Fighting Eve-teasing: rights and remedy
Nature has given women so much power that the Law has given them very little. Samuel Johnson
The Term Eve Teasing used to refer to sexual harassment of women in public places such as streets, public, transportation, park and many places of social meetings. This type of public harassment by a man or a gang on women such as verbal assault as showing obscene gestures, winking, whistling and staring and also the physical assault such as pinching or rubbing against women in public places. It also includes many more things which have the definition under preview of word obscene or violence.
Women are often criticised 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 terms 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. Violence thrives in the victim’s acceptance of the victimiser’s moral right, social superiority and physical power.
Eve-teasing has been a notoriously difficult crime to prove, as perpetrators often devise ingenious ways to attack women, even though many feminist writers term it as “little rapes” and usually occur in public places, streets, and public transport.
Eve Teasing – Why?
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.
Let Us Now Examine Eve Teasing in the Eyes of Law
The Question arise here is whether it falls under Civil wrong or criminal wrong?
~ Fazal Ahmad
Follow him on Twitter @fzlsammy