“Should I sing a song, or should I pass a comment? Or better still, should I ask my friends to stare at her silently while she passes?” I’ve always wondered what passes through the head of a guy when he decides to harass a woman. Does he think it is okay to brush past a woman, or whistle at her while passing? Funnily enough I feel sure that if someone tried to do the same to his mother or sister, or better still- his wife, he would start World War III!
As most women have experienced, I’ve had my share of men up to their cheap thrills, and, sadly, always I’ve wanted to run away from that place. Walk faster, with my head down waiting to get out of sight and out of hearing of the person or group of people who decided to get their entertainment by picking on me. Worse still, sometimes this has happened with people who are deemed to be educated and from “good” families! Only, the harassment is at a more sophisticated level. It changes from singing songs like “Sheila ki jawani” to leaning in too close to talk about some random thing. From whistles and catcalls to running their hands down my back in the pretence of directing me to some place. No doubt, what I have faced is much lesser than the women have been sexually assaulted. But it doesn’t make it okay! The minute a guy makes me uncomfortable with his behavior or intent and if it doesn’t stop, it is just NOT okay!
With the inception of Safecity, something changed within me. It gave me a sense of strength. When I am telling women to talk about the abuse they face and that it is not okay to be harassed, I realized that it was a lesson for me too. Why should I walk away or put my head down just because some random man decided it is his prerogative to have fun at my expense! Maybe it is time that they are told- it is not acceptable to harass! Maybe in time, with more women telling them that, they would get shamed and maybe finally understand that we are all humans after all. What gives one sex the right to abuse another?
Having said all this, I must also admit that I have great heroes in my life too! Men who have motivated me to be the best I am and who treated me as an equal- personally and professionally. I hope in time, all men would be like that. Understanding that there is equality and nothing called the “weaker sex”. Who don’t feel the need to dominate over a woman or make her the object of their harassment!
There is so much more to say! But till next time- lets work to make our city a Safecity!
Surya is one of the co-founders of Safecity. She believes that it is time to break the social acceptance of harassment and knows Safecity would provide such a platform. Leave your comments or suggestions here!