Eve teasing is a euphemism used in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan for public sexual harassment, street harassment or molestation of women by men, with Eve being a reference to the biblical Eve. Lets admit it Yes Eve Teasing is prevalent in this society and a few voices by our lousy blogs won’t get the point heard. Oh common for heaven’s sake the local politician in my place erected a Grand pandhal for Ganpathi. Little do people know that People play Jua under the pandal. Great way to welcome the Lord eh?
You talk of Sexually Harassed people, this is what is happening. If you want to deal with it go to the public rather than writing. Practicability applies when you can personally go and Take this Face on. The reason I am telling you this is not because I am someone who is doing this but because if we can join this movement together well then there can be A small change.. (Note I have cited small change) The reason being small change is because Eve Teasing is what people need (Boys and the politicians).. They don’t care whose mother or sister is hurt.
For heaven’s sake with the advent of incest people don’t care for even their own mothers and sisters so forget about other girls. And talking of provocative clothing. I beg the difference it doesn’t deter men who look at you as if they have x-ray goggles installed on their eyes… You talk about women I have seen boys at my area touching the nipples of dogs.
Anyway I would urge the MEN in this world to come together and Please look at other girls like your sister and mothers rather than looking at them as if they were your ex wife and are fit to be raped. Women and Men have equal rights and we must fight towards equality (This is what the sign says at many public places) but for a matter of fact I see those same signs got spitten with Gutka… No one cares that’s what I am trying to say.. The problem is we are not preaching to the downtrodden. You are talking about people who can Come to the internet and write about their problems what about those living in slums?
What about those unheard voices? We have to nip the mischief in the bud.. Eliminate the problems at the root and the tree will be automatically cured. Where do you think men get the daring to do all these things? From the same assholes who sit around in slums and do the same and go scot free. It’s a wildfire that intensifies human emotions towards sexually gaining a Pinch or a breast press. The grassroots level has to be addressed.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF EVE TEASING
Many psychologists believe that sex, love or fun is not the only motive that men indulge in this behaviour. Eve teasing is closely related to the patriarchal mindset of the Indian male. Men are raised to believe that they are more powerful physically and emotionally than women. They feel that they are doing nothing wrong just having some fun. Women on the other hand are made to feel vulnerable and the weaker sex. Teachers of psychology and social scientists believe eve teasing to be a result of the frustrations suffered by a majority of youth. Disappointed by the unbecoming attitude of teachers and indifferent parents , they yearn for an outlet to vent their aggression and depression .
Besides , many who do not inherit good values tend to indulge in acts of sexual harassment. Eve teasing can be seen as a rite of passage for boys on their way to becoming men. Considering that sex is not the only motive , it would be reasonable to conclude that the psychodynamics of eve teasing are closely linked to the issue of masculinity and the masculine agenda. At the risk of over simplifying a complex phenomenon , it would not be imprudent to say that in our country , the construct of masculinity is usually equated with patriarchy .
In other words , masculinity is experienced not so much as a set of emotional or behavioural characteristics unique to the male gender , but more in terms of hierarchical domination over the feminine gender ; so that the most man gets a socially dominant position over his female counterpart. Gender segregation from childhood , lopsided parental relationships as well as the representation of man- woman relationship in literature and popular cinema , all serve to reinforce the patriarchal model of masculinity in the mind of he growing male child.
It may appear paradoxical that in a country like India where the mother is generally deified, the growing male child does not learn to respect the members of his mother’s gender. But it is because of this deification that the boy finds it easy to slip into the patriarchal mode , for he does not relate to his mother as a woman, but as a helpless and martyred dependent who needs to be pitied and cared for.
The vocal emergence of feminism has also pushed the contemporary male a little on the back foot , not only the women are threatening to encroach on his male dominion, but also because he does not have any idea about how he can counter encroach on hers. So he moves squarely into the adversarial position, something he is instinctively comfortable with and , during adolescence , focuses not just on how he can express himself sexually, but also on how he can claim his patriarchal right.
As part of his evolution into the patriarchal role , an arena is required in which his valour can be expressed. Organized sport and cultural activities are examples of these , but require some talent and application. Whereas standing with a group of peers at a bus stop or in a Cineplex, passing lewd remarks , gesticulating lasciviously and generally behaving obnoxiously requires mere numbers, and when the hapless girl is in no position to defend herself despite visible evidence of distress , domination gets established.
Thus, we tried to understand the psychology of an average eve teaser when he indulges himself in the heinous practice. All this study has been done only to establish the fact further strongly that it is now high time to include eve teasing as a separate Tort so that this injustice and crime against the honour and dignity of the women can be stopped. Women are often criticized for ‘inviting’ molesters by way of their ‘seductive’ way of dress and make-up. But this theory collapses in the face of rustic, illiterate and poor village women who cannot afford to dress seductively.
What does ‘seductive’ dressing mean? Who decides what is ‘seductive’ dressing and what is not? Another myth says that girls ought not to step out after dark and if they have gone out, they ought to come home before it is too dark. It is implied that the victims are perhaps to blame for men teasing, stalking and molesting them; this thinking is itself rooted in patriarchy. So, from childhood, parents bring up their sons and daughters by two completely different rules of censorship on their movements outside the house – geographically and in erms of time – one set of rules for boys and one set of rules for girls.
The same ‘logic’ applies in mixed sex schools in India. Yet, when the girl grows up and gets married, she is expected to adjust to the ‘outside world’ of husband, in-laws and a different family altogether, something they have not prepared her for. The Maitrayani Samhita (Yajurveda) repeatedly says that a woman’s body is not her own, so she cannot prevent herself from being molested.
Violence thrives in the victim’s acceptance of the victimiser’s moral right, social superiority and physical power. These myths could have been exploded through effective protests, but this has been fractional. When women protest against violence to their person by men, other women, social groups or the machineries of the government, they are again victimised. Covert or overt, direct or indirect, visible or invisible, structural or social, women are always both targets and victims of violence across the world.
The eyes of the man who accosts a woman with evil intentions will be extracted, wrote Chanakya in the Arthashastra while defending the rule of Chandragupta Maurya. 2000 years later, the woman is not spared the evil intentions of men. Their eyes are hardly the only offending organs of their body used to insult a woman. Eve teasing, like rape, molestation and sexual harassment, is generally understood in feminist theory to be an expression not of unbridled lust and desire, but of power. Eve teasing is a form of sexual harassment indulged in by men, never mind their intelligence or their education.
Men’s elbows thrust out to brush against you; someone stands too close behind you in the bus even when there is enough space for him to maintain a decent distance; you must be prepared to encounter leers and comments if you are wearing a skirt never mind its length, or even a sari if the choli is a low-backed one; till the offenders manage to instill enough guilt in you for you to feel you should not have worn what you have. These are just a few strategies eve-teasers resort to. There is a hidden agenda to a catcall, to a deliberate brush or to bottom pinching – show her who is superior.
Let us watch her suffer humiliation and helplessness, the feeling of violation that burns through her each time someone darts that look and mutters in that alien language. The offence almost never meets with defence. The glory of watching one’s insults being absorbed through her skin without fear of reciprocation is something men take malicious joy in. Most women are conditioned to pretend that they have not felt humiliated even as their whole being is simmering with anger. This reinforces the confidence of the offender.
He savours his victory till he targets the next prey. “Anatomy is destiny,” wrote Sigmund Freud. The comment encapsulates the confining, narrow implications of the way in which women’s physique and anatomy has affected the way they are perceived by men. Various other reasons are suggested for the prevalence of sexual harassment such as: Some feel that it is the direct consequence of a puritanical and sexually repressive society, especially one in which women traditionally have no voice and nothing resembles equal rights.
The influence of western media is also a cause, especially those which have a mixed record on sensitivity towards women’s issues. Some in society posses an extremely restricted mentality and also tend to be overly pedantic on sexuality and thus cannot mix with women freely and also don’t consider others’ free mixing proper. This type of mentality also provoke eve teasing sometimes. Some boys argue that at times girls dress in a provocative manner that they themselves call male’s attention. People are not that educated (for that matter civilised) which is also a reason for eve teasing.
Some also feel that if children are not nurtured on the lines of religion and have an unchecked exposure to so called modern fashion, they are bound to lose way of sobriety and moral principles. Thus they don’t understand that eve teasing is an offence. Lack of policemen’s awareness is also a reason for eve teasing as they are not conscious about this matter. The problem also lies with the conservative set up of the society. Education, family rearing and way of living are some of the factors that influence everybody’s mind.
It is shown that if a girl is provocatively fashionable boys bend down to such activities often also out of frustration. Undue limitations and isolation from girls also give birth to sexual dissatisfaction and thus sort of aggression. Where the eve-teasers in India are concerned – they come from a background where they are taught that women who go out are ‘bad’ girls and deserve to be teased. Or that the women don’t mind. Or that eve-teasing is a harmless activity… a way to get to talk to a pretty girl. These men could have also seen men in their own family treat women with scant respect.
IS BOLLYWOOD THE CULPRIT
Our films are not helping. Those boys in the jeep for example…they followed the girls, and when the girls crossed the road in panic, they made a U-turn to get nearer, and this is when the accident happened. Haven’t we seen umpteen Bollywood movies where the protagonist follows a girl whom he has taken a fancy to, and heckles her until she responds? There are some people who firmly believe that its Bollywood which perpetuates the myth that girls like to be teased and stared at …there was an interesting comment I read on a post on eve-teasing.
The commentator (who lives in Dubai) is convinced that the reason why it is mostly South Asian men who indulge in this behavior is because they watch Bollywood movies. She gives the example of how “Indian and Pakistani labourers go the beaches and sit fully dressed and stare at the women swimmers…”Certainly we have many situations in Bollywood films where the hero’s sidekick ogles and makes an ass of himself when he sees a pretty woman. He thinks nothing of passing comments and approaching her…it is supposed to be amusing… But it’s said that films reflect society and not the other way round…well, something is wrong with our society then.
Films will only influence only those who are susceptible. It’s like blaming television for the increasing violence in society…in an article I read in the Times of India, the writer had spoken to several psychiatrists about whether violent behavior and television viewing was related, and all of them said that it was the home environment which mattered the most. And of course- it also depended on how much TV you watched. Certainly anyone who lives in the fantasy world of Bollywood will lose all sense of reality. He will fail to see that his favourite heroes on celluloid behave differently in real life. That in fact they are gentlemen.
If the actors are acting in stupid movies which put a stamp of respectability on eve-teasing, well, its because film stars do not usually feel that they have a social responsibility. As for the directors, they are the ones who actually believe that a little bit of eve-teasing is harmless… So common has eve-teasing become is that some men actually consider it the proper way to woo women. On a blog “post on molestation” I read several comments from men (I read them all, but will mention a few and not all because the others used bad language while referring to women) saying that eve-teasing was a good way to get to know the woman!!
He said there was no other way to get to know women in a conservative society like ours. We like to blame lower class men for eve-teasing, but I doubt whether the man who wrote such a comment was a labourer. If he was, he would have been unable to write in English or would not had access to a pc. There are those (although they do not eve-tease and molest women themselves) who feel that women make too much of a fuss about eve-teasing. Or that its not common…there are actually men who insist that molestation is not common because they haven’t seen it themselves! As if an eve-teaser will grope a woman if he thinks another guy is watching!
LAW CONCERNING EVE TEASING
One of the primary functions of the law is to resolve the conflicting interests and balance the competing claims. Every time the social relation causes a friction, the law comes into the picture to resolve such seemingly complex conflicts. Different laws govern the human relations of varying nature. Law of Torts, which primarily consists of principles developed by the courts, aims at providing a remedy whenever and wherever a legal injury is caused by a civil wrong of a fellow being and for which no remedy is generally available under some specific civil law.
Property rights and personal freedoms are, inter alia, the interests protected by the law of Torts. It tries to remedy them by way of compensation and in some cases through Injunction. The instant branch of Law, the whole thrust of which is to safeguard against unlawful infringements of various kinds, has certain edge over other laws. The genesis of this branch is related to the Common Law principle of Justice, Equity and good Conscience. It can provide relief against a conduct which is unjust though not violative of any law stricto sensu. The principles of Torts have been found to be indefinitely flexible.
The courts can mould them as per the changed scenario without being criticized for doing violence with the words of any statute. Also, its compensatory mechanism takes better cognizance of the plight of the victims. It has residuary machinery for redressal of wrongs in the area of civil wrongs. Thus, we can definitely say for sure that Law of Torts has become an integral part of any legal system. The word Tort has been derived from the Latin word Tortum which means to twist. It includes that conduct which is not straight or lawful but is twisted, crooked, and unlawful.
This branch of law consists of various Torts or wrongful acts whereby the wrong doer violates some legal rights vested in another person. The law imposes a duty to respect the legal rights vested in the members of the society and a person making a breach of that duty is said to have done the wrongful act. Tort is a breach of duty recognized under the Law of Torts. Women constables in Calcutta’s Salt Lake area sometimes function as undercover agents from the Bidhan Nagar (north) police station by acting as decoys. Three young woman constables were able to round up a total of 60 offenders within the first month of their operation in 2005.
All offenders, say the policewomen, were aged between 18 and 28. This strategy was probably the outcome of the sudden spate of obscene calls hounding wives of high officials and ministers who live in Salt Lake, Calcutta. Film personalities like Moonmoon Sen, Indrani Haldar and Indrani Dutta, Dolly Roy, wife of Congress MLA Sougata Roy, Renuka Biswas, wife of CBI joint director Upen Biswas, Deepika Nanda, wife of state fisheries minister Kiranmoy Nanda are among those who were hounded by obscene calls at any time of day or night.
But immediate deterrent action is often linked if the victim is a celebrity or has high connections. Democracy here is conspicuous by its absence. An officer posted at Bidhan Nagar police station, Kolkata, thinks that laws against eve teasing are not stringent. “There is no law that can bring them to task,” he says. “They are penalized with a meagre fine ranging from Rs. 10 to Rs. 100. 00 or three days imprisonment in lieu of the fine. Until proper and more stringent punishment is meted out, one cannot stop this,” he adds. To nab the teaser and hold him down is one of the most difficult tasks in law.
Add to this the casual and indifferent attitude of the constable you take your complaint to. He looks at you with a smirk, chews on his paan and the look is enough to express that he does not believe a word of what you have said or better still, does not care! However, eve teasing has now been given its proper status as a criminal activity – the law recognizes it as sexual harassment. The crime could not earlier be pinpointed as a ‘crime against women’ per se; victims can now take recourse under the law. In Delhi, policewomen pose as women commuters and pull up men when they attempt to molest or tease them.
But problems would arise if this action of pretence by the policeman were seen as entrapment. “Whip them black and blue,” suggest some senior police officers of Bangalore, as a remedy. “Besides offering the victim instant justice, it would also help the legal system from getting clogged with cases where most often than not, the culprit is let off. ” Cases against eve-teasers and molesters also difficult to establish because the victim runs away and never comes back. Why? “She has already suffered enough during the process of being teased and molested in public.
Tremendous psychological pressure from the immediate family stops her from coming forward to identify herself. Besides, she has to take the same route to college. She is not the only one either. There are hundreds who cannot report such incidents even if they wish to,” says filmmaker and women’s rights activist Ananya Chatterjee-Chakraborty. In the Indian Penal Code, the word ‘eve-teasing’ does not exist. Eve teasing is an attitude, a mindset, a set of behaviours that is construed as an insult and an act of humiliation of the female sex.
However, victims of eve teasing could take recourse to certain sections of the IPC. Section 298 (A) and (B) of the Indian Penal Code sentences a man found guilty of making a girl or woman the target of obscene gestures, remarks, songs or recitation for a maximum tenure of three months. Section 292 of the IPC clearly spells out that showing pornographic or obscene pictures, books or slips to a woman or girl draws a fine of Rs. 2000 with two years of rigorous imprisonment for first offenders.
In case of repeated offence, when and if proved, the offender will be slapped with a fine of Rs. 000 with five years imprisonment. Under Section 509 of the IPC, obscene gestures, indecent body language and acidic comments directed at any woman or girl carries a penalty of rigorous imprisonment for one year or a fine or both. As eve teasing does not involve any physical harassment the law refuses to recognize it as a violent act. What is discerned here is that women becoming victims of eve teasing is not seen seriously even by the police. Yet eve teasing can be as cruel and as violent as physical assaults.
In Women and Children repression and Prevention Act-2000 an excellent rovision was included in section article 10 that teasing of women like making obscene comments or gestures was an offence covered by it providing for up to seven years of simple imprisonment or meticulous imprisonment for two years.
But the act was amended in 2003 where no one can be charged with sexual abuse of a woman until it is physical. And thus those who bother women in public places such as streets, shopping places and buses can no longer be tried under this law. Defending the amendment, the government has said the provision had been abused to harass rivals. Plaintiffs could not prove any cases of eve teasing.
The change is fuming the women rights activists. The change has come at a time when harassment of women has increased in Bangladesh. But one can enforce her right under section 509 of the Penal code where it is clearly stated that if anybody intending to insult the modesty of any women, utters any word, make any sound or gesture or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such women, or intrudes upon the privacy of such women, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or with both.
The non-official bill to make eve-teasing a non-bailable offence is likely to be taken up during the current session of the Maharashtra legislative assembly. At present, eveteasing is a bailable offence under section 354 of the IPC. The Mumbai police has registered 61 cases of molestation of women since January. It has also registered eight cases of eve-teasing in the first three months of the year, up from seven cases recorded all of last year. But any Mumbaikar who has been at the receiving end of ‘sweety, sweety’ knows that these statistics don’t reflect the pinch-and probe reality.
Most women do not take the trouble of complaining to the police because of the hassles involved. Also, they are unable to catch the offenders and march them to the nearest police station,’’ said Priya Chauhan, a Sion resident who commutes daily by train to her office in south Mumbai. Nandgaonkar said that the existing laws against eveteasing are grossly inadequate. “Also,’’ he maintained, “the police is not sensitised to the problem of eveteasing. ’’ But a police inspector countered, ”Unless the victims lodge a complaint with us we cannot take action against the culprits.
We do keep watch of crowded areas like markets, railway stations etc. But we will be able to curb the menace only if complaints are lodged. ’’ Nandgaonkar said that if such offences are made non bailable, it would instill fear in “those men who think women are objects of lust’’. He has also demanded separate courts to handle such cases, as the victim cannot be expected to wait interminably to get justice. Chairperson of the State Women’s Commission Nirmala Samant-Prabhavalkar agreed with Nandgaonkar. “Serious eve-teasing, like making indecent propositions or lewd gestures, should be made non-bailable offences,’’ she said. But also, it is equally important that the police should be really prompt in their probe. ’’
However, Prabhavalkar noted that very few women register complaints because they know that the police do not take the offences seriously. This is confirmed by a police officer who admitted, “If we find that the culprit comes from a good family and has made a mistake because of bad company, we call his parents and warn him in their presence. Often the victims withdraw their complaints after the offenders apologize. ’’ Prabhavalkar, who is an advocate, said that it is very easy to curb the problem provided the police are serious. For example, the police can recommend that the BMC cancel the license of a hawker if he is found to be eve-teasing,’’ she observed.
Education system must be premeditated in a way as to especially at a younger age. Co-education encourages competition, but the curriculum must target at building a healthy environment of learning rather than encouraging male-female contact unnecessarily. Boys from conservative backgrounds tend to follow girls more often than boys from rather liberal backgrounds. Parents’ role is very significant. They should keep their children from bad influences.
Parents must educate their children ‘what to’ or ‘what not to’ watch. They should adopt friendly relations with their children rather than being harsh with them. Teachers must play their role to repeat moral teachings in the young minds in a more rational and modern way. Policemen must be deployed and conscious. They should not create a kind of deterrence against such offensive acts and to punish such vagabonds where necessary. The boys should respect the opposite sex, as morality demands it, adding that they should not be unaware to the fact that they have families too.
The parents should put utmost trust in their daughters, for this trust will give them the confidence to face the eve teasers bravely and not to be frightened by them. Overall the most important is the consciousness of the women themselves. The girl should not ignore the teasing of eve teasers and don’t think what the people think of her if she give objection to such activities. They should protest strongly against such boys otherwise nobody can do anything against such eve teasers.
Well, it’s only when the boot is on the other foot that the understanding grows. In this post it had been written about how a group of boys from the slums were shown how humiliated women feel when they are eve-teased. The program was conducted by social workers and there was a lot of role-playing. After this the boys changed their attitude towards women…an attitude that had perhaps been ingrained in them by the milieu in which they lived. Large scale programs need to be carried out by social service organizations to sensitize the boys who are prone to such behavior. These boys can be helped because most of the time they are not evil…they are not rapists and nor are they murderers.
Just misguided and of course – idiots. It’s also time that eve-teasing becomes a stigma in our society. Right now it’s looked upon with far too much indulgence. Men themselves should tell their friends who tend to tease girls that this behavior is unacceptable. If they catch their friend passing a lewd comment they should tell him that this is insulting to women.
I goggled eve teasing and found many hits. Some thought provoking and shocking facts and figures about eve teasing in India are as follows: The expression eve-teasing is Indian in origin. You wont find it in most of the dictionaries. Native speakers of English do not use it. Studies show that 32 percent of the eve teasers are students, 35 percent are anti socials while the remaining 33 percent are middle aged men. The number of registered cases of sexual crimes against women in India increases from 67,072 in 1988 to 84000 in 1993. In 1995 alone , more than 25000 cases of molestation and 12000 cases of rape were reported in the capital city of New Delhi. It is estimated that well over 80 percent of the sexual crimes go unreported.
For example , 7643 of the 50000 estimated instances of violence against women were reported to the police even in Kerala , a south Indian state with the highest women’s literacy rate. An increasingly large number of college going women taking public transportation in Delhi have resorted to carrying pins, pen knives , and even daggers as a deterrent . Others have taken self defence classes.
A recent survey revealed that approximately 90 percent of college women in New Delhi have experienced sexual harassment in some shape or form. Yet , it is estimated that only about 1 in 10000 eve teasing occurrences are reported to the police. 8 percent of the women have stated that sexual harassment on roads has affected their personal or academic development in one way or the other. These facts may appear untrue and horrifying but they clearly show the plight of women in India. The condition is deteriorating everyday. It is high time , therefore , that we include eve teasing as a Tort under a new head of liability and curb this heinous practice.
When asked a few women if they experienced such a “torture” they were kind enough to answer it with their detailed experienced. “I am a white American female working in Bangladesh. The public groping here is shameless and beyond disgusting. As much as I want to fight back, I find that every day I impose more and more restrictions on myself to maintain my safety and sanity. Recently I was coming back to Dhaka from Mymansingh on a public bus. The young man sitting across the aisle from me began to very openly masturbate while staring completely unashamed at me. When I shouted at him (in English since I do not speak Bengali) it was the women around me who shouted back, apparently in his defense. I was wearing a salwar kameez, so I don’t think I was being faulted for immodesty.
Regardless, I was made to feel ashamed for his vulgar and degrading actions. Women and men obviously have to fight back because a society can’t function when half the population is constantly under threat of sexual violence. Sadly, I am seriously considering wearing a burka to and from work with the hope that when no one can tell my age or ethnicity it will become possible to commute without having my day ruined by these disgusting men. I was groped in a train when I was 12. I was coming out of the train loo, when an old man( in his 50’s I guess) pushes himself onto me and squeezes my butt.
Eve teasing is a wrong against the honour, dignity and self respect of a woman. It hurts her immensely. There is a strong need for combating this fast growing problem.
Hence, I strongly believe and hold that there is a immediate need to bring eve teasing as a separate head of liability under the Law of Torts. There should be a provision for a strong punishment for eve teasers. At the end of it I would like to say only one thing that in a country like India where women are worshipped at par with the Gods, this kind of behaviour against women is unjust, unfair and Hippocratic. We should be respectful to women. Then only we would be on the lines of happiness, prosperity and success.
- Secondary data: FEMINA www. wikipedia. com
- www. legalservices. com