Monday, March 06, 2006

Blank Noise Project

This is my entry to Blog-a-thon at Blank Noise Project:

“You can write about anything related to the topic: testimonies, opinions on harassment, comments about the Blank Noise project, would all be great. It doesn't matter where you're from, where you live, or whether you're a man or a woman - we'd love to have you on board.”

So if you are reading this post and if you have anything to about this topic, do blog about it.
I know it would take much more than your post to stop street harassment, but it might make a difference.

I will also keep myself to street harassment and eve teasing, which is the scope of the Blog-a-thon. I have not made up my mind as to what I want to write, but I will just start anyway.

A Gentlemen, always always (sic) makes one feel comfortable.
A gentleman will not do things that will be uncomfortable to someone else, and even if he does so, he always apologizes and tries to make him/her comfortable. Says a book that I once read at a friend’s, “How to be a gentleman”?

But not all men are gentlemen you see.
And street harassment continues.

Imagine for once that it was your sister or girlfriend in the shoes of the victim.
How would you feel?
Eve-teasing, harassment and feel-ups are things that happen to a lot of women, everyday. Blank noise project wants people to speak out. It just might make a difference, for as long as people keep quite about it, the perpetrators of the same will continue doing so thinking that they could get away with it or worse, thinking that it was OK to do so.

Almost Every girl have had come across street harassment. Since I decided to write about the same, I asked some friends if they have had an experience of such, and the answers were 100% affirmative.
Not a good sign.

I still don’t know what could be done so that street harassment stops, and I believe it will some day.
Eve teasing, I don’t think is as prevalent as it used to be a decade or two back. As more and more people are getting jobs, with a good economy, with lesser number of street Romeos, I think in percentage, the instances of eve-teasing must have increased (an assumption). But then, there was good old harmless teasing cum flirting like the Mithundas and Akshay Kumars did a la late early 90’s movies, which according to me, ladies, is fine. Even I did, and I always got smiles or flirted back. (It is a little off the track but do read on…) But I know that girls can make out the difference. Of pure flirt and of lecherous advances.

Back in college, when I used to openly flirt with hitherto unknown strangers of the opposite sex, my friends would always tell me, “Hey Anthony, marwayega kya?” Are you going to get us thrashed? I never got slapped, nor thrashed, but gained a lot of friends from amongst the girls. And I learnt that most girls do enjoy a kind admiring attention. But my friends thought that I was crazy. You know, engineering college students, no courage to talk to girls let alone strangers types. I thought they were too, maybe too proper.

Then one day, one such guy felt up a batch mate on the last days of our college, in the college bus. He was apparently drunk, which was no excuse for what he did, and then did some more. The girl slapped him, but to the utter surprise of the girl, the guy slapped him back. It led to a lot of tension in the college, but that is not the point. I am trying to make a point here. Of the difference between flirting with a stranger and of harassment per se.

The difference between the two can be compared with an internet based analogy. Of the difference between asking “hi wanna chat A/S/L please” and saying “cute ID, are you naked?” in the late 90’s chatrooms. I am not endorsing the former, but then I just wanted to make sure that no one confuses, befriending a girl with street harassment. Otherwise I will never get to know a new girl unless I have a solid referral. Jokes apart, I know when a girl can make out the difference. The key word is discomfort. If your advances make the other uncomfortable, do a tactful retreat. Be a gentleman.

And any form of unwanted advances, is harassment. Be it is an isolated street or in a crowded disco. Never do insist. If you don’t know how to make a pass, then don’t. If she says no, consider it a no. Uski naa ka matlab ha nahin hein Boss. This, I have learnt. Key word “ Tactful Retreat”. This was about flirting which I though would be confused with street harassment.

Other than this is what is known as cheap thrill. Somebody feeling you up or rubbing. Now this is not only cheap, but horrible and disgusting. I knew this horrible guy with the height of a midget, who also gave me some unforgettable raggings, who would travel in a crowded public bus from one end of the city to the other whole day just to be in the crowd. Nobody liked him, and it used to disgust us because we knew he did that.
Another is pure eve-teasing, of unwanted sitis (whistle), and chamak challos and nasty remarks, not admiring but leching or disrespectful gestures. To those guys who think we have every right to admire a beauty, girls I know have told me that they know when someone is genuinely admiring or leching. If you want to lech, go buy yourself a porn magazine.

There is only one remedy though. The guilty must be punished. In Pune, there are considerably lesser eve teasing cases because the police in plainclothes would hang out in crowds and even crowded busus especially during festivals to catch hold of eve teasers. I think that is a very effective exercise and should be practiced everywhere, all year long. Every year, hundreds of people are reprimanded.

I will keep posting whenever there is news related to harassment.

But if, by banning even the instances of flirting and teasing that I mentioned as I approve of, street harassment will stop, then so be it. It is a small price to pay. I can always ask for a referral.

One small advice to girls. If you travel by local train or walk often in busy street, carry a small haversack or back pack which can be hung from the shoulder. Hanging it on the front is very effective, and you will look kinda cool. My ex girlfriend always did that and told me it was quite effective. She used it to hit people also, If she suspects she was bumped.

And learn kick boxing. Learn to give back as you take.
But if a guy admires your beauty, he might also be your future partner. Don’t immediately discount him as a satan. Love at first sight, anyone? It only happen between strangers right. I for one, always smile at a girl.

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12 Comments:

Blogger Deepti said...

There is a miiiiiileeeee of a difference between harassment and flirting.. and any girl knows it.. you can read it ... it's all in the eyes.. when a guy flirts he does not come out as being too aggressive... does not continue to pester... and most importanly 'IS NOT FURTIVE ABOUT IT!!!'

7/3/06 2:08 PM  
Blogger Hawkeye said...

Dude, what we need is courage to raise our voice and our hands when we see it happening around us. Educated people have a nasty habit of minding their own business, of looking but not seeing. I wonder if I will have the courage in a similar situation? Hmmm.

7/3/06 6:22 PM  
Blogger Rita said...

Anthonyyyyyyy, I could not help smiling to myself while I read your post. :)
On a serious note, feel-ups are an everyday affair in buses. I never took it lying down though. Never raised a hue and cry either. I just stepped on the fellows toes with my high heeled shoes! Simple yet effective. :D
Next, is flirting. I remember umpteen number of times when I've taken that on a positive note. It is fun! But the problem is when men get confused between flirting and eve-teasing. 'Aati kya Khandala' from a passerby is not mere flirting!

7/3/06 7:16 PM  
Blogger Navjot Kashyap said...

Tony,
Post is nice. But, all these things WE are talking.WE means people who have got good education and most of us(guys) don't get into harassment. Its usually the folks who either have nothing to do in life or havn't got and decent education to treat women as equals.And this WE is a very small percentage in India - inspite of the recent advancement in economy and more and more young people getting jobs.

7/3/06 9:18 PM  
Anonymous tony said...

@ Deepti: Completely agree... As have told by lots of other women too..

@ Hawkeye: In those case just think how you would have felt it was ur loved one. I always do.

@ Rita: LOL, that one is nice.. DO blog about it, so that people can learn, i have seen one girl
literally thrassing a guy and then the public also joined in lol

@ NK: There are many educateed people, and decent looking uncle types who also feeel up.... Why do you think only uneducated people will do it... many people who harass women are from the so called educated class... education don't really teach us those things does it?

8/3/06 12:04 AM  
Blogger Casablanca said...

What can I say? I posted on this yesterday, and I'm glad to see guys supporting this cause too! Its part of the battle won, if you ask me. Now we only need more guys like you, to educate or scare away the others who think lewd remarks and unwanted body contact is in the chalta hai league.
It *so* isnt!

And btw, werent you coming to HK sometime soon?

8/3/06 3:44 PM  
Anonymous tony said...

I am, soon ;-)
Got postponed by a few days.

8/3/06 5:19 PM  
Blogger Casablanca said...

Oh, do let me know when you do come... though I'll be out of here in a couple of weeks.

9/3/06 5:39 PM  
Blogger visithra said...

all that you've written are the reasons women dont hate all men - just those idiots - but i have something to pick with u - the midget - u knew he did such things - u could have made a change if u had reported him - the problem with harassment is it doesn't go reported - or the one reporting is chided for doing so

15/3/06 10:04 AM  
Blogger Vijay said...

Blank Noise Project was a wonderful drive to bring out the opinions into the public domain.

My Blog :http://India-IT-Pulse.blogspot.com

Vijay

15/3/06 6:49 PM  
Anonymous tony said...

@Visithra.. It was like we just knew it happned. It wasn't like we have sen him do it, but it was the talk of the twon. Had i een him doing the same, i would have reported, i would have just fanned the public into giving him a piublic thrashing. i had personal scores too. lol. eah, but then I could have done lil more..

Vijay: Ur blog sounds interesting..

15/3/06 7:23 PM  
Blogger Blank Noise said...

hi there. this one's from bn after all these years! can we post you here?
http://bnguy.blanknoise.org
??

do you have new new thoughts to share on the same?

thanks

30/7/09 11:48 AM  

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