I am sick, so completely sick, of this issue called eve teasing. The number of times it has happened to me, the number of times it has happened to my friends and other girls I know, the number of articles I have read about it – makes one shocking fact so clear: that eve teasing is a very, very common thing nowadays. And this has pushed me into writing about this one incident of the many other incidents of eve teasing that has happened to me.
Once, a couple of my friends and I were waiting to be picked up by a friend of ours. We were standing in front of a closed shop, and the road was relatively deserted. One of my friends was adjusting the other’s hair, and so they didn’t notice when a guy on a bike parked behind them. I turned to ask if I could borrow some lip gloss, when I felt his gaze on me. I looked at him, and he half-smiled at me, and it took me a split second to realize what he was doing.The zip of his jeans was open, and his hand were around his – well, you know what, and they were jerking. I looked away instantly, horrified, I didn’t know what to do. I was so horrified, I couldn’t speak or scream. And then I heard the bike zoom past us, and I finally had the courage to look up. I was still in a state of shock when I saw him look back at me and smile. I was disgusted, repulsed beyond anything. My friends, who had had their backs toward him, hadn’t seen anything.
I was pretty innocent then, I guess, (and also I was new to the city) because I didn’t even know that people could do such things. That’s what shocked me the most. When I told my friends about it, they consoled me, and they said such things were actually quite common. And when I went home, and told my cousin about it, she said it had happened to her too. Same with another college mate of mine, although she told me she’d thrown her hot coffee at the man for that.
There are a lot of things I wish I could have done at that time, lots of things I wish I had yelled at that guy. But at that moment, I was so unprepared (not that you can ever be truly prepared for such a thing to happen to you) and I was so infinitely shocked, I was rendered speechless. But I got over it. I’ve got no choice but to get over it, and to get used to the fact that such things happen.
But see, that’s the problem. It is not okay. It is so not okay. Such things happen, and we should not be getting used to this. A world in which it is normal to get leered at on the road because of what you wear or what you are is so definitely not okay. And that’s what I want everyone to know – even us, women. It’s not right to simply “get used” to the fact that we get eve teased. Because that is a wrong thing. And we should let people know how wrong it is, and that we are totally not okay with it. We should stop trying to lead our lives around it, trying to get home early, or not go out late or alone or wear a jacket over a sleeveless top when we’re on the road – just so that we don’t “bring it upon ourselves”.
It will take a very long time to change the way some people look at women, and to completely stop eve teasing (or at least bring it under control to a certain level), but every step taken is a step closer to that end. And the very first step is to let the world know : that it is not okay, and that women are never going to, and should never be expected to “get used to it”, and that eve teasing should not be a common phenomenon in a woman’s life.