Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Streets, stories, strategies

I had my doubts about blogging this - writing about street harassment. After all, it's as common-place as paan stains, as ubiquitous as spit.... Will my saying 'NO' to harrassment prevent it? How does telling my stories serve any purpose?

But while discussing the Blank Noise Project with a male friend (who has never maaro-ed seeti, never chhedo-fied, never sung lewd songs, never felt up, pinched, grabbed any part of any woman), he told me: "How do you know? Some teenaged boy somewhere reads this and decides not to molest women... you never know." For men like him, I write this.

Some things, you learn to expect, growing up a girl.

You expect to confront harrassment as surely as the sun in May and the fog in a Delhi December.

When you leave the house, an invisible snake of alert suspicion will wind down from your shoulders down your back and become a clenched fist in all public spaces, through all journeys.

How optimistic you're feeling about man-kind, on any given day, determines whether you take a bus home, or just hop into an auto, or a cab, knowing you cannot really afford it. If you really cannot afford an auto some day, you will not take the bus at rush-hour.
You'll let bus after bus after bus go past. Waiting is tiresome. But waiting is easier than bristling.

You didn't always expect to do this, of course. One learns these things, by and by.

I began learning in Bombay. Yes, that delightfully sprawling city that is so kind to its women.
My first lesson was delivered atop the railway bridge at Andheri station when I was 13 years old. My first visit to this city by the sea. The first brush with the overspilling local trains. The first time someone grabbed my 13-year old breast.

After all these years, I cannot forget - his face pudgy, more fair than dark, moustache, white shirt, briefcase in hand, big belly, must have been about 40. Old enough to be my father. I remember he had walked into me - or pretended to - and while I struggled with the shock of what he'd been doing under the guise of walking into me, he calmly walked away... Just a regular uncle-ji hurrying home after a hard day at work.

What did I do?


Nothing. I kept walking, alongside my brother.... My 17-year old brother who might have picked a fight if I'd told him.... What could I have told him?... 



It was too late anyway. The crowds had swallowed all of us so completely.

Some things, you learn to expect (though 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.

Seven years later, again in Bombay, after swearing to travel only in the ladies compartment of the local train, I learnt yet another lesson: some 'ladies' compartments turn into a free-for-all feel-up-jam-session after nine o'clock at night.

Suddenly, there were men's crotches pressing into my face, my knees and my shoulders. I stood up and fought my way to the door. Only to be surrounded by half a dozen men offering to 'get me out safely'. As the train stopped, half a dozen men got on, half a dozen got off. Trapped between them for a few seconds, I lost count of how many hands felt me up.

I cried tears of rage - if only that train hadn't moved away. I wanted badly to drag at least one of them off that train and smash his skull on the nearest railway track.


Some things, you get used to. Like rage.
Your ears will be whispered into, your behind will be touched. Songs will be sung...

You will learn to laugh. Humour is a great self-defence tool.

For instance, when a boy calls out 'good morning, madam' on a busy street crossing, I laugh it off.

When a boy follows me from my office everyday, offering to marry me, I laugh it off.

When silly men accost me on the streets and demand to 'make friendship', refusing to take 'no' for an answer, offer me lifts, I laugh it off.

When somebody calls me 'taazaa malaai', 'mirchi', 'badhiya maal', 'chhammak-chhallo', 'lassun-pyaaz' (yes, even that!), I shake my head and laugh it off.

Over the years, I even learnt to focus on the merits of the songs being sung/whistled, thinking about the musical tastes of the modern roadside romeo, instead of the intent behind the singing or whistling.

But when I am walking home at night and a car full of drunk men slows down, I cannot laugh. I can only seek relief in the other car coming down the road. If that car also turns out to be full of drunk men who also slow down near me... it is hard to keep up a sense of humour all the time.

Five years ago, once again in Bombay, I lost my humour and learnt not to NOT do anything. At Andheri station, again, for the first time, I used violence.

A man asked me 'how much?'.
I tried to walk past quickly.
He asked me a second time. 'How much?'
I took a step forward, then stepped backward, swung around, and threw a punch.
He looked very surprised and asked 'what did I do?'
I didn't stay to explain. That night, my fist was swollen. I'd never seriously hit anyone before.

The next time two times I punched men, it was at railway stations in Bombay. In both instances, I didn't hit out immediately. It was only when they persisted a second or third time, despite my obvious disinterest.

The third time was in Kathmandu, outside a movie hall. The man touched me three times before I finally lost it. He began by protesting - 'I didn't do anything' - and ended by saying 'sorry, sister'.
(Bless his poor sister, if he has one; I wouldn't want to be in her shoes.)


Some things, you learn. Some things are shaken and scolded into you. For example:

When walking, don't think. If you get lost in your own internal world, somebody or the other might misinterpret this as an invitation to grab some piece of you.

You stay alert. Not glaring at every passerby suspiciously can be interpreated as an invitation.

When walking, don't take quieter, narrower lanes which are more picturesque and less polluted. Those are pretty much reserved for the goonda-types and 'eve-teasers' of the city.

When walking past a parked car with the engine idling and man/men sitting inside it, step aside and put at least four feet between you and the car's doors ... don't you read the newspapers?

When lost, don't roll down the car windows all the way while asking for directions. Ask women and chowkidaars for directions, preferably.

Try not to park in basement parkings zone, if alone.

When in public - don't sing, don't smile, don't swing your arms, or your hips. It is better to wear a frown on the streets, along with mouth that looks like it can chew your head off, spewing some rather choice invective, if bothered.

Learn filthy abuse; use it.

When something is lost/stolen, don't go to the police station alone.

If propositioned in a dark, lonely spot, do not slap or insult. In a low, pleasant voice, say you're already engaged. If cornered in a really dark, really lonely spot, give him a fake name, fake phone number.

When accosted by a cop, tell him your dad/grandad/uncle is a senior cop.

If there are less than six people in a bus, don't get on. From Churchgate, at night, don't travel in Ladies first class. From Andheri, early in the morning, don't take the Ladies first class.

Don't hitchhike.

Don't sit alone by the sea for more than ten minutes.

Stop thinking about watching the sun rise over a field, all by yourself.

Stop thinking about long, leafy walks that lead nowhere.

Stop wondering how the streets looks at midnight, after a drizzle.

Stop... I don't know where, if, and how, this will stop. But I hope it does.


There is another aspect to this that I can't help thinking about: it creates a never-ending trap of dependence that many men resent equally.

We women depend - are taught to depend, are left with no option but to depend - on men for our safety and survival.

We can go out, but with 'ghar ke ladke' to take care of us. The brother, husband, father, cousin or boys known to the family will escort us - to a movie, to a mall, to a party. At best, you might be able to manage if you're a big group of girls. But how many times can you walk around as girl-gangs?

We learn, consciously and sub-consciously, that we cannot do anything alone. And if we do, we're going to have wage war every inch of the way.

That lesson is etched in so deep that conceiving of 'life' alone is...

No wonder you need men. No wonder you need marriage. No wonder you cling to the man, because how will you manage alone?

270 comments:

1 – 200 of 270   Newer›   Newest»
Rabin said...

speechless..

m. said...

you know... i didnt see this speaking up being so powerful. i thought of it more as a token gesture.

if even after reading narratives like yours, some men can continue being such lousy scum, theyre just beyond any redemption anyway.

that was painful to read, but thank you so much. and non illegitamus carborundum :)

smriti said...

i have to show this to ravi...got into an agrument about this the other day...he thinks girls ought to fight it all the way, i rolled my eyes at him, he thought it was because of "women like me" that such preposterous "activities" go on. i did not roll my eyes again, but i guess you figured that out.

Charu said...

I remember telling you recently that I dont like delhi... delhi to me is about being groped and stalkke and harassed... but I guess it is the same everwhere...

the line that touched me most was - "What could I have told him?..." I keep thinking this is why child molesters, often relatives, friends, kind "uncles" get away with whatever they do... what does a little girl say? or a little boy for that matter?

Annie, despite what we are taught having a man in your life - all the time, or just as a temporary escort is no solution - how does it help...?

here is something I had written long ago on harrassment...

Chinmayee said...

Hi Annie. Thanks for writing about Blank Noise. I'm the co-ordinator in Mumbai and am planning the first meet on Saturday. My email is chininath@rediffmail.com. Do mail me if you can make it. It will be in Bandra at 4pm.

Prakriti said...

Fuck!

pawan said...

strong writing.
if any Bombayite reads it, you are sure to have a fatwa passed on ur head.

Arnold said...

Brilliantly written post. It has certainly left me with a lot to think about. Not because I go around harrassing women on the street - I don't. It's because I always hated the concept of anything that tended display a discrimination against any one of the sexes.

For example, I hate the fact that Indian trains have a separate car for ladies. To me, that goes against a basic principal of equality. I understand that a woman in the 'general' car at rush hour is probably going to be subject to hell, and so having a separate car is the only practical solution, but at some deeper level the very concept hurts me. [You could possibly argue against me by asking whether I am for "common" washrooms as well?]

Also, the long line of points that you have mentioned as advice to other females in the country. Most of them make sense, but are horribly restrictive. It's a shame that the society we live in is in such a sick state that the only way a woman can live in peace is to restrict her activities. Drastically.

Ashish Gorde said...

I am glad you wrote this piece. It is something that most blokes need to hear. You'll be interested to know that, sometimes, even male or 'general' compartments aren't that safe for other men. I remember being 'felt up' by an old man during a rush hour and I was so helpless because I couldnt even move my hand to punch him -- even if I wanted to.

Anonymous said...

Hi Annie.
I'm moved...

N said...

I could hardly control the tears while reading this. You've said everything and said it so well.

IdeaSmith said...

The first spark...I'm writing something for Blank Noise too. Nothing new really..you've captured every thing that could have been said. Still, actually reading it makes you feel, you're not the only one facing this, thinking this and raging.

Jasmine said...

I can only repeat what the others have said: brilliant!

I'm writing for the Blog-a-thon, too. But I think I ought to stop reading other responses, because I'll be left with nothing to say.

Prat said...

Ah yes.
Being groped at twelve.You are in an orange tee,smiling & your way home. Man on bicycle gropes you outside the gate.
Followed by years of groping, more groping, uncles conviniently falling on you, some more groping and flashing.
The unhappy part of the story, apart from the trauma, being you never forget the details. Where. When. Clothes. How. And then.
Never think on raods. Very true. Never smile. Unless you want to hear a voice asking you in crude hindi if you want your breasts pressed.
I am sorry it happened to you too.
And I applaud your courage not only because you fought back, but also because you spoke up.

Abi said...

"I don't know where, if, and how, this will stop. But I hope it does".

I too hope it does.

Angona said...

i remember being molested for the first tie when i was 13... in a train... it was painful (physically) then... got over that in a few minutes... but it still hurts...

amar said...

Very moving. Sorry for the experiences.

There should be more awareness in India about what women face daily.

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.


My thoughts to men [of which i am one]. Give the women two inches of space in such crowded spaces and they will -- not often, but sometimes -- give a smile, a passing glance so warm that will make your day! But don't give the space for the smile, else you are a publican!

Shruthi said...

Stunning. Every word rings true.

Girija D. said...

powerfully written. Reading it made me feel that someone was writing my exact experiences....but it also showed me that i, and no other woman, is alone in having them. So thankyou.

Ashok's said...

i have seen these things happen in Chennai buses...defended the victim few times...but been a mere spectator sometimes..regret for that...
my advice will be that..give a stern/threatening look when you are touched the first time...or else the rascals might think you wont mind /wont complain /wont object and the worst he might think you are enjoin it and start extending his activities to other areas...SO OPPOSE AT THE FIRST INSTANCE ITSELF...

Neelakantan said...

Powerful stuff! Phenomenally well written.

Nitya said...

Hey,

Sad, but true.

And quite amusingly, they're all so alike. Delhi, or Bangalore, or Kochi, the ubiquitous icky uncle in the bus/train seldom shows variation. The last time I raised my voice, the UIU got on the offensive. Didn't get much support from the onlookers, incidentally.

Thank god for keen intuition and strong elbows!

Nicely written, though. Thanks!

Morpheus said...

THINKING IN !!!!
TOUCHED, DEJAVUED AND KICKED INTO THINKING..reactions without exclamation marks and capital letters in my blog
http://m0rph3us.blogspot.com/

JaneofallTrades said...

Oh gosh you brought tears to my eyes reading this. I was 11 when someone touched me inappropriately in Mahim market. I was so humiliated and embarrassed I couldn't even tell anyone. I was with my grandma who didn't alert me to perverts till I was older. Apparently she didn't realize that a little girl is also open target to perverts not just a young woman. Thanx for putting this together. I'm so touched by it.

Anonymous said...

you have given voice to those who cannot.................brilliant stuff.

Anonymous said...

it's happening in bangalore too.
1)8 years ago i could walk any street after work. but last saturday 4pm a white maruthi van followed me , stopped thrice. I proceeded to walk right in front take down his number and made as if i was calling the police. he dashed off in no time.
2)in an overnight bus journey someone groped from behind. i pulled the poor bastard's arm and shouted out" i've found an arm on my ass" without letting go. lights came on, the conductor made the man get out in the very next stop
3) my vegetable vendor keeps humming provocative tunes. i asked him to audition for indian idol
4)i have used safety pins in local buses and drawn blood.
5)i think i will kill people if i find them molesting teens /children
6)and i think its a bigger sin to remain passive

nonick

Anonymous said...

As an American born Indian woman, your blog has given me shivers that are all too familiar and brought tears to my eyes.

I'm not afraid to shout or scream or hit-I've always been the "spirited" one.

However my trips to India are met with heavy sighs and disgust for what is in store for the next 3 weeks. And there is this quiet hidden side of me that emerges. I wonder where the fiesty woman I thought I was-went. It's a shame.

It's true what you write- fists up, teeth clenched, all hell waiting to break loose.

Seeing how society operates, I dont' know when redemption will take place. Perhaps at the same time castration does.

mohita said...

That could have just as well been me you wrote about.
Very very poignant...

Anonymous said...

I was so moved by this story. more so because of years of having suffered similarly in Bombay. I currently live in the US and my comment has to do with the fact that some Indian men here are no different. They may not be so bold as to touch you, but the same sentiments abound....you are a
"free-for-all" if you are not accompained by a male friend/boyfriend.

Swapna said...

Wonderfully written... I can still remember the first time it happened to me when I was 13 too and how ashamed and shocked I was. I felt helpless and that was the worst feeling of all.

It isn't just limited to Bombay or Delhi or Chennai... I live in the US and even here, when you first meet a guy the first place their eyes go makes you want to wear a dhuppata and cover up (Even if you're already covered).

I long for the day that men will look into women's eyes when they talk to her and not her breasts.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god,

You have said it all. First time, I went thru' it in the bus, I thought that man had unknowingly did it, I was that naive that innocent. Only to later understand what I have gone thru'.

For years I suffered, the only solution, I could come up for myself was that I will never take those damn PTC buses of chennai and started riding a scooty wherever I went.

For guys who recommend fighting, I can tell you thing. It takes a few moments for a girl to even understand what happened to come out of the shock. By then the person has already gotten out of the bus. Where is the time to even react!! Frankly the things these people end up doing you would not have even anticipated it.

After the first time, you are careful enough not to take a bus or even if you did, you ensured that you got in the deppo so that you can comfortably sit and these things don't happen.

One thing though, in chennai men(left-side) sit on one side of the bus and women sit on the other side(right-side). As long as you are sitting on the window-side seat, you can escape!!

Even though, I am a hard-core indian enthusiast, I still want to say this.
This certainly does not happen in U.S. Women can live alone, walk alone on the street at any time of the night or day. I have personally done this without any sort of problems.

Patrix said...

Beautifully written.

I guess, I can never even begin to imagine how it must feel to be a woman

SpaceMonkey said...

Hmm. Deep. WTG, lady.

Anonymous said...

Amazing post. I appluad you for bringing up what females face on a daily basis. It is a shame that the judiciary has not recognized the extent of damage this is causing, despite lots of female judges/lawyers. One of the simple reason, guys do this is, they can get away with it. If for once, they had a severe consequence to face due to their heinous acts, I am positive, this will decrease. So why not think of a solution for this, rather than hope this will resolve itself. Inaction in this case will be more harmful. Just my 2 cents......

Ash said...

I feel like standing up and applauding your post. A near-perfect representation of the painful truth.

shub said...

i think you said it all :)
if it wasn't so tragic and painful, i'd call it a beautiful piece...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this, I live in Bangalore but am not Indian and wasn't prepared for the groping, not as bad in the south as in the north (I don't like Delhi at all!), but still everywhere! Other things to advise women, use women tailors. I have been groped by more than one male tailor here! Yes, they were shocked when they were promptly smacked and lost my business but still, they thought it was okay. Also, The writing is good but a lot of those guys who are running around groping women can't read...how do we help them understand???

bharath said...

Stop thinking about watching the sun rise over a field, all by yourself.

I think anyone who reads this at least will have a proactive perspective if they didn't have one before on this matter.

One of the well articulated pieces I read was Rape as a Social Problem by Vir Sanghvi.

Subbu said...

An eyeopener for others. Hope many people reading this change after reading u r post. I have seen it chennai, but i cudn't defend the victims.

Subbu.

Erimentha said...

I'm linking in my blog - thank you!

blah_blah_blogger said...

Shit...makes me feel miserable for all the times I've letched...

Pleiades said...

Thanks a lot for this post. Really. This post goes out to the bottle of pepper spray my friend keeps tucked in her bag all the time. And here's hoping she never has to use it.
Have put up a link on my blog - http://pleiades.blurty.com
I also wish more people would read it.

Anonymous said...

Do men who read such blogs also do such things?

IRIS said...

Dumbstruck!!!

Ritu said...

hi annie, came to this post through the link pleiades left on her blog. I could relate to every line you wrote. Have been through similar situations too. Heres hoping people dont have to face things like this more often in the future.

Anonymous said...

Carry mace/pepper spray - use liberally;

I have once beaten up an old muslim Uncleji complete with prayer-topi, for groping my tall pretty friend, with an umbrella. Until then it was for vanity that I carried it... Good use. Near Hazrat Gunj's busiest Mayfair traffic lights. People came, police got involved, Uncle-ji tried to touch feet and I kicked his teeth. Writing about it makes me want to throw up even after 17 years.

Tell Lance Armstrong to choose another slogan. Indian women 'live strong' every day.

Anonymous said...

Being a man it was impossible to associate with all this. Now I feel like a killer. Thanks for the blog it was more than touching

Kim said...

Very very true. Went through some horrid experiences the first time I was in Mumbai. But conveniently tried to block them out of my consciousness.
Now having come back after a couple of years I have the luxury of car & driver. But I fear for my sisters & cousins who use the local transport system. But each one of them is learning to handle it in her own way.
Hats off to you for writing this. Its a very disturbing experience that leaves a woman feeling dirty & guilty & its very difficult to speak about it to anyone who hasn't experienced it themselves.
Will be linking u on my blog. hope thats ok.

Anonymous said...

Damn neat...writing about it. Delhi streets are no better. Makes me sick with disgust about how unsafe women are everywhere.

confused said...

Wonderfully well written...Left me speechless...

Linked you to my blog...if that helps

charuta said...

Too good!
I can relate to all the comments about the pain being felt. the worse part is, ages later it happens, the pain still reamins. it feels so low, like being taken for granted as a sex object. its not the body, but the soul atht is hurt.
i decided to take up defense classes..& to top it: the class teacher tried his hands on me!!!
where does one go for a solution?
do i need my boyfriend around always? at times i can't even tell him what happened.
the other day, when this guy in bus was staring at me, i let my stress blow up & shouted filth at him. i felt better (he looked embarrased n all in front of the public! :) )
thanks a lot! m gonna tag you on http://charuta.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

brilliantly written. i was brought up in australia, and was consequently incredibly shocked the first time i visited india after i 'came of age'
i unknowingly sat on the end of a group of people whilst watching a movie and a guy next to me started trying to feel me up (i didn't actually realise what he was doing until the next day when i thought it over), i dug my nails into him pretty hard and he stopped, but i just thought he didn't realise what personal space was and he was just spreding himself out.. obviously i was wrong.. and i made sure i sat in the middle of the group when we went to watch movies after that...
hope you don't mind if i link to you in my blog

pallavi said...

just realised you couldn't tell me if you did mind... i put in my site this time

Suhail said...

Simply brilliant!

Vandana said...

Hi there,
Very well written and beautifully expressed. But I guess you missed out on something. Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, Venice, Paris...does the place really matter. It does not, one can get molested anywhere and everywhere. Does it matter who does it, or how he does it or where he does it, the point of the matter is that he sees u, molests you and then walks past you like nothing happened. Actually even that is not the point, what is important is if and how you fought back. I was molested as a young girl on her way to her Xth standard coaching classes. I got off the bus thinking I had done something wrong, till I figured that I hadn't and ever since I have never stopped my elbow or my knee from reacting automatically to such perverts. I travel late at night most often, if a man looks at me..i glare back at him or better still ask him what his problem is. if he still does not relent then I roll up my sleeves or bring my bag forward ready to attack and they can make out I mean business. I don't stop at just me, if I see a man making lewd comments at other female commuters I look him in the face and ask him to behave.
Its an impossible task to eradicate perversion in men. I guess its an inborn quality that makes their testosterones go crazy at the sight of a women. Most need to see a lady in the lewd..but some make her nude in their evil minds. So there really is no stopping them. What we can do and what we should do is fight for ourselves, fight for our dignity and fight because we are worth it. We need a man to be by our side because it feel nice to have a man we can cling to, it feels nice to feel that strength that their masculine arms presence give us, but it is not necessary to have a man for our protection. Every day of our lives is like its a crazy war scene and you will survive only if you pick up ur weapons and fight back. So women surge on, fight ur battles, its our world as it is the man's.

david raphael israel said...

Annie,
at this rate, apparently your searing post may perhaps mark a record for most-commented-on.

Living in a different country and differing environment, I would not have known nor imagined such extreme, inhospitable conditions to be so commonplace as this report (and the echo in comments) painfully suggests.

Of comparative note: I've known many woman living alone in big cities (such as New York and San Francisco) who have been able to walk largely at ease, oftentimes alone, often indeed at any hour of day or night. Though some courtesy of late-night escorting may be seen at times, it doesn't present so acutely the spectre of a necessity. As for travel in broad daylight, on buses and subways, etc. -- well public manners (in my limited observation) seem to be in a generally healthy state here....
But it should be noted -- so far as I've observed -- many women in NYC these days are comfortable taking subways alone at midnight, without incident. (I actually rather think the state of public good manners -- on the level under consideration here -- has possibly improved over the past couple decades, in that and other cities.)

Congratulations are due for those seeking to draw the spotlight of candid attention to this current, acute social malady in India.

best,
d.i.

Vidya said...

We learn early & learn the lesson well... my first experience with the louts of this cadre...was with an old uncle - a 'family friend'!! Hot tears of contempt & anger fill my eyes when I think of it even today... 12 years down the line!! I still meet him in parties & grit my teeth, seething...wonder if the terse lips could be perceived for a polite smile - does it matter to him...he is looking at the lips...then else where...period!!!
I move on...almost willing him to try his luck now...how I'd like to get even.
The fact remains that several perpetrators are in fact people we know ... It is particularly disgusting when they are 'well-meaning' 'friends' (gosh!! so many terms in single-inverted!!) 'uncles', 'teachers'...get the picture?!

Yes! react we ought to...but several will nod their heads in agreement as I say ... The incident fills you with so much shock, a constricted feeling in your throat & immobility that the moment is gone & you just tell yourself ... one more thing added to the 'Beware' list...& you discover close friends in presence of mind, knees, elbows, fists, nails & more subtly, artic glares, arched eyebrows accompanied with a snarl-like up-turn of the mouth ...

Anonymous said...

Hey Annie!
I guess you have voiced exactly what most of the girls around feel like.... the anguish, the helplessness is much related to... Kudos to this wonderful piece of expression, and to all you girls out there- She's right- stay alert and stay safe.

annie said...

I have no time at all to respond to each of you individually, (though I will, later) but thank you all for responding to this. Maybe it did make sense, writing this in the first place...
It wasn't easy, because, like the song goes 'karoge yaad toh har baat yaad aayegi' Suddenly, a storm of unpleasant memories has returned, which lay safely buried for the last few years.
And of course, everybody's free to link to it, too. I don't mind at all.

banished soul said...

wow sister.. can totally relate to you... here is something i wrote abt online harrasment ( http://suryasbest.blogspot.com/2006/02/not-so-hidden-language-of-sex.html)

a.g said...

Thanks.

kaaju katli said...

Thank you for writing this, Annie.

Anonymous said...

thanks Annie for daring to put in words what every woman goes thru but doesnot have the courage to speak up

Aishwarya said...

It wasn't easy, because, like the song goes 'karoge yaad toh har baat yaad aayegi' Suddenly, a storm of unpleasant memories has returned, which lay safely buried for the last few years.

When I first decided to write for this blogathon and thought about what I would write a lot of painful memories came back, and I realised that whatever I finally chose to say would of necessity be impersonal and analytical, because there are things it hurt to say. Thank you for doing what I could not, this is a brilliant post.

Anonymous said...

Shocked, disgusted, ASHAMED - - Male, 23

Just like your words suggest - hang in there Woman, with your head high

Anonymous said...

Hats off to you for havin such guts to tell it all...This is a disease spread worldwide and everyday every single girl/woman facin on her way out.. sumtimes,even by sumone who she trusts..utterly disgusting!! Every woman has a story or two like this to tell...Thanks for sharing with us
Lc

Radhika said...

that left me choked, can't tell u all the things i didn't do cos i was afraid of what would happen on the way and back. and some of us are taught not to react cos the bastard might snap and do something 'worse'. i wish every last spinesless eveteaser would drop dead.

Dana (Canada) said...

Hi,

I'm a Canadian woman studying International Development at the University of Ottawa, and I found it incredibly eye opening to read your post. In all of the classes and seminars I've ever taken where India was discussed, no one EVER mentioned this horrible sexual harassment and assault. It seems we only hear the good stuff... "India is the world's biggest liberal democracy" and such. Funny then how in a "liberal" democracy, women's liberties are being restricted every day. Thank you so much for your post, and I've passed on the url of your blog to other women here in Canada.

- Dana

mcx said...

I am a man, a part of the species that is the cause of your hurt and of you anger, your words have painted the walls of my room in blood, the blood that seeps from an old wound that has been torn open. But before I can speak of your words I must a few of my own and perhaps you in turn may offer me my peace. Let me first speak of my beginnings, I was born a fool and grew to a certain age as only fools do, with uncompromising faith in this world and all of our brethren. I lived in dreams so knew little of this world and was content in my ignorance till the day a nice man offered me a seat besides his. I was positively gleaming, for the journey home was long and the burden I carried upon my shoulders, great. So I sat myself next to this kindness never wondering why a seat had remained empty on a crowded bus.

Soon his kindness found their purpose or more so his hands did the finding. This invoked the strangest of emotions that a child my age had ever felt. It was at once scary and yet wonderful, I did not understand but I feared and in all of this the only certain emotion was shame, I felt it then most predominantly. I squirmed under his seeking hands trying to wriggle myself out of their reach but he persisted, occasionally smiling in to my face or asking me of my family and friends and ever so often sliding his eyes across the length and breadth of that confined space. In the course of my journeys I would be privy to his kindness several more times. I have bared this in a silence that has rarely been broken before this day.

Till this point our stories do not differ, at least in spirit but the cause of my guilt is not my silence it is the sins I myself almost committed after they had been committed upon me. I was still young only a few months older but my understanding of what is normal and what is not held no more I had started to see things in a different light and suddenly everything around me was seen with suspicions. I began to see wives neglected by their husbands turn to infants, women eying young boys or old men young women or boys, till this date I am not sure of how much of it was true and how much imagined. All I am certain of is I was alice and the Kansas of my innocence was no more.

It is in this stage of confusion that I was to be embraced by my hormones and the onslaught of my puberty. In my wonderland I drifted unsure and unaware of the gradual turning that was beset within me. The beast rose in me and found me wanting to sin, almost sinning upon others still innocent, fate or the gods spared of these sins, but neither by my choice. From that day I have existed in fear, the fear of myself. What I could have done haunts me but what I might one day become bleeds me. I know the child can no longer be nor do I blame a man or a woman for the poison I fear flows in my sprit but it is not often these days that I may look upon a mirror without fearing Jackal may meet his Hyde.

ruhey said...

hey itz an awesum write up....
really....
I had attended sum workshop, u were there..but tht was sum 4 yrs ago in mumbai...neway
loved the write up...might have a link on my blog..
cheers,
Ruhie.

Sumeet Kaul said...

But while discussing the Blank Noise Project with a male friend (who has never maaro-ed seeti, never chhedo-fied, never sung lewd songs, never felt up, pinched, grabbed any part of any woman), he told me - "How do you know? Some teenaged boy somewhere reads this and decides not to molest women... you never know."

For men like him, I write this post....

As a man, it fills me with shame that the best of men can only be "men like him". If not passing lewd comments, not grabbing any part of a woman and not pinching women are sufficient enough qualities for women to like men, then we — women, of course, but also men who strive to be much better than merely ‘not being lewd’— are doomed
A beautiful post, otherwise.

Łóòň Ġãĺ said...

I guess this is the story of every girl ... I could relate to it so much .... very well written ... but it's a pity that no matter how careful, alert you are ... you get subjected to sexual abuse ... and it doesn't only happen in Delhi, Mumbai ... believe me it happens in London as well!!! I had written a bit about this sometime back on my blog .... but it needs guts to write about the incidents u have mentioned ... and am sure it happens to all of us ...

Thanks a lot for the useful tips ... i feel everyone should read this extremely informative post of urs.

Am glad 'confused' linked us to ur blog. :)

ashu said...

Annie,

Followed to your post from DSS.
I think I grew up in a dreamland where everything was perfect, and if it was
not, I was unaware, and I guess I still am.. When I first came to know, during
my undergrad years, I thought it was just rare phenomenon. But, looking at the
post, and the comments, I think it is another disease plaguing our society. I
don't understand how a society that always respected women would come to this.
In fact, everything from our culture seems to be falling apart today.

By the way, your blog dates 7th March. (Done intentionally to keep it on
top?)

Tarun said...

You're very brave to put this in words and up here. I believe this should reach a wider audience as this is a really serious issue in India to this, I'll link it up later with a small extract (that prompted me to click a link via the IndiaUncut blog) on my impressions blog (direct link http://alternateplanet.blogspot.com ) accessible via http://alternateplanet.net
If you mind, please drop me a line and I'll take the link off.

chandni said...

u write beautifully...

It could be any woman talking...the way you describe feelings/situations/anger/pain everyhthing....

Emma said...

This person could have been me, and Bombay could so easily have been Hyderabad. What you say is so true. Yet, I have also realized this from my experiences - if you are in a crowded place and someone does this to you, attack, make a noise. More often than not, the crowd is on your side.

Anonymous said...

I am speechless..brought many painfull memories back..grt job done..dreaming and hoping for the day women will truely be liberated!

Anonymous said...

I am the man who harrases all the woman ! Muhuhaa Muhuhaaa Ha Haaaa Haaa

tarbuz said...

Hullo I've been harrased in London, in Moscow almost daily as a kid when using the train, there is nothing special abourt india, I can vouch for it. On the whole i find Indina men respectful and wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I'm a male & had similar experiences to mcx both with older men & women which turned me off alongwith other experiences away from sex. I find masturbation to be a better solace than a woman as it's also not confusing, strange or guilt. I've been with few women but wounds like this rarely heal, if ever. I hope we can have a better world someday.
jivan

Zaki M said...

brilliant..
but its painful to read about such stark realities..

Anna said...

my eyes are full, my nose is runny... i cannot believe that every girl has to go thru all this... what abt when i have children ?
my daughter? my grand-daughter?
shit.. this world is so messed up...

and its true... its the details that are hard to forget... everytime, i wear that red kurta, i wonder if another man will pinch my butt... or if it'll happen when i wear the blue salwar...
it still hurts... as much as ever...

Deepti said...

That was so true!! The most heart rending aspect of it all is the age at which we first face this torment!! You can never be too careful can you?

Anindya said...

Annie,
Hats off to the fact that you chose to come up with issue that has plagued our society for generations.

Anonymous said...

Annie,

Very well written, I come from Pakistan and we have the same problems there, despite the 'purdah' our women 'observe' and all the segregation we have here. As a young boy i constantly got this in the bazaars from Anarkali in Lahore to the main Bazaar in Jhang, the songs, the whispers, the pinches, the ass groping... it scared us from going to the bazaar and became an expected bane of going back to Pakistan every year.

Remember if you are ever cornered, SCREAM at the top of your lungs, that will normally scare them away. Women (and men) can no longer afford to be quiet, meek and gentle, when it comes to personal safety, we must all be defensive, vigilant, and aware.

Once on a journey from rural Punjab to Sindh my friends sister was being pinched from behind by a guy on the bus, when she complained to her mother, her mother made a scene and said 'tere kaar koi ma pehn nii' 'Do you not have a mother or sister at home' the man was beaten and thrown off the bus by others. I too used the 'tere kaar peo pra nii' 'do you not have any brothers or a father at home' line in Jhang bazaar Faisalabad, although to much laughter the point was made and the culprit shamed.

If you make a scene you shame them in public and they will think twice about touching or harrassing the next girl/guy they see.

Our jihad against perverts continues, but only because it has to. I look forward to the day all can move around our cities without harrassment. Allah knows why these people do what they do, but it has to be shouted back in their face.

Yours
An harrased Pakistani
lots of love
xxx

Anonymous said...

Hello,

Great to read this article, have been in the same boat!!!! I used to think Chennai was an orthodox, conservative place, and it happened there too!

I studied there for my post grad, and used to travel by bus regularly. There was this losuy scum, who inspite of all the space in the bus, came on to me from behind. This happened for about 2 days. The funny thing is all the people in the bus just watch the fun!

The 3rd day, I had reached my limits of patience, I screamed in the worst English/Tamil I knew, and slapped him tight!

The whole bus was so astonished, and this guy was absolutely flabbergasted, and got off on the next stop! I have never seen him again on the same bus for 2 years!

Those terrible people would never improve, but atleast when we stand up to them , it makes a lot of difference!

So to all of you out there, be brave and do what you have to!!!!!!!!

Cheers,

A friend

tejal said...

i identify

An ashamed Letcher said...

I read this blog post n 1st march and now i have lost count how many times i have come back and read it. I have never groped, ct marofied or passed lewd comments or physically absued women. But yeah I have stared at many a women. And after reading this blog a sense of guilt has engulfed me. I feel ashamed of myself. I feel really miserable about myself. I ve decided and have stopped staring at women from march 1st. I will soon link it to my blog. Hope u dont have any objections to it.

mcx said...

Hold your horses people I think we just entered dangerous territory with the last post. I am probably going to get myself filleted for saying this but I don’t think all attention is crude or even unwelcome(not that it is what the author herself is saying just clarifying). I think the message is that it’s ok to appreciate but not to the point where the appreciation violates someone’s personal space or causes them distress.

I often find many women and even some men just for good measure and I am sure the same is true for most you be it man or woman (well u know what I mean). Appreciation, attraction and even lust are all natural phenomenons (I feel like a biology teacher) it’s a part of our being but as civilized and more evolved beings than our lesser primates we are expected not to drop to the barbaric mating rituals of our yesteryears or even for that matter think puffing our lips, beating our chest or moaning will impress the opposite sex. Intelligence people use it.

The thing is as I am walking down the street or on a bus or for that matter at any point of my waking day I am often taken aback by the canvas that is the human body. If god were to be an artist he would be pretty darn good. I don’t letch nor do I touch or group the worse I might do is smile and or skip a beat and sometimes even pray that she might suddenly realize that I am her soul mate. All my wishful thinking apart I hope you understand why I felt the need to clarify this. Ps all men are not evil I have stood for 7 hours strait after giving up my seat to a lady on a bus(nothing exceptional just making a point) and this was taught to me by my father so that’s two that I can vouch for.

Peace
mcx

Srini said...

I have seen it happening but always thought that I was too young or too weak to protest. As grew up I thought its one of the rituals of Indian life. I never thought this leaves such deep scars. How would I know? after all I am a man. All I can say is sorry and also make a promise that next time I see it happen I would not ignore it.

rapunzel said...

thank you for writing this :) but you know...bloggers are a conscientious lot. or at the least, they're politically correct. i am surprised not ONE person here has found fault with the womans dressing. i've seen that happen all the time in real (as opposed to virtual) discussions. i've seen men get defensive and say that the girl should have dressed right

if ignoring it were an impossible solution....what would we be doing?

sathish said...

the main problem as you said correctly is in India girls/women are learnt to be dependent on guys/men.
if a girl/women learns martial arts or can beat up a guy then guys would not dare to do such kind of activities in public.
but parents dont allow this learning. if only parents awaken to allow their girl kids to take a lesson or two in art of self defence they need not depend on men everytime.

all said and done, there do exist some women who are happy rubbing against men. in my college days i do remember in a crowded bus where the lady was rubbing her ass against me. i did not have space to move forward or backward to avoid her and the worst part was people standing next to me thought it was me rubbing against her...

of course many might not believe it happened, but it was because i was never doing activity in crowded buses some girls used to talk to me as if we knew each other to avoid other guys...

Jyotsna said...

beautifully written and thanks for this...the hard truth!

zainabadi said...

Wonderful, wonderful post; one I totally related to as a British sister who loves India but who finds the simple act of just walking down the street in Delhi or Mumbai unbearably hard.

I have to disagree though with the posters who say that "it happens in New York and London too" -- harrassment can indeed happen anywhere, but the difference is the frequency and the "quality". I have never been followed, jeered at, groped, or felt physically threatened by a man on the street in the US or UK, although I know these things do happen. But in India it is, as annie says, a regular, frequent, even daily occurrence that you come to expect to the point of it becoming banal.

AdHocQuirks said...

wow. the so matter-of-fact tone of your post just awakened me. over the years, yes starting from even before i hit puberty, i was warned, made knowledgable of these things by mom, friends, girl cousins..and yes have had some such incidents too. i was for so long thinking that maybe i am the only one with such kind of bad experience, as i grew up i came to understand its an everyday thing. now i can find some reason of why so angry i was when i was in my teens, and why i was so aggressive when any male tried to talk to me.
these things, when we learn over the years, and become so imbibed in us, that sometimes we forget, just how passive we as a society we have become.
a very good post. thanks for sharing. both men and women should make occurances of such things unacceptable.

Neha Paruthi said...

They say its a man's world out there. Now because women aren't good enough. It's because of scums like these that we face everyday.

Delhi, Mumbai, Pune.. you cannot escape it anywhere. Try as you might. At night you better have a guy with you, or the world around will make you pay for it. The Man's World ..

If you ever do go to complain, the law enforcers look at you some guilty party who must have something to invite trouble. At times making you feel even dirtier that the vile men on the street.

So where does one go.. What does one do.. In this Man's World

Anonymous said...

There is some about of decency in society, that all men should learn of. They should never cross their broders.

I am of the view that men can still have some fun, as long as the women enjoy / don't mind.

All ya women community, you should carry pepper sprays and some self defence, haven't we seen Daredevil, where Ben Affleck tries to find the name of Jennifer Garner.

Nice post, but could be more narrative. All for what you say, I completely buy that, I know some of my friends feel insecure.

Cheers, to the indominable spirit of women.

mAVe

tharsica said...

I just finished writing a paper on The Taliban and Afghanistan women.

Maybe this post is not as extreme as what Women of Afghanistan go through…

but makes you wonder...how bad does it need to get?

I don't know how this has gotten so progressive that every woman has this on her mind when she is walking to work or school.

I visited Sri Lanka after living in the U.S. for 12 years...and every time I wanted to walk out the house...someone would caution me to be careful. "If men surround you...keep walking fast, don’t look up, and just ignore them." ...

i hang like a star; said...

i hope it stops soon too.

and there's only one way to do that: respect. and you won't gain any respect if you aren't going to stand up and demand it.

thank you for standing up.

Anonymous said...

Wow.

We have so many common yet silent experiences; yet it takes an uncommon mind and hand to bring them crystal-clear into the spotlight.

Ugly topic; beautifully, beautifully done.

Critics_anonymous said...

hey..
deres been much written ant it..everywhr i go in blogland..sum in pain..many in anger..and a few crappy ones only to show their art i felt..
But this one here..WORKED!
and dats all i can put here.

And..am i permitted to send this for print in The Times (Mumbai)?

Anirudh said...

What can I say? Another one of your posts that really makes one think.

Swarup said...

Are you really want to stop this ??

Then go through the serch engine and check all the Indian LAW , you will not find any law based on the principla of Crime .

The law made on the assumption , that all the 600 millions are rapist and all the 600 women are abala nari .. as a result the actual criminal will move in the society as a free and pwer full , where as innocent people will be behind the bar in false case .

Till the time the game and war will continue by Indian feminist with the support of NCW , the legal terrorism will will ensure the more and more crime in india .

Can any one explain me , what do we mean by a women ??
Is it only a wife/daughter in law ??

When in a road any one abuse your age old parents and sister waht you do ??

Now tell me when in your own home when a dishonest daughter in law abuse your age old parents , sister , what you will do ??

The fight should be Criminal vs innocent , but we wonder , indian feminsit understand that or not .

But history wittness , terrorist activity can not give the freedom , it kills only innocent , we also wonder , how many of you will agree for a law on the basis of crime instead of gender , caste or religion . let verbal abuse , mental harrasement , economical abuse , sexual abuse .. the punishment should be equla for me or women , who ever does that , that will be real equality , otherwise , sorry to say but indian women have to lead a life in the hand of indian feminist .. who belives in violence instead of a harmoney in our society and a lot of fund had been invested for that purpose to kill the indian family .

desireofthemoth said...

Hi Annie,

I wasn't sure about participating in the blog-a-thon before because I'm in the middle of exams, but your post made me decide to at least spread the word about the blog-a-thon even if I can't put up anything original in time.

It's a brilliantly written post...every word of it true.

Take care.

SCSilk said...

Wow.

I am SO fortunate.

As I read this, I thought back to 24 hours prior...I'd gone out drinking with friends in Pasadena, California, and was walking to my car, in a parking structure, three blocks away from the bar.

12:30am. Alone.

And no one bothered me. Which is typical. No one talks to me, no one touches me, no one harasses me.

To read that other women do not enjoy this, get the exact opposite behaviour....just stuns me.

I hope you all will ban together. I had no idea this happened.

farrukh: copywriter & journalist said...

Hi Annie,

Your post is proving that words are never futile. And there is so much we can achieve even if all we are doing is spreading awareness and sharing our stories.

I have already read a confession in your comments section.

This is a fellow writer from Caferati and co-moderator of Creative Majlis on Ryze saying bravo sister.

We should also brainstorm about a long-term solution to this menace. Like an easily enforceable law. Also, some solution to the daily commuting problems.

There's a true and inspiring story on my blog about an eve-teasing incident where the guy got a very good dose he deserved - when you have the time.

farrukh
copywriter and journalist

Em said...

Your post is very powerfully written, and a lot of it resonated with me, being a woman from a big city (Chicago). Especially this part:

"Don't sit alone by the sea for more than ten minutes.

Stop thinking about watching the sun rise over a field, all by yourself.

Stop thinking about long, leafy walks that lead nowhere.

Stop wondering how the streets looks at midnight, after a drizzle.

Stop..."

I have a slightly reclusive personality, but I can never indulge it except by locking myself in my bedroom. Once, I was studying for a summer in a small town, and I felt safe enough to go for solitary bike rides, just wandering around, and once I biked alone to the foothills of the mountains nearby and climbed one. It was a really exhiliarating experience. Even then, though, looking back I realize that had I been attacked it probably would have been to some extent "my fault" for going around alone.

The way I perceive the problem (although it may be different in India than in the US) is that women are given an undue burden of responsibility: a man who is assaulted is a victim of a crime, while a woman assaulted was stupid to have put herself in that situation.

Sundari said...

hi Annie..

Would like to put your link in my post...Hope its ok

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Your post was very moving, especially given the battles that have raged in my head.

I am a male and less than a year back, I WAS a strong supporter of FEMINISM and EQUALITY and RESPECT for women. I have read every single word of this post and every single comment here. I have never ogled or felt up anyone of either sex, and I condemn these acts in the harshest terms.

However, today I just look at this as just another social evil. I find NO REASON today to stand up against eve-teasing, or even rape, any more than I would stand up for innocent people being killed, looted, murdered, cheated and swindled all over the world everyday.

The reason for the change: The one woman I loved, and who loved me so much, unceremoniously ABANDONED me to be with another guy. I cried, begged,pleaded,contemplated suicide. Love is a strong emotion, the heart breaks. The scars it leaves behind cannot be washed. I do not know how traumatic a rape, and its aftermath can be, the EMOTIONAL torture, but I have been EMOTIONALLY raped and I have exhausted my ability to love.
I boil in anger as I write this, but the world around me thinks, I should move on.

Girls ditch guys, and guys ditch girls. Christians kill Arabs. Rich loot the poor. The unscrupulous swindle the innocent. Thousands die in meaningless wars.Today all I know is that the world has just lost its bearings. And each of us will just have to choose: either be a VICTIM, or a TRANSGRESSOR. Standing up to fight is okay, but it will always fail until there is a change of heart.

I know I have diverged far off the course of this thread of discussion, but I wanted to bring to your attention, that there is NO LESSER EVIL or GREATER EVIL in this world. Each of us has to choose what we do.

I will be fair and just until I get killed, but I do not expect fairness from others.

Disturbed Anti-Feminist

the wannabe indian punkster said...

I sit here....very still....I am speechless.
When I read your post.....I relive all the horror....the pinching, the fondling, the groping....as if it was yesterday.

Thanks is a small word to say for what you have written.

Anonymous said...

oh that was so deep
i have been thru similar things...i guess every female shud have gone thru...one my fathers cousin tried touching my privates when i was barely 8...

Sharad said...

It happens to all over world.

The only way to get rid of it, is protest.

Start it today.

Hit them hard.

Rajiv said...

Only one thing comes to mind. Education. Educate people about proper sexual behaviour. Shed conservatism. Talk about it. In our homes, in our schools, in our work places. Shed the ignorance.

maya said...

i think the post serves the purpose! i wrote too..but on a different vein...

Twilight Fairy said...

I identify with almost every bit of what is written.. "almost" because the experiences are all the same.. but I don't think we "need" men or depend on them for such trivial matters.. certainly not for small things like going to a party, mall or movie!

"No wonder you need men. No wonder you need marriage. No wonder you cling to the man, because how will you manage alone?"

No way! I am single, unmarried and live alone (even though my parents live in the same city - crime capital of India). I drive alone at unearthly hours. It's not as if I feel safe doing it, but I definitely don't need men to escort me to having a nice time. oh and mind you, I dont go around in a gang of girls either. There arent any single ones left anymore! :p :)

Swami Dukhananda said...

As a teacher and husbabd of a wonderful wife and two lovely daughters, I wish your comments are read by as many men, particularly Indian men, as possible and that at least some of them desist from such behaviour. What we require in India is the emancipation of men and not women, women are emancipated enough and have better shock absorbers to face conflicts in life! An extraordinarly written Text, very thought provoking! God bless YOU!

whisperingtides said...

evocative and complete. thanks... absolutely the definitive post on eve-teasing experience. linked you.

dancing chaos said...

I don't know if you'll manage to read through all 117 down to mine... But just know that that was one of the strongest narratives I have read in a very VERY long time... I have no doubt the sting of your punch is just as fierce.

rock on!

Anonymous said...

Jis dost ne aapko ye likhane ki nasihat di thi...meri our se unhe shukriya jarur kah dijiye ga.

Is wakt ,mai kam se kam ek bande ko to jarur jantahi hu, jo ab shayad pahale se kai jada 'conscious' hoga, bahar sadko pe insan bane rahne ke liye.

Thank You very much.
saksham

vikram chauhan said...

good one annie. especially when u say you humour it off. if you ask me what makes me funny... esentially... it is this one factor: when there is nothing else to do... you might as well laugh it off. And honestly, in the end, everything does seem funny. even though i have never ever eve teased, on the behalf of all male community, i render my apology to all women kind.

Venky said...

Superb and moving post...if this does not make a difference I don't know what will...please keep up the courage and the good work

Venky

wake said...

applause and more applause,
i think the most powerful part of your post is its ability to anger,disgust and create a relistic ,non-exagerrated understanding of what women actually go throgh not only in bombay but any part of the world
i appreciate this effort from the bottom of my heart

savy said...

excellent post...cd be anyone;s story and a great followup too :) agree with u on laugh it off mart..works damn good.
wd appreciate yr comment at my post..same link.

mcx said...

I have been reading this post regularly since I first read it and just an observation I want to add here, a lot of men grow up and die with this exaggerated faith that they are meant to be the beast, though I agree with the article in all its merits, in that it is both well written and often true, I disagree with the whole message of the post.

I think it only serves to distance or divide the sexes; there is already too much literature out there that proclaims men and women are planets apart and that all that is vile or corrupt must naturally be a mans inheritance.

I believe that there is a silent change that is occurring in the men’s world, identities and roles are changing, men are becoming more open to a different existence, some are no longer being defined by the stereotypes they are believed or expected to play. The sad thing though is that a woman’s emancipation was supposed to pave way to mans own emancipation but women though willing enough to take their freedom from the stereotypes that men seek to impose on them are often more reluctant to let go of the stereotypes that they in reverse expect of men. I fear that this will only push the sexes further and further apart, men will now be the ones who feel misunderstood and burdened by their sex.

A man, who is weak, is still told “to be a man” a man who is sweet is still thought of as “too girly” and a man who is nice still thought of as the whimp. Too many stereotypes too less an effort at understanding each other and so I fear we will ever remain in fear or illusion of one other.

The feeling that I walk away from reading this post and all the additions to it is that even now we are reluctant to shed the egos and work together in offering solutions to each others plights.

had to say all of the above because honestly felt it! Pls don’t think less of me : )

Luv
Mcx

la belle dame sans merci said...

it's never been easy being a girl child,an adolescent and finally a woman. but there are so many things your parents cant begin to warn you about viz uncles known to you who suddenly keep holding your hand more often than you realised,married men close to the family try to kiss you or get you alone or just strangers(scruffy or otherwise)come upto you and try stuff in a manner like they KNOW you,are INTIMATE with you or OWN you. and while there are times when you are truly impotent and cant do anything or cant think of any retaliation fast enough. there are other moments when you just REACT and want to get that nasty piece of filth so far away from you because he's so INSIGNIFICANT and basically a pathetic excuse for a human being!! and then you come across men who are another extreme. they tell you to go easy on the lipstick,the outfit or the walk coz their closest of friends are watching and they dont want them to think you're up for grabs. even unintentionally. i'm just glad that for every scumbag it's been my utter misfortune to encounter, i'm met and am still meeting men who dont look at women as a piece of meat and dont always think from between their legs. there's hope for the species methinks.

la belle dame sans merci said...

addendum-this is just my 2 cents but i still think of b'bay as one of the safest cities for women to work in, move about it at all times of the day or nite. would not feel quite this confident in delhi or even hyd'bad which is basically a good place.

Anonymous said...

This is for the 13 yr old Annie and all the other women who dont know wht to do...
I was raped/sexually assaulted call it wht you may by a male friend whom id trusted. I'm one of those women who look timid but are bold, and i never imagined i would keep quiet if something like this happened to me...but thts wht i did..for three months...until i had the courage to tell someone and to make him stop coming home....i dont live in india...i study in the US of all places...it took so much to even go on...i know this sounds disturbing especially in a day and age like this...but yes it was very hard to accept what happened...to stop blaming yourself....but im glad i complained and made a hue and cry and let everyone realise the truth about that asshole...
Please don't think about the shame that might go along with admitting you were raped. Please find out about counselling or womens centers and the process in case you're ever harassed...God forbid...

Anonymous said...

Just to add to that last comment, i met the most amazing man whom im going to be with for the rest of my life..who gave me the courage to talk about this filthy bastard who did those things to me...
I know there are men like my boyfriend who do not think with their dicks...and this is for them

firecrackerzz said...

u just forgot one thing....

ALWAYS CARRY UR MOBILE AND ALWAYS KEEP TALING ON IT , EVEN IN THE DAY IF U GETA LITTLE SUSPISIOUS....

AVOID KURLA STN IN THE NITE.

!!~~S~m~i~l~e~~!! said...

speechless

!!~~S~m~i~l~e~~!! said...

"When something is lost/stolen, don't go to the police station alone."

again... speechless

madhatter_withgloves said...

All I thought when I was reading this mail was that each and every word you have written is so true. Even the many comments, (and many actually is an understatement)just made me feel like I was connected in some way to all these women, who only through exeprience (did we need those??) have learnt how best to take care of ourselves.
And then sometimes it's just people whom you know, at least you think you know them, who harm you the most.
Very well written I must say, coz these thoughts haunt us all, yet not all of us can put it as well as you have. Good work.

ndk said...

My God! And I have to live with the knowledge that I have two grown up unmarried daughters living in Bombay.

Sree said...

such a powerful post!
brought back the memories of those nightmares calles bus journeys in Chennai...with all those Presidency college 'students' all over! shit! people in chennai dont even speak up against it! bangalore is a better place. U atleast can hope for a 'sorry sister' here!
n the dependency factor... wish men understood why we cling to them...notthat they dont know, but they more often than not fail to understand the intensity of such a creeping anxiety...

Chitrangada said...

You got the guts yaar ..i mean being a woman i know thins kinda crap ..n delhi is famous for eveteasing things ..

n ya i m totally agree wid the caution u have mention here :)

amazing post )

Arun said...

Very cool post. I didn't know girls had it that bad.

When accosted by a cop, tell him your dad/grandad/uncle is a senior cop. - It might do you some good to know the names of senior cops.

Pritesh said...

Dear Annie, I feel the pain in the writing and identify with it as well........you have said it all so aptly! We women seem to have no right to be ALONE! :(

Anonymous said...

A wonderfully-written post. Thank you for bringing this to everyone's attention; it's one of the problems that the global society must eradicate.

I've linked it in my LiveJournal (http://snitchcat.livejournal.com/).

nodiswaminaavirodeheege said...

well to be very frank i have come across this kind of an article a few times.....but i think this was a as good as the previous ones that i had come across... but the point here is to come out with a solution to prevent this kind of a thing happening from the male fratenity to the womankind...

how many men would be really affected by this article and would like to change themselves from now on?

how many men are really eligible to even read this??

uneducation and non existant values among the humans are the root reason for such kind of a behaviour ...

but i guess we r facing a big problem which is although definitely solvable... but verey very difficult though...

but a simpler solution is that the women play more safe and they need to give a piece of their mouth to such men.. rather the women should harass these kind of men in the public verbally...if possible physically too... so that they dont ever dare with ne other species...

Anonymous said...

Non illegitimus carborundum !!
Never Ever!

aditi said...

well written....the only way out is to protest, protest and PROTEST....whenever possible offcourse!!!!

fuse me said...

I loved the strategies part of the mail. I only wish it were not so restrictive

emt said...

Thanks for this writing. Although I am a man, I have seen this happening with most of the women around me, and I should say I also have felt the pain to some extent, if not all. I really don't know what to do, but I think more awareness is required on this. Especially for men, because most of us don't know that this is happening to our near and dear ones.

Thanks for this, this was the first blog of this sort which I came across. I hope it will encourage others to come forward and we can generate a social awakening in people.

Nandu said...

I'm moved.
I echo the same as someone else here,
you have given voice to those who cannot.................

You have put it simply brilliantly.

keep up the courage.

Hats off to you lady

prithvi said...

brilliant..
this is an excellent article
n i cn cmpletely relate to all this as well
truly..hats off to u fr ebing brave enuff to write this blog

Tatha said...

brillinat...an eye-opener acocunt for those men who get into such acts...got the link from my wife...hope u won't mind if i link this to my blog...
somethings need to be preserved forever..

L*J said...

Great post Annie. Reading this brought back a lot of painful memories, but down the years I have learnt the do's and donts', which includes defence or offence.
I hope this mail is an eye-opener to men.

Catrinp said...

Anne,

You post bought back memories I had forgotten or hidden. Memories of being touched in a train and bus, of innocent faces to accusing looks.

Memories of being taken to a 'business lunch' as thanks for a job well done and feeling the need to casually mention I was married and making sure my ring was always in sight.

Memories of having to explain to my boss why I felt very uncomfortable in going to the home of one of the managers of the company to fix his PC, and still having to go.

Memories of attitudes that a woman could not possibly be capable of anything computer related, and surprise and shock when I proved them wrong.

Memories of an 11 year old girl being befriended by an elderly gentleman who lived close to home, and of him inviting me in to show me his ‘stamp collection’. Of days later getting the courage to tell my parents. Of thier quiet, almost silent acceptance of my story and the raging colour of my father’s face. Of finding out later that this man had a history that was known to his family and care takers, but that I was the only one to actually complain.

Memories of wondering if my soccer coach really needed to get that close to show me what I was doing wrong.

Memories of walking to the bus stop late at night and seeing a man walking towards you. Of subtly moving to the edge of the road, hoping to not offend him, but leaving an escape route just in case.

So many memories. I hope though, that the fact I had forgotten means that these types of incidences are now not occuring to me. And for that I am thankful. But I too wish that this post will cause just one person thinks about their actions and the long term effect it has on another, and in thinking doesn’t.

Oh and to let you know that this is a worldwide problem. I live in a country regarded as one of the most casual, laid back, friendly and safe country – Australia.

Tachyoson said...

nice logical advice!

the crowded modes of commute are the worst offenders.

every blog i have gone through, thanks to the Blank Noise Project has made me feel sad that one man alone as one amongst a pitiful few cannot do ANYTHING much alone...
and yet i have to applaud the courage the sheer GRIT of the people who have spoken.

i applaud you all.

Anonymous said...

perfect timing I got the link to this blog. Just today one of my friends was travelling in a crowded bus where there was no place to even stand, n some guy started 'feeling her up'. U could imagine how she felt as she was surrounded by all her friends many of whom were guys. As a matter of fact, now that I think about it, almost all were guys. All of them knew what was happening yet none of them bothered to do anything about her problem as they didnt want to create a scene... Finally some old man stood up & gave the lecher a few tight slaps n made him get off the bus. It should have come as a relief right? But it turned out that the old 'gentleman' was an even bigger lecher. Such is the condition us women have to live with. But I haven't given up hope. Everytime I see a pervert harassing someone I start creating a fuss. Knowing basic self defence doesn't hurt too. Here' a lil' suggestion for all my female counterparts: the next time you feel the neAed to blow off some steam, get a hard pillow n practise punching it. You get stronger n you also know what to do when someone gets a little too close for comfort.

mcx said...

Hi,

I know I have come back again and again to post my words but every word every story that is written here has me fear that perhaps this world is dying of hope. All of what has been mentioned here might be true but we are forgetting the most important thing this is not the battle of the sexes or of men’s oppression of woman, it is the question of abuse and its silent tolerance. I want to make this point heard even if I have to scream it over and over again within these walls. I am a man and I have suffered abuse in silence, I also have feared walking down a lonely alley, I also have been felt up in repayment of giving someone a lift on a lonely road. The culprit is not the sex it is the silence, not of the victims but of the society that surrounds them. How many of you have had parents, mothers even, ask you to forget it ever happened or perhaps asked not to tell such lies, how many of you have feared for your safety while watching a crowd stare in amusement.

I remember a scene that happened a few months ago, the traffic was clogged and I had been stuck in traffic. The funny thing was that this was on a flyover. When I walked up to see what was the cause of the block I found a group of men obviously drunk beating up a taxi driver and a crowd had gathered to watch the show in amusement. Its seems they must have had their fill for by the time I had reached front row they got back in their vehicle and once again the traffic was allowed to flow. Five seconds later they had banged into another car, this time containing a seeming well to do gentlemen and his family.

They dragged him out of his car and started to beat him up and once again people watched in silence. His teenage daughter and wife tried to save him even plead to the onlookers to give them aid but all stood still man and woman. I am not usually a brave man but after watching this for over a moment I walked up to this gang of men and realizing that they were drunk and obviously looking for a fight I stopped them, I begged them and thanked them for being kind enough to stop pounding on this man. I mention all of this for two reasons one for the strength that the teenage girl showed that day for she had had stood her ground unafraid trying to fend of the attackers who brutally assaulted her father, second to also add that among the on lookers stood many woman who also watched in silence or amusement. Once again I repeat I am not brave nor did I use force I simply intervened but what I ask and what I also point out is that why no one else came forth. And ultimately I blame this attitude for the continued abuse that women and men suffer through their journeys in life.

Luv
mcx

Deppe said...

This was so disturbing to read. Extremely well-written. I have linked you in my blog.

Alice In Wonderland said...

Brilliant post.

I have quoted your "to-do´s" in my blog.

Would like to add to them -

Carrying a sharp object (compass, pen-knife) with you.
Wearing iron/copper etched rings that will better the impact of a punch.

Anonymous said...

Respecting Indian Women.

What you described - about the constant persecution of women - is sick and disturbing and for all we know the very mild tip of the iceberg in Indian society today (I say Indian not because this does not happen elsewhere but because our society is what interests us and because we pride ourselves at being matriarchal and glorify the "MAA"). It is not without reason that Delhi has acquired the reputation of being the rape capital. As an Indian man I am ashamed.

I think the problems Indian women face are a reflection of the unhealthy attitude of today’s India towards sex and lack of respect for the relationship between ‘man and women’. However, persecution of women, prudishness, or even artificially curtailing woman’s self expression by cloistering them are ‘imported ideas’ and do not belong in the Indian psyche. Our ancient belief systems were more mature than most and unlike the rest of the world didn’t regard ‘conception as sin’ or ‘sex as immoral’. Talking of Hinduism - after all the dominant religion in our country - let me categorically say that this repulsively male dominated view of society and perversion is certainly against Hindu principles! Our ancient belief systems do not present women as weak victims to be protected and neither do they glorify them as pure virgins but rather they present them as independent, self expressed and strong. I don’t see any weakness or recognize victims in any of the deities – from Kali (symbolizing destroyer) to Saraswati (symbolizing learning and knowledge) to Parvati (symbolizing strength) to Durga (symbolizing all facets of womanhood).

So why have we allowed ourselves to falter? Where does all this perversion come from? Why do Indian men have such unhealthy concepts of sex that groping under-aged girls in sweaty trains and public places becomes some people's idea of fun? Are some Indian men genetically perverted or is it an acquired 'diseased attitude' in the faulty process of growing up? Or a lack in the way we raise our children and the role models we provide them? Who tells impressionable teens what is proper and what is not while engaging with women/ men? Who talks to them about sex and tells them the rights and wrongs. Who gives them role models? Does the media inform them or actively help in creating unhealthy attitudes to sex, false notions of courtship and despicable role models- filmy heroes almost molest the heroines in songs and yet they inexplicably capitulate and fall in love with them instead of getting repulsed?

And finally who stops molesters in their tracks and prevents them from plying their despicable trade? Who tells perverts and if you will ‘the would be perverts’ that persecuting women would not be condoned? Do the women in their lives speak out? Do their mothers, sisters and wives tell them different? Do their fathers, brothers and uncles set a better example? Also who intervenes when we see some lewd behavior or are witness to molestation? Does the man and the women in the street or Indian society look at perpetrators with hatred or do they instead find fault with the morality of the victim of rape and molestation thinking implicitly that she must have asked for it? Does the police stop perpetrators or actually participate in this process of victimization? Who in Indian society is taking a stand?

These are hard questions we have to ask for ourselves as a society. Unless and until: 1. we all stand up and be counted, 2. Educate ourselves and our children to respect the relationship between a 'man and woman' where both have control and 3.Provide healthy ways for our teens to interact with the opposite sex instead of teaching them prudishness we will have continue to have a problem to contend with.

Mohit S.

MS said...

Respecting Indian Women.

What you described - about the constant persecution of women - is sick and disturbing and for all we know the very mild tip of the iceberg in Indian society today (I say Indian not because this does not happen elsewhere but because our society is what interests us and because we pride ourselves at being matriarchal and glorify the "MAA"). It is not without reason that Delhi has acquired the reputation of being the rape capital. As an Indian man I am ashamed.

I think the problems Indian women face are a reflection of the unhealthy attitude of today’s India towards sex and lack of respect for the relationship between ‘man and women’. However, persecution of women, prudishness, or even artificially curtailing woman’s self expression by cloistering them are ‘imported ideas’ and do not belong in the Indian psyche. Our ancient belief systems were more mature than most and unlike the rest of the world didn’t regard ‘conception as sin’ or ‘sex as immoral’. Talking of Hinduism - after all the dominant religion in our country - let me categorically say that this repulsively male dominated view of society and perversion is certainly against Hindu principles! Our ancient belief systems do not present women as weak victims to be protected and neither do they glorify them as pure virgins but rather they present them as independent, self expressed and strong. I don’t see any weakness or recognize victims in any of the deities – from Kali (symbolizing destroyer) to Saraswati (symbolizing learning and knowledge) to Parvati (symbolizing strength) to Durga (symbolizing all facets of womanhood).

So why have we allowed ourselves to falter? Where does all this perversion come from? Why do Indian men have such unhealthy concepts of sex that groping under-aged girls in sweaty trains and public places becomes some people's idea of fun? Are some Indian men genetically perverted or is it an acquired 'diseased attitude' in the faulty process of growing up? Or a lack in the way we raise our children and the role models we provide them? Who tells impressionable teens what is proper and what is not while engaging with women/ men? Who talks to them about sex and tells them the rights and wrongs. Who gives them role models? Does the media inform them or actively help in creating unhealthy attitudes to sex, false notions of courtship and despicable role models- filmy heroes almost molest the heroines in songs and yet they inexplicably capitulate and fall in love with them instead of getting repulsed?

And finally who stops molesters in their tracks and prevents them from plying their despicable trade? Who tells perverts and if you will ‘the would be perverts’ that persecuting women would not be condoned? Do the women in their lives speak out? Do their mothers, sisters and wives tell them different? Do their fathers, brothers and uncles set a better example? Also who intervenes when we see some lewd behavior or are witness to molestation? Does the man and the women in the street or Indian society look at perpetrators with hatred or do they instead find fault with the morality of the victim of rape and molestation thinking implicitly that she must have asked for it? Does the police stop perpetrators or actually participate in this process of victimization? Who in Indian society is taking a stand?

These are hard questions we have to ask for ourselves as a society. Unless and until: 1. we all stand up and be counted, 2. Educate ourselves and our children to respect the relationship between a 'man and woman' where both have control and 3.Provide healthy ways for our teens to interact with the opposite sex instead of teaching them prudishness we will have continue to have a problem to contend with.

Mohit S.

mcx said...

Bravo buddy you have said it all, I have been reading this post for days now and even posted a page or two in comments yet you have said in one go all that I have bee trying to say or could have hoped to say. Read this last comment very carefully it is the voice of reason it is the only sane advice. I feel relived whew...

Cheers
Mcx

Satyaswarup said...

I am not a blog reader neither I rememeber writting any comment to any of such, but you unravelled such a face of my very own envioronment from your painstricken story that I thought I must...I wish I would salute you for the way you wrote and what you wrote.
I don't espect that, this will make those junks realising anything else. But, yes, with a constant bansihing of these sadidtic episodes, may we get soemthing different to write about ..for the gen next.
Regards again...

dr_dba said...

Stark reality. From the comments could see the problem is existing all times at all cities. There are scums in all ages which bring in bad name for whole lot of people.

Linking to my blog (http://360.yahoo.com/jamram82) for further comments

Anonymous said...

How much? :)

Anonymous said...

No offence meant...Is it really that bad?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, didn't know so much happens. Saying sorry seems, or actually is lame, I know, but I can't offer much more.

Lanoire said...

Thank you so very much for this post.

I can't help but wonder what men are thinking when they do things like this. Do they realize that every time they comment on a woman, they are scarring her just a little? I don't think so. I tried explaining this to a male acquaintance of mine and he said "but why do you care what that bastard thinks?"

To which I responded, "Please. If someone commented on your nice ass every time you stepped out of the house, you'd get a little uncomfortable too." How clueless can these men be?

We need more women writing things like this. More women acknowledging how male bad behavior can ruin our enjoyment in life.

Anonymous said...

Found your post through the Carnival of the Feminists - I hope others have too. In Toronto, where I live, I go out at all hours alone and nothing like that has ever happened. There's so many people who have no idea what other women go through. Justice can't come soon enough.

Popcorn said...

This stirs up so many memories, I cannot even begin to summarise. Those are all the words that I have. :-(

Anonymous said...

hi great job, its is really a disturbing but the real truth hope all men understand to leave us women just alone......

Triya said...

Yours was the first post I read from the Blogathon... And after reading so many more, I came back to read it again. It reduced me to tears the first time. It still does. I know that it doesn't mean much, especially after so many people have spoken, but you'll be in my prayers. It's the most I can do now.

http://triya.blogspot.com/2006/03/reality.html

That's the post I wrote after I read yours. Just thought you might want to read it.

Anonymous said...

Hey even i had went thru somthing so hurtful in my life. I must have been 13-14 yrs, I was once travelling thru the Bus to go to my dentist along with my mom and dad. They were seated in the front seat and the bus was almost empty. I took the back seat just after them. There is this man who came and sat just behing my seat alone. After some time this man sarted to touch me thru the gap between the bus seat and the bus wall. I didn't know how to react to it as if i told dad, he might just react in a very bad manner and didn't ahve the guts to even tell that man anything. I was just so scared but that man really had the guts to do that to me even after he knew that i was travelling with my parents who were just ahead of me. I still remember that incident so well even after 12 yrs of it. This shows that woman can never forget the insult that these men impose on us by doing something which they feel is so gret fun for them.

I have a friend of mine who is a guy but he too fesls extremely humiliated by this incident as he says that men really don't have the right to do something so disgracing to a woman.
I onder that just such a small incident still haunts me after 12 yrs of my life i can imagine how a woman must be going thru after she is been raped by a man, well i will not call him a man coz it must be a junglee animal only who can do something so ***************** to a women.

Thanks for letting me up this story to you guys as i never had the guts to tell this incident to anyone and this is the first time im able to open up to you all.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

To all women,

It is indeed disturbing and confusing to undergo such experiences, but do please be aware that the precautions proposed are for immediate survival and do not address the core issue. A lot of emotions are stirred up - as evidenced from the responses, but a sensitive understanding is quite sparse. There is surprisingly no response, leave alone sensitivity, to a serious insight by MCX. I am a man with a set of experiences with an identical gist. If you leave aside my gender and sex, there is nothing that differentiates my feelings from yours. I agree that perhaps I, and MCX, may be a far rare occurrence than all you women. But you are at least hearing each other out. No one even hears us out. I read the blog and the responses today and I find MCX gradually fading away.

The issue at core is harassment, plain old bullying. Sexuality is merely one of the tools at hand. The socially aggrandised notion of 'weaker sex', exacerbated by insensitive, segregative (and many adjectives) social norms conspire to provide the woman as a weak target to the bully who uses sexuality to harass you - period. The precautions that the main article lists out are useful for immediate protection, but serve little in the long run which requires legal, social and cultural changes regarding the interactions between men and women. Harassment, by any body - man or a woman, to anybody - man, woman, child or any other life, using any means - sexual, social status or any other is what must be fought. Please do try to extract out the essence of the heinous acts committed against yourselves. That you are perceived as 'weak' is one such point. Your sexuality is not - you yourselves are sexual beings too. Incidentally, the opposite of 'weaker' is not 'stronger' - it is 'not weaker'. Women definitely are not the weaker sex, they are brought up to think of it to be so. But freeing themselves of these fetters does not mean that they are actually 'stronger' than men.

I have not harassed, and refuse to harass anybody. But I equally well refuse to be made feel guilty of my male sexuality. That some bullies use sexuality as a tool to harass should not be used as the pretext to demean the male. Women, on the other hand, also bully men using other 'tools'. They are after all as human as men are.

My apologies if I appear too loud, but I do write with a sense of frustration and anger at the insensitivity and surprisingly from those human beings who have been at the receiving end of insensitivity. I urge you to see through my words to get the core and do ponder over it. Do notice that there are many responses that point to events occurring during childhood!

And finally, I am not defending men who harass women. I am defending sexuality and equality from bullies who use these as tools for their perverse pleasures.

Amen!

amIda1 said...

amazing!

just the other day i was wondering what a misery it would be to get hit by a water balloon when i will be on my way to an interview. then i realized that women face this feeling their entire life!

What if somebody does something ...
what if ...

Anonymous said...

Well, it is the sordid reality of the India we are living in.

So who is to be blamed (from a young man's my point of view)?

I will give you my case.

Since childhood i have had reasons to hate women (not so much that I’ll resort to such cheap acts). At every stage of my life few instances have constantly succeeded in building a wall between me and the women (I’m not saying all the women on this planet).

But I’ll just discuss the recent ones.

1> My sincere effort to help a girl out of distress turned out against me:
A girl is being harassed verbally by a group of 4 men, so I just supported the girl since she was alone and seemed to be helpless. To my surprise she replies saying that it’s none of my business and I’m standing there like a buffoon and that was enough support for those bloody cheapos to shoo me off!!! That’s when I decided that if something is happening to a woman and I happen to witness it, I’d not volunteer to help unless the harassee asks or pleads for help to save her from the harasser! You can say it’s a typical case of once bitten twice shy.

2> Most women tend to look at men as sex hungry beasts, but my experiences (with so many ao called ladies) make me think that its for men to think that way about women. Some women have gone to an extent of calling me an asexual and a gay!!!! Why? Because I don’t lech at women nor do I look or think of women as sex objects etc.

3> My granny and quite a lot of relatives think that I’ll molest my cousin sisters when I’m close to them (they wouldn’t say it directly to me, but inform the sis’ that they have grown up and should learn to distance from men!!!!) But this is acceptable considering that my family is more on the conservative side.

4> Most Women I have faced in my life have been primarily responsible for my hate. But there are certain BROAD MINDED women whom I appreciate, love, respect a lot because they handle things in such a nice way and not once have they looked down upon a male as if he were an incubus, thanks to them I don’t hate all the women on this earth!



As for the article by Annie, I was shocked to the core because I never had an idea of how bad it is for a woman in Delhi and Mumbai. I’m from Bangalore, and I personally feel things are not so bad comparatively here. One reason I think for such ubiquitous presence of lechers in these cities is because at any give time of the day a woman is in a place which is highly crowded (usually the public transport) and the crowd happens to be shameless. Whereas in Bangalore there’s no question of such a thing happening! (Because there’s hardly any transport infrastructure in this city :-)

My hope: A girl is in distress, and I go up to her (with two guns) and give one to her, while the other one is leveled at her temple, and I ask her to kill the harasser or else I’ll kill both! (That’s the amount of hate I have with the women in distress and other women who hate men!!!!!)

PS: I am sure most distressed hurt women would find my point of view to be harsh, heartless or whatever, for all those women my sincere apologies.
For posts referring my comment, please refer to me as THE UNLUCKY GUY

annie said...

my god! i had promised to respond to each one, but i had not anticipated 170 comments (at last count). forgive the broken promise, under the circumstances. My next post will try and address most of you anyway. much love and gratitude.

coolvir said...

I wanted to comment but really donno what i can say....really feel sorry for you and other girls :(((

virgoanh said...

ANNIE, ... how is that you cud not think of growing stronger enuf to sit on the beach side for more than 10

minutes (and that too on sand)? you need to work on u'r butt! .... go hit the gym.

.... hey THE UNLUCKY GUY, no need to shoot anybody ! jus cool down. And u'r viewpoints bout the fact behind

these harrasement (the crowd factor) is actually true. But girls gettin brushed by the public in crowded

place is a common thin in india. No need to get bogged down, and no point in hating the ppl who did that.

Have mercy on them for the way destiny has made them act like that. Knowing the country's situation, for now

and for many more decades to come, ppl like that will be there because of socio/economic conditions.

... wen the country moves close to becoming a developed country, equuality in sexes must have prevailed.

... knowin this forecast atleast bring up u'r kids in a way they do not get psyched mentally by such

experiences. Because they may fail to avoid the crowds and the manipulators always ... its gonna be more and

more crowds. Or else work hard and move out from cities like that(mumbai, delhi). But movin into lesser

crowded cities will only result in lesser bad experiences. So bringin up u'r kids, in a way they dont get

psyched by such thins - should always be aimed at.

And like Annie says, ... acting tuff(even if tats not u'r nature) in the public is a must to avoid the

f******.

ONE STRANGE THOUGHT -
.. i think women can bring about change. Why cant women gradually bring about a change by laughing, smiling,

singing and jus bein like men in the public. I think that works as stabilizers.
... if the fashion can move from the new york streets to the streets of mumbai, why not the attitude ?

Anonymous said...

To all women,

Apologies, I forgot to "name" myself in an earlier reply where I try to point to the core issue of harassment. Just want to put myself as "The Man". Any criticisms may please be directed to me.

Amen.

Vaibhav said...

Touching, saddening, Unfortunate.


But true.

Sharath Rao said...

Annie,

I read so many posts as a part of the blank noise project - each of those so infuriating that I was actually getting progressively sicker. I resolved not to read any more - made an exception just for this one.

Your post, brilliant as many others actually spurred me into writing one - though its well past March 7th.

praveen77 said...

It is really a mad world that we are now part of; and to call it civilized; adds to the irony. I guess the animals are far better than us.

I hope the male gender understand women better. I guess the only remedy in sight is by women being brave and coming out in the open against such harassment. Easier said than done, I am ashamed by some of the acts put up by men.

sam said...

fuck!!!!!!!!!!that was realy very disturbing. feeling ashamed to be called a man. people can be so purverted???? and this is i guess what we call "INDIA SHINING". And if you see this kind of things generaly happens in urban areas where people are supposed to be "CIVILISED". People just think once this could happen to your mother or one of your sisters. JUST THINK ONCE.


fuck!!!!!!!!!!
that was realy very disturbing. feeling ashamed to be called a man. people can be so purverted???? and this is i guess what we call
"INDIA SHINING". And if you see this kind of things generaly happens in urban areas where people are supposed to be "CIVILISED".
PEOPLE just think once this could happen to your mother or one of your sisters. JUST THINK ONCE.

Anonymous said...

Well written! Very well written!! Sums it all up very nicely indeed...u have a brave heart! The rest of us will do good with some training in Self Defense Combat. Might help....

vids said...

hey anni... awesome stuff.. this is so touching and something that every girl tends to relate to.. but then it is up to us stop this.. to give it an end.. and the only way we could do that is to fight back. to echo the pain and hurt in us the right way.. by not keeping quiet when something of this sort happens with us or anyone around us..
and mr.unlucky guy.. I am from bangalore too.. and I find it extremely surprising to know that there are certain kind hearted guys around the place.. I do have guys who are friends who are very protective about me.. but then most of the times, in public, in crowded areas very seldom do you find 'gentlemen'.. it seems to be a disgrace to even use that term for the men of today..and more often than not, a girl/lady in distress finds it hard to trust a guy who offers help, when she is being harassed by a group of them already.. in her position give her one reason why she should.. grow up our way.. feel the pain & torture we do.. then probably u'd understand what it is to be a woman! we r not ashamed of it.. no sir not us.. we will strive to fight through the pain, the humiliation, the torture, the nightmares, the disgust and get back at the male population one day.. we will..

Anonymous said...

I am so happy that someone has put across what i have undergone. When i go thru such stuff i feel so disgusted with the whole male cult. Why has god been so unfair to us in this matter?? Lets fight back every time we are harassed ofcourse your tips are surely to be kept in mind.

mcx said...

You know it is truly sad when a woman says “Why can’t men just leave us alone”. Is this what you really want? Should men and women just leave each other alone? Will that be the only solution? I have come and gone through this pile of words at least a dozen times every night, have tried to say so many things, tried I say for I have stumbled and failed.
Yet I return like a moth drawn to the fire.

Among the reason for my return is the hope that some voice of reason I may find. I am not disappointed but strangely though these are the voice most neglected, no one hears them no one finds them true.

I am a man who feels more comfortable thinking himself gay than straight, it is most unfortunate that I am not. Does this not frighten you? It frightens me. I ask myself why is it that I am so afraid of being with a woman. Could it be for she makes me feel like a beast or is it so for the hurt she has caused me? I have a mother and a sister and neither scare me then why is it that I fear a woman as a lover or a partner? Could it be because she makes me feel like I can never please her or ever be good enough? I do not know all I can say is it is truly sad when a woman says “Why can’t men just leave us alone”.

Luv
Mcx

Anonymous said...

Oye. Nice. Good job, annie.

M said...

Hi,

I totally agree with what u have mentioned. We as women ace this issue almost every day of our lives. I faced this issue when I was around 12 and was walking on the road with my mum. A man, who would have been around my grand-dad's age was the lecher. I raised my voice to yell, but my mum stopped me-WHY??? Because we were on a road that was not very well lighted, and we could not guarantee that someone would come to help us!!

That got me thinking. When I reached home, i mentioned this to my brother, who then taught me the tricks that need t be followed to safeguard ourselfs. Like basic self-defense techniques, calling a friend to pick u up, etc.

When I am out with certain male friends, I know that they will be there around to safeguard me. Touchwood, till today, everytime I am out with them, they make sure I don't go back alone, that someone drops me home, and they have a word with my parents so even they are comfy with sending me out. I think the basic safety measures need to be followed, though that kind of puts a restriction on our freedom. Becoz, no matter how many good and well-behaved men are there around you, the number of ill-behaved men outnumbers them.

It not only depends on what u feel like doing, what matters the most is ur safety. take care.

khotta said...

came here fro shubhs' blog. left me speech less but please do read the comment i left on her post.

Anonymous said...

Brilliantly written. It was a pain to read. Guess...all girls have to go through this.
~www.livejournal.com/~ssheidi

abeer said...

Inspite of being a guy, I can feel the pain (an infinitisimally small part) you and the other women here must have gone through. There is no punishment too severe for eve-teasers and especially child molesters.
I have been thinking about all that is written here, and have reached the conclusion that it is probably the closed society that is prevalent in India that is responsible for such acts. This is true even in other countries in South East Asia. From the day she is born, a woman is told to compromise, told that she cannot possibly get strong enough to defend herself, told that it is never safe for her to be alone, told that she must rely on a man to defend herself. Sadly enough, I don't see any of this changing in the coming years, even decades.

Yet another victim.. said...

I hate fwded mails. This link was another fwd today morning. Something made me pause and open this page, and I was hooked. Enough to read the blog and the comments for 25 minutes straight, and feel that urge to add another comment.

When I started reading your experiences at 13, I was reminded of my 'opening' experience at 14. God alone knows why is it a criminal offence to have a heavy front? Whether we have a choice is not the question, but whatever, what gives the #%&^%*!@ the right to make it their take-it-for-granted target? I can empathise with the line "What could I have told him?...". C'mon, you are not afraid...one doesnt really feel afraid at 14, when you are still innocent, and when the supreme guardians, your parents, are with you. But why was I still tongue-tied?

Growing up with it all, I began noticing something, though am not sure if its the same with others too...most perverts are from teh category of 30-40, married...I havnt found teenagers and even young guys so offensive...they sigh, pass comments, sings songs, hoot..but they still feel unsure to take that last step...

Crowded buses...I was inside one in Chennai, the then Madras...and the drunken oaf stands behind me, and keeps rubbing his crotch at my back. I took it once, and I took it twice. The third time, I lifted my foot, and kicked as hard as I could at his knee..(..that is what I think it was..)..and looked back with a look of grim satisfaction. The Guy moved away...when I turned back, the lady sitting in the seat adjacent to me said, "That is how they should be treated...". My My! give me a break! You could sit there all the while watching the whole thing and have fun, and dare to make that hypocritic comment at the end of it all! Some attitude! Hats off for your grateful support!

Learn a big secret here..When the guy sitting next to you - be it a bus, or a train...be it crowded or not - crosses his hands across his chest, that is Trouble spelt with a Capital T.

the next big secret - It is really helpful when you look up at them and speak something to them...like when I asked the concerned person if he was having any trouble...He stood up and got down at the next stop...

I agree with one of the previous comments, a safety pin is a good solution during overnight journeys in buses. Oh, and during my turn, the guy was with his wife, and a baby who could have hardly been more than a yr old..Who could unjustly blame the 'only sahara' of a new mother and her young baby?

Trains...Side Upper berths...that was the first time I hadnt slept a wink throughout a journey. The guy walks across, and carelessly rubs his hands across my full length, and walks past cool as a cucumber...and what do I do? Sit up, and stare at his retreating back. The guy comes back, and I am all awake this time waiting for him....and..I do nothing. It so happened there was this 'uncle' sitting up across the coach, who stopped him and asked, "What were you upto? I saw that girl sit up..Dont you dare do something like that again.." Thank you uncle, you've got enough attention now for you, him and me! My friend woke up, and it took him 3 seconds to understand the situation. Inspite of all that happened, I felt bad to see the look of guilt on his face. Why did he deserve that?
And our Hero...muttered something like, "twas just an accident sir, why do you make so much fuss for that?...", and just walks off...daring anyone to follow him...
Worse...I got a dirty look from an aunty in the lower berth across me, guess why? Coz I was wearing a sleeveless chudidhar...and well..the dupatta that I'd wrapped around myself was almost 'invisible' to her. So thank you aunty, I take it, it was all my fault...

There have been times when I've looked back at the hooligans, given them cold stares and comments at times, caught a few of them unawares, kicked a few, pushed a few, and have managed to almost collaring a man who was torturing my friend. But even while I was doing all this, God alone knows where I get my strength from. Everytime something like this happens, I get a cold feet, and I doubt if people outside can realise it. How long will this blind courage help me? How long will I sustain with sheer nerve? I dread the time when something would be happening to me, and I am totally and completely helpless, even to shout out for help from sheer fear...I wake up every morning praying nothing like that happens...

Reading this blog and the comments, I wanted to review one instance, just one among the many, where I could have fought back and brought justice. I havn't found a single example yet...
Keeping silent is bad...but making a scene, and being met with hostile stares, and unhelpful comments makes it worse...
I thank Mohit for one of his previous comments..Does the man and the women in the street or Indian society look at perpetrators with hatred or do they instead find fault with the morality of the victim of rape and molestation thinking implicitly that she must have asked for it? This was a point I was going to raise myself. After going through such experiences almost every alternate day ever since I turned 14, (I am almost 23 now..), I've just grown wise enough to realise one thing...You dress up or not, you flaunt or not, you are heavy top/bottomed or not, perverts remain perverts. They come in all ages, and their victims come in all ages/size/forms and dresses too...
I am not trying to sound bitter and sarcastic here...it is a simple truth gained from observation and bitter-hard experiences...

So, what is it all about? Can anything be done about it? When people make comments like 'Girls should fight against it..', can they tell us exactly how? I am not being bitter...truly not...I am merely curious...and..hell, I hate to admit, anxious...will I not learn something better today?

Rizado said...

the wierd thing is that even after you punch the damned bas****, you can't help but feel hideously violated. where is all this depravity coming from?

P.Monteiro said...

If AIDS , Cancer, heart problems and Obesity can be popularised through out the country, why not sexual harasment?.How come members of our family do not indulge in such cheap tricks? who taught them?
Why can't every woman be educated to teach her children , male esp. that women should be treated with respect? Does it not start in the family? Can every teacher not impart the respect of woman and girl child to her students? It can be done, if we really put effort!

Lioness said...

An absolute stunner. This post should go beyond the blogosphere. In many languages.

Among all the donts you mentioned I add one, "Dont walk empty-handed. Always carry a bag." It may sound ridiculous to men, but you know what I'm talking about, right?

Karthik Subramani said...

hi, i would like to add a link to your blog in mine ... really think it should be read by people i know ... is it ok with you?

sonal said...

Hats off to you and your courage...

vaibhav said...

Hats off to you... Idunno what to say seriously....i'm speechless.

I have seen my friends eve-teasing and when I told them to stop well they just... laughed it off!

Anonymous said...

To the guys who felt bad that the core issue is being missed - well, the core issue here is that everyday while walking through pavements we have to walk in a zig-zag to avoid people who suddenly walk in an arc when they get close enough (walking in the opposite direction) and enjoy walking with their hands held out. Not to mention crowded buses and not so crowded buses. And everyday. Agreed that not all are to be blamed. But isn't there more to a woman?????????

Kishore said...

i got to read your post from a friend who forwarded the url to me.....ur names annie rgt!

well i guess u've left me speechless as well.

hats off to you.

a streak of red said...

hi,
read it..felt it..n will keep fwding the link..i am a guy..
in delhi even being an effeminate guy can be bad...one of my bst frnds(a girl)has always told me how bad is it?.
I can nevr know it really..bt then thr's always a way..i wish to explore..
hope u hv as much of a stoppage-free life as possible...:)

Sumit Agarwal said...

Its really well written one..was forwarded the link by one of my batchmates.
Though I still feel, one should raise the voice...throw in few choicest abuse...
yes it still would mean depending on someone else to hit back on one's behalf..but at least it might stop the guy from claiming a next victim...

Anonymous said...

knocked back...
only only way to fight such situations is the young generation. So called "youths" can stand to help even for unknowns..
- Rahul

Anonymous said...

i m not sayin anything the others havent already said...but i jus HAD to comment..its brilliant..

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