Street harassment, Harmones and the Culture

Blanknoiseproject was over on Tuesday. I didn’t realise that the deadline was strategically chosen. Yesterday was international women day. Do you know it was “National no-smoking day” in Brittain? I am with Chakra in not being a fan of any of these days. But, the non-smoking day indeed did some good. Many smokers in Brittain did not smoke for the whole day, whether or not they are are going to give up, some are indeed thinking of it. Good for them.

Now, coming to our topic, My post for this Blog-a-thon project was not exactly about street harassment. I was intelligently aware of that. The first thing that came to my mind when blanknoise announced the topic, was “bullying”. Believe me it is equally a crime, and could affect someone to a very serious levels of psychological problems. We all have had some of those experiences, many of us have been the bullies ourselves (not me). but, when I watched other blogs reporting on sexual harrasments that have happend in the streets, buses, etc.. when many women decided to speak out for the first time , and there were few such stories that have been reported previously in the blogspere have affected me for sometime. Ammani rightly points out that this is the problem. I don’t know how many of us truely got/get the message as big as a ocean conained in that quicktale which is as small as a mustard (கடுகைத் துளைத்து கடலைப்புகுத்திய குயிக்டேல்). More street stories cropping up in the net made me realise that this (blank noise project) is about women. Really? If I had known before that blanknoise is intentionally oriented towards “feminism”, I would have stayed out of it. Mainly because I am with Vulturo and Arnab (Arnab, these street stories have not happened to just those “provocatively dressed women”, and it was not just “looking”. I am sure you know that by now. As you have rightly mentioned, “provocatively dressing” is a very relative term, between those men who think this girl is “provocatively dressed”, and the girl who is “dressed” according to her liking. men who are used to conventional dresses may think that a Tshirt is a “provocative dress”, which is just a comfortable clothing for a human being living in a tropical country? I suggest you read this, It is just a sample piece (updated)) in this one that I don’t agree with “militant feminism”, as a few fellow bloggers fondly call it. I observed a little more, there were more street stories, speaking out, which I thought it is a welcoming trend. Men have started speaking out too. As you can see from the comment section, (if you are new to his blog, I am), it is very uncharacteristic of him sharing such a personal information, He is speaking out for the first time, it is about his mom, which makes it even more difficult. This trend is what made me realise that I should not withdraw my support (more the louder), and should write something about sexual harrasment. After seeing many street stories I decided to make it a work-place story, not only because it gives an idea about working conditions are not safe either, educated men are not different either, but also because there are countless number of street stories in my life, and I couldn’t pick one particular story.

Victims of sexual harrasment do not speak out in general, whether in India or elsewhere. This blanknoise projet has helped them to open up. That is a great thing to do. I disagree with Vulturo here in that that I don’t care who they are, what they do is correct or not, victims have decided to speak out, that is a great thing, and I support that. Also, I disagree with his propaganda (this word is nicked from vulturo’s blog) that these victims are blaming “everyone”. Stop, please. This is what (well, one of the reasons) has made the victims suffer in silence. Victims are sharing their painful experience. They are not blaming “you”. I agree, all men look same to the victims eyes. Read, how Sarah feels here, a little excerpt,

    If every time a man looks at me or talks to me I get furious and repulsed. Sure, not everyone is out to get me…but how can I tell? …………

I agree and understand your (Vulturo’s) voice. Believe me, I have been there too, it was just a different topic altogether, nevertheless, the feeling is same. I am with you in that. But, I hope you do follow what I am trying to say.

As Chinamyee rightly says I couldn’t go through all those posts. Here is her own experience. some blogs have summarised their readings, Abhishek, Arnab, Gilli (கில்லி) and Mathy (for tamil readers).

Now, read this. There are some genuine questions. A little excerpt from this one,

    But the thing is – is there any socially/morally acceptable outlet for that sex drive in our country? The answer is a resounding NO.

Sex drive is caused by hormones. Simple. It is very natural. Nothing to be blamed, nothing to be ashamed of. How do you conduct yourself to deal with the hormones is what makes all the difference. There are few reasons why men do what they do. Lack of outlets, even for married men, particularly for married men aged over 40 (or 50?), and all unmarried men (well, they are expected to suffer by default). Living conditions.. Many living in the same house doesn’t let them have their normal active-sexlife. There are few more reasons we can point out, but I will have to do another PhD to make it a better list if not accurate and/or complete. But the question is, how women deal with it? why do they not go around and do what men do? Could it be the difference in hormones? Again, another PhD topic.

In my understanding, the major factor is The Culture. Our mighty culture. Delayed sex education (I used to be so confused about the “process” that this yellow thread (thaali) could create babies, until I left school). Telling women to “control yaar” (I like Greatbong’s “Control yaar” banner), telling us all (men and women) that sex is synonymous to sin. (I can’t believe how the concept suddenly changes on the day of marriage and becomes sacred). Telling women, not men, to cover. I used to wonder why men do not feel what women feel when their (men’s) body-part that is supposed to be tucked in, comes out of its cover. if a man loses his cover how on earth it becomes harrasment to a woman, and if a woman loses her cover, it becomes shame for her? It is our mighty culture mate. indeed. It is not that these kinds of hormonal problems do not happen outside India, they do. The difference is, our culture makes it more difficult for us. It has invaded your brain a long time ago. When you were a small child.

I am tired to death to continue this further. I am just tired.

DISCLAIMER (nicked from voice from a 2.5 world country. (I like your title btw)):This is all the output of my deranged mind, and may have no factual basis whatsoever, these are just my obeservations and theories.

PsS: Please help. I have done something wrong with my template. I just wanted to know who is linking my post where, I saw in some blogs they get that, I wanted to try and have done something wrong.. I do not like that big, bold “Links to this post” occupying so much space.. don’t know whether this is bringing all those links that link my post here, so help please.

Suggested links:

      Childline is a 24-hour emergency phone service for the children in difficult circumstances. Any child in crisis can dial 1098, free of cost. In an acute case I-India sends its ambulance to help the children
    NSPCC in UK, 0808 800 5000

a movie The woodsman


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. டி ராஜ்/ DRaj
    Mar 10, 2006 @ 04:04:00

    //But the question is, how women deal with it? why do they not go around and do what men do? Could it be the difference in hormones? Again, another PhD topic// hahahaha loved these words. A million dollar question, indeed.

    Over all, your views would stand tall in the eyes of people who have no bias, whatsoever.



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