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Why Do Men ‘Demand Access’ To Safe Spaces For Women?

At Indraprastha College for Women (IPCW), men climbed the college walls to enter the premises and sexually harassed women! It makes me question where do men get this entitlement from?

“I-I-I Got This Feeling, Yeah, You Know, Where I’m Losing All Control, ‘Cause There’s Magic In My Bones” (the original song is ‘bones’, however, nowadays on social media it is popularly used as ‘the boys’ song)

In the recent incident at Indraprastha College for Women (IPCW), where men climbed the college walls to enter the premises as a result of which multiple women were sexually harassed, groped, pinned down against the floor and their clothes untied.

They also hailed proudly (with the confidence that they are fighting for India’s Independence), “Jai Shree Ram’, ‘Miranda, IP, dono humara.” Writing these statements while imagining the situation boils my blood and makes me want to hit those men in their balls so hard that they can never climb a wall again.

Keeping in mind the above-mentioned incident, I would have to agree with the song I mentioned earlier; ‘the boys’ have ‘lost all the control’! Are they animals in heat? Incapable of rational thinking?

This incident is a massive reminder and a portrayal of how men proudly claim spaces meant for women.

Why claiming spaces in women’s coach of the metro is problematic

I am a frequent traveller of the Delhi metro and, like almost any other female, I prefer to travel in the women’s coach because I feel safe there. You may ask why? The primary reason is, there exists a minimal chance of harassment or an uncomfortable male gaze.

Almost every day I witness a few men who board the train from the ladies’ compartment, despite the obnoxious, dreadful and stereotypical pink board on the station clearly stating ‘women only’.

Boarding the train in the wrong coach while in a hurry is completely understandable; and there are also a few men who, when they recognize that they are in the wrong compartment, respectfully take a leave.

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Men just don’t care!

However, simultaneously, there are many males who, despite knowing that they are mistaken, stand in the coach with the utmost pride, almost comparable to the pride one has when they have planted and hoisted the Indian flag on Everest.

The most hysterical part, for me, is when they are fully aware that they are in the women’s coach but pretend not to listen when other female passengers inform them.

Now, to those people who believe that having a separate women’s compartment in metros is unfair to men, have you ever thought about why a separate coach was created in the first place?

Where does this entitlement to trespass come from?

The answer, as mentioned above, is that it feels safe. Every feminist is aware of ‘Not all men’, but, when we step out of our homes we do not know which man is safe; because the incidents and cases we witness and read every day have already instilled fear.

When men trespass this boundary, they are defeating the very purpose for which the compartment was created in the first place; to let women feel safe.

If I have to speak for myself, the absence of men in the coach makes me feel ‘free’; ‘free’ in the sense that I can sit however I want to, I don’t have to worry about my cleavage or bra strap showing, and I can adjust my clothes without worrying about a creepy uncle trying to secretly take my photo or video.

“Girls colleges are safe for women”; are they safe with men losing control?

The IPCW incident is not the first time that men crossed all the boundaries and completely forgot how to act like decent, civilized and rational humans.

It was only a few months ago that a similar incident took place in Miranda House and 3 years ago when a huge crowd of drunk men during their fest barged into the college and harassed, groped, molested and misbehaved with the students.

Because of the ruckus caused at the IPCW event, the authorities of Gargi College cancelled their fest because, in a patriarchal society, it’s the women who bear the consequence of the cheapening acts of men.

The statement hailed outside IPCW, “‘Jai Shree Ram’, ‘Miranda, IP, dono humara,” shows they have no regrets about what they have done in Miranda, and I am sure they are neither guilt-ridden nor remorseful for their acts in IPCW; in fact, this must have been a proud act of ‘aaj pata hai tere bhai ne kya kiya?’ for them.

Men don’t give a damn about authorities because they know, they can get away with it

In my opinion, the primary reason why men get the audacity to perform such acts is because of the mismanagement and ‘not giving a fuck’ attitude of the authorities.

The culprits are aware that there is a minimal chance that they will be accorded severe punishments for their indecent acts (and they are right); hence they get the validation and freedom they need.

Are the authorities paying attention to the protests, petitions and complaints being filed? And is this a long-term solution to uproot the ‘animal-like’ behaviour of the privileged gender?

Breaking news: barbaric acts do not portray you as superior, but undignified!

Hollering names, catcalling, harassing, molesting and jerking off in public does not show you as ‘cool’, a superior person or a ‘man’; it just shows how wretched a person can be.

Not being adequately punished for such offences reflects the patriarchal nature of the systems and rules that ultimately benefits men.

The fact that we have to explain to people not to get drunk and jump off the college walls, or to not masturbate on other people or simply to act like a civilized human, appears strange to me and to some extent exasperates me.

Image source: via Istock, edited on CanvaPro

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About the Author

Ishita Varma

Hello! My name is Ishita Varma and I am in the final year of Political Science honors. I am always up for any feminist discussion and do not believe in only talking about gender equality read more...

17 Posts | 4,616 Views

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