Monday, March 06, 2006

Blank Noise Blog-a-thon 2006

That a woman growing up in India would face eve-teasing or sexual harassment is a given, unless one was a Rapunzel in an ivory tower. However, Rapunzels wouldn't be spared from various forms harrasment at home or in the workplace either.

To discuss this issue The Blank Noise project is hosting a Blog-a-thon on the street harassment that women face everyday. There is so much for each of us to write on this topic but others have said in an infinitely better and moving way. Read Annie Zaidi and mangs.

Some things, you learn to expect (relief is always unexpected).

Therefore, you will be very pleasantly surprised when a man takes the seat next to you, and actually leaves two inches breathing space between you, instead of pushing so close that the windowpane leaves marks on your forearm.... All the same, old habits die hard, and you will spend the journey with a clenched fist balled up somewhere in your shoulderblades, because, you never know when he'll start acting up, do you?
You will also feel miserable when the well-behaved one gets down two stops before yours - it's too much to expect two well-behaved men sitting next to you on a single trip.
But no matter how much you steel yourself to it, sometimes, you will still get reduced to tears.

AND

I first remember being pinched at Grant Road Market, where I had gone shopping with my mother. I was standing near a cart piled with whatever wares the vendor was selling, holding my mother's hand. I was so young, I had no breasts to pinch. Yet this bastard came by and did just that and then started running away. My mother turned and I blurted out what had happened and she ran after him. He was caught, by her and some other people, and severely beaten, taken away by the police.

Yet when in a rare case the offender is caught it never ceases to amaze me how women are expected to be kind and forgiving in return.

The Man is taken off into the lock up and half and hour later a woman cop shows up. I'm taken into another room, where she offers me boiling coffee from a thermacol cup and suggests, somewhat deferentially, that I should reconsider pressing charges because (again), "You will ruin his life Madam."

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