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My Friend Was Touched Inappropriately By Her Fiancé’s Friend…But She Doubted Herself!

I salute my friend’s fiancé for supporting her. I realized that many women end up doubting themselves when faced with an inappropriate touch!

In a recent incident, my friend was touched inappropriately by her fiancé’s friend. She faced a huge dilemma even after facing her harasser. The dilemma was: did she somehow give him a ‘green signal’ to harass her?

When I dug deeper, I found out that there were many women who end up questioning themselves when it comes to facing an inappropriate touch. 

I salute my friend’s fiancé for helping her, but that’s not always the case!

Many times, women don’t even realise they are being harassed unless it is pointed out by someone else or years after the incident. I salute my friend’s fiancé for helping her in every way one can, but this is not always the case. As a person who has seen this happen with relatives and family friends, I rarely see anyone taking the girl’s side. We can shout as much as we want on social media but alas, we get turned into a meme or are called ‘feminazi’.

And this is not just the case of men not calling out harassers but even the women keep up with this tradition. Society tends to give justifications for inappropriate touching. Some examples include:

  • She was asking for it: Perhaps, the most convenient explanation is that the girl asked for it. No matter how much we try and explain, the old phrase, “ladki ki na me uski han hoti hai” (a woman’s no means yes) is still widely circulated.
  • I was very comfortable around you: The guy in my friend’s case claimed to be very comfortable around her. She knew hardly him since a year in which she had met him 4-5 times, in a group and hadn’t even saved his number till date. Where is the comfort, my friend?
  • Why didn’t you say anything before: The fact is, any kind of touch is really confusing for women; the differentiation between a good and a bad touch is something with which we all struggle. By the time we realise and call someone out, it’s sometimes too late and an argument emerges that the woman didn’t say anything before. Sometimes, the woman tries to save herself or waits for it to stop. In many cases, like we saw in the movie Highway, parents themselves don’t support the girl (because, harassment begins at home).
  • You gave me the signal: In my opinion, unless the girl, through her free will and in sane mind doesn’t tell the guy to actually touch her, where is the signal brother?
  • If you say anything, it will affect our relationship with the person: The ultimate weapon to quieten a generation!
  • This was not my intention, I think of you as a sister/friend: Whether it was your intention or not, the fact that you made someone feel that way is proof enough.

It is often women who are blamed!

Let me talk about some incidents from some women I know.

  • I remember a friend’s mother telling her, “Itna bhi kuch nhi hua hai tumhare sath, bahut logo ke sath itna ho jata hai ke news me aa jata hai” (nothing much has happened to you. Women face much worse and then it’s shown on the news), when she spoke about her father’s friend touching her inappropriately.
  • In a related incident, another friend’s mother told her, “You used to jump on that boy when you were 8, he was bound to get a signal.” (She was 14 when that 17-year-old guy tried to kiss her, in his house, while both their parents were sitting right there).
  • When my friend’s brother told her to slap if that uncle touches her again, their mother came and slapped him for speaking ill about someone ‘so old’ (her brother was 10, she was 15 then).
  • My friend’s distant cousin in a marriage ceremony, followed her and came to her room. She was lying on bed and he tried to sleep beside her. She told him to go away because they were no longer kids and he should be in his limits to which he replied in an in appropriate manner. 
  • When my friend called out her fiancé’s friend for making her uncomfortable, he called her and cried telling her that “She made her comfortable and he thought they were close.” 

Now, in all these incidents, where was the signal? The girls told their parents as well but no one listened. Was the signal her body? Or her friendliness as a kid? Or her going to take a nap? And in almost all of these incidents, the girl has been blamed. 

Consent is only when the girl actually says it out aloud under no pressure & nothing else!

People say that girls are known to cry and turn the argument in their favour. If it is deemed so wrong, then what happens when the culprit cries and victimises himself? Why do we believe the guy then? Because men don’t cry? Dude, everyone cries as a child. They grow up and the crying reduces. But many of you might have seen your friends, irrespective of gender crying and not crying. 

What do we need to do? Well for starters, let’s take some scenarios:

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  • If you told someone that you have a crush on them, it is not consent.
  • If you jump around as a child or even as an adult (Watch Olympics, duh!), it is not consent.
  • If you take long to call someone out, it is not consent.
  • If you are in a relationship, it is not consent.
  • If you are alone with someone, it is not consent.
  • If you smile, it is not consent.
  • Short clothes, never consent.

Then, what is the only signal that exists? Under no pressure on the girl, when she tells the guy that she wants to get physically close! Nothing else! Stop ruining a whole new generation by making them believe stupid norms And more importantly, girls & women, stop questioning yourselves on these so-called ‘signals’.

Babies get harassed! Kids get harassed! Adults get harassed! Old people get harassed! Period.

Let’s stop blaming the harassed and start calling out the harassers instead!

Image source: Still from Pink

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Dr Arushi

Often the test of courage is not to die but to live.. read more...

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