I guess I should apologize for spasming out so early in the New Year. But I am angry, really angry at the conversations I hear around me all the time. About men, women and sexual harassment, especially since the Delhi gangrape incident, about how women do the provoking, about how women should dress better, about how men will be men/men are like dogs and women should know better…
EVEN IF a man was to start walking down the street buck naked, I can assure you that not a single woman will pounce on him. Even if he was to do so in so called “shady/sleazy areas”; even if he did it in the dead of the night, even if he was walking alone; we wouldn’t as much as lay a finger on him. We would consider him crazy for sure, but it will never even strike us to grab “his stuff”, or pinch his chest or slap his ass.
So, when it comes to women, it BLOWS MY MIND that I keep hearing the “clothing” and “behavior” excuse again and again and again like a broken record.
Because that is what it is, AN EXCUSE.
Because it is not US, it is YOU.
You would probably say that my argument ignores the basic differences between the physiology and psychology of men and women. Or you would say that men and women are not geared to respond to “things” in the same manner, that these differences have been determined by centuries of social and biological conditioning.
But then, aren’t you just echoing my statement?
It is not US, it is YOU. It is time, all of us, men and women alike RECOGNIZE THAT.
As women, no matter how conservatively we start dressing, how protective we try to be of our personal space, such incidents will not stop happening. They may just change shape and form. Yeah, if women decide to always travel in packs, always accompanied by “our men folk” and always carry weapons, things may not always reach “the rarest of rare” proportions, but incidents of harassment and sexual subjugation will not stop. Not to mention the abuse that goes on (and will continue to), within the “safe” confines of homes and happy families.
Should I report it to the police if a professor merely lets his hand roam all over my back, while supposedly lauding me for good academic performance? Or an uncle’s touch lingers just a wee bit longer? What about the guy who “just stares” at me lecherously?
It is not US, it is YOU.
I was born in this city and have lived here most of my life.
I have been “harassed”, as a school girl returning from school, in broad daylight in buses, when I was traveling on a rickshaw with my mom, when I was at the trade fair with my entire family, when I was returning from work in my own car, when my boyfriend dropped me ten feet away from my house, heck when I was at a play-date at a friend’s house as a SIX YEAR old. Yeah, you don’t forget these things no matter how old you get…
I have been “harassed” in my school uniform, a “jeans”, a salwar kameez; everything but a burkha, which I don’t wear.
I have been “harassed” by middle class uncles, men as old as my grandpa, and boys my age and much younger.
So, uncles and aunties, and friends, brothers and sisters, and mums and dads, SHUT THE FUCK UP about it being about the way women dress or behave.
It’s about being a society where men think all women are fair game just because they can get away with it. It’s about being a society that is always eager to show these “modern”, “independent” women their goddamn place. It’s about being a society where women feel ashamed to report or even talk about incidents of harassment, while men feel so proud of committing rape that they videotape it for posterity and hope to “go viral”.
ONCE AND FOR ALL, get it straight.
I am the victim here, and I am the survivor; what I AM DEFINITELY NOT is the perpetrator or even the “provocateur”.
And shame on you for suggesting that…