Staring & Ogling – I SAY NO
I have experienced this quite often, maybe more than often. From the moment I get in the lift of my flat to the point from where I pick up the auto, I feel as if I am being watched, from head to toe. The leching ,the whispers and giggles among the young professionals having chai & sutta at the chai wala whenever any woman passes, the auto wallas first scanning you completely before asking where to ; makes me seethe inwardly every passing day.
Did I provoke someone?
Am I wearing revealing clothes?
Should I be worried?
Am I at fault?
Should I turn a blind eye to staring & ogling?
Has one or more of you experienced the head to toe scanning from various corners of the road when you walk down, even while fully covered? (Yes, I mention fully covered to leave aside the controversy of provocative clothing)
When I talk about these experiences, I am sure all of you women folk out there will be able to relate to it. Each one of you would have experienced it at one or the other point of time in your lives, the magnitude and its impact might vary. There have been innumerable debates nationwide on the way women should/should not dress so that hormone driven men aren’t provoked and thus reduce the number of rape/molestation cases.
There is very fine line that remains to be crossed between staring, ogling and groping. Daily news headlines show some heinous crime happening in one or the other part of the country. Few heart searing cries are heard whereas few are stifled and eventually asphyxiated. Rape, Molestation, Acid attacks, Stalking – Physical & Cyber, Child abuse and voyeurism are many of the known gut wrenching devils of the society. Day in and day out, the concerns on these issues are rising. I wonder, whether the incidences have increased manifold or are they being brought to the society’s attention now with a strong need for a wave of change. While everyone is harrowed by the gruesome incidences that are making the media houses rise on their TRP’s, I sit here and think of my daily struggles in this city, insignificant to a big chunk of the city and yet of utmost importance to the other half of it.
Earlier, I used to walk with confidence and head held high. But somewhere now, these X-ray scanning, roving eyes bring in a slight hint of fear, and I go walking down the streets of this city with down casted eyes
In the professional world, I came across various business men, corporate honchos & industrialists who wouldn’t bat their eye lid while talking. No they weren’t engrossed in the conversation; they had tough time talking to my eyes since their eyes were talking to the elusive boobs. I have had numerous discussions with my women friends who have had similar experiences almost every other day. Once the professional talk is over, the gentleman in question would want to know a little more about you. He would maybe exchange numbers, add on Facebook (Yes Facebook & not LinkedIn, I wonder does anyone not tell them the difference between the two), immediately like 5-6 profile pictures, casually drop a message to meet for a coffee to discuss the business plans further and so on and so forth.
The same gentleman has a beautiful wife back home, whom he probably controls, doesn’t allow her to go out for coffee with her male colleagues , showers her with extra- guilt love and continues the farce of the matrimonial institution. He ensures his girl child is picked and dropped by his wife and maybe not by a young driver. The known- old kaka who has been serving the family since last 10-15 years seems harmless. He keeps a check on his daughter’s late nights and his wife’s Whatsapp messages. So while he is safeguarding the two women of his house, what crime did the girl at the office do? Who gave him the right to scan her and molest her with his eyes? Did the girl even remotely hint that she was ever interested in anything else but work?
I have had friends who, besides facing this daily tumultuous situation on roads and at work, have also faced molestation in the family itself. There are countless incidences of child molestation happening in our country, in those large joint families where the uncles and bhaiyas are always round the corner. The easiest target would be someone from the family, who wouldn’t probably know why, what and how of this child abuse, who is probably too young and traumatised to even say anything. Women have been worst enemies of their own clan. They suppress these voices of abused children in the family to safeguard their family reputation, regardless of the psychological impact it might have on the development of that child.
While I complain of these incidences as a woman to the men of the society, I also have complains with the women. Aren’t these men brought up by women? Has the patriarchal mind set taken over the nurturing and the fundamental values of human respect? Why don’t we teach our boys to look at women with respect and treat them with equality? Stop treating women like sex objects, they aren’t one. The Independence Day speech by the Prime Minister also highlighted on this topic – “Correct the sons and not question the daughters “.
If only there was an invention that could facilitate the neuronal transfer between these two genders, men would maybe then understand this eerie feeling that women go through each day in our country.
Would you want the woman you love to go through this scary feeling every day?
Would you stop ranting about the provocative dresses of women?
Would you stop labelling women as easy?
If you could do this for your woman, then man, your daughters wouldn’t need to ever know this feeling. Society would be safer and better then.