was indeed the hand of a molester. The poor girl is not even alive to convince them!
However, coming back to my story of 2009, after the ordeal was over, as we stepped out of the Police Station, I heard the same whisper late in the evening, again. “Are you sure?”
Originally published at the author’s blog
Top sign image via Shutterstock
Guest Bloggers are those who want to share their ideas/experiences, but do not have a profile here. Write to us at [email protected] if you have a special situation (for e.g. want read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
Darlings makes some excellent points about domestic violence . For such a movie to not follow through with a resolution that won't be problematic, is disappointing.
I watched Darlings last weekend, staying on top of its release on Netflix. It was a long-awaited respite from the recent flicks. I wanted badly to jump into its praise and will praise it, for something has to be said for the powerhouse performances it is packed with. But I will not be able to in a way that I really had wanted to.
I wanted to say that this is a must-watch on domestic violence that I stand behind and a needed and nuanced social portrayal. But unfortunately, I can’t. For I found Darlings to be deeply problematic when it comes to the portrayal of domestic violence and how that should be dealt with.
Before we rush to the ‘you must be having a problem because a man was hit’ or ‘much worse happens to women’ conclusions, that is not what my issue is. I have seen the praises and criticisms, and the criticisms of criticisms. I know, from having had close associations with non-profits and activists who fight domestic violence not just in India but globally, that much worse happens to women. I have written a book with case studies and statistics on that. Neither do I have any moral qualms around violence getting tackled with violence (that will be another post some day).