Eve-teasing is a word we are well familiar with. Women have dealt with this issue since ages no matter which strata of society or which country they belong to. I’m sure all of us have many stories to share. According to Wikpedia the definition of eve teasing is a form of sexual aggression that ranges in severity from suggestive remarks , brushing in public places, cat calls to outright groping.
No one has the right to tease, stalk or harass women in public places. Normally eve teasing occurs in public places like streets, malls, movie complexes outside colleges and sad to mention in places of worship too. Eve teasers will never miss an opportunity.
If the perpetrators are born in families where women are suppressed, the same values take root in them. They feel that it’s their birthright to suppress women in any form, be it in reality or even the virtual world. This also gives them a feeling of being macho. But in reality they are weaklings . They find new methods to continuously suppress a woman to cover up their own insecurities and show that they are superior.
Again these cases like stalking and sexual harassment go unreported because the perpetrator would harass in a manner that the crime is hard to prove. They target people who look docile – the ones who would not retaliate. Women also do not want to be victims of humiliation time and again, considering the conservative ideas of the society towards women. They are also afraid of being blamed.
The good news is that there are laws in place to fight and curb this evil.
According to section 294 of the Indian Penal code a man found guilty of making a woman the target of obscene gestures, remarks, songs gets a maximum jail sentence of three months.
Under section 509 of the IPC obscene gestures, negative comments directed at any woman, or exhibiting any object that intrudes upon the privacy of a woman carries a penalty of imprisonment for one year, a fine or both.
The criminal law amendment act 2013, introduced changes to the Indian penal code making sexual harassment an expressed offence under section 354 A which is punishable upto three years of imprisonment with fine.
It’s introduced new sections making acts like stalking and other harassment acts an offence.
Eve teasing has many negative effects on the victim. It instills fear, shame and guilt on the victims. It has severe effects on the psyche. The fact is that the perpetrator is the one who needs to feel guilty.
These are a few steps that we can take to deal with the problem.
* First and foremost we need to inform our family members and friends.
* Avoid using the same routes.
* Prepare a self defense mechanism. There are many women who are enrolling in martial arts classes as a defence technique. One can also use pepper spray if need arises. But in this case we need to know how to use it efficiently or it could be a stumbling block to our own safety.
* Always be prepared and make use of mobile applications like Nirbhaya/ Scream Alarm/ Help me on mobile and many other applications.
* I also came across this website called ichangemycity.com where you can report an eve teasing incident and post your complaints.
* Hang out in groups especially during nights.
* Again make a note of the events and daily happenings, that can be used for legal purposes.
* Lastly file a complaint at the local police station.
This social evil has creeped into our society and we must work together to eradicate and fight it. This can be done only by educating ourselves on the matter and creating awareness. I also hope that the new government that would soon be formed, would take stringent measures to curb harassment and make cities in India a safer place for women.
Note : Google images.