This was written by me for the organisation I work for called Blank Noise. I felt so much for it that I thought I'd post it in my blog.
I come from a place where eve teasing is considered "normal". And on several occasions my friends have interrupted me in the middle of my rants to tell me that if I keep reacting so much to their comments i'd just provoke them to do more. For awhile i was lulled into believing that eve-teasing was a part and parcel of life. Not any more. Even when I'm out with parents, "modestly" dressed, I can hear men on the road hooting, wolf whistling and what not. More often than not I feel like stuffing all my shopping down their throats. I hate it when friends say "boys will be boys" when they indulge in eve teasing, never for once stopping to think the effect it has on the woman it is aimed at.
I've heard middle-aged women complaining about eve-teasing.......did they ask for it?? I don't think so. Whatever a woman wears, however she wears it....no man has the right to inflict upon her any form of abuse be it physical or verbal. I vividly remember being teased in my school uniform (we wore salwaar in high school). No woman ever asks for it.
Women are made to feel guilty, guilty of dressing provacatively, guilty of being out too late, guilty of being at the wrong place, guilty of existing. If a man can dress however he pleases then why not a woman?? You never find a woman passing comments on a man............ because maybe men get some sort of sick pleasure out of it. However pleasurable it may seem to them the wound that is caused in a woman leaves a lasting mental scar.
There were several occasions when I've felt that I never asked for it. Instances like when I'd be sitting in my car, wearing my school uniform, following all the "codes" that a "modest" woman should follow just to catch old men, men old enough to be my father making obscene gestures at me through the window. Most of the time I'd be too horrified to respond...but then when a construction worker flashed me on my way back home and right after that my friend and I noticed a guy following us on his bike all the way to her house and after that I had enough on an impulse I picked up the biggest stone I could and swivelled around to hurl it at him only to find that he had finally caught on and rode off. I was fuming about it for hours afterwards.
I told my aunt about it, she was obviously outraged but then she went on "what were you wearing??? where did this happen?? when??" and another jillion annoying questions. She thought maybe I wasn't following one of the "codes".
Let me elaborate on the Codes:
Dress modestly (code word for....wear an ankle length full sleeved salwaar......oh yeah and don't forget to cover your head and face with a scarf...not a problem if you choke or suffocated to death as long as no one can see an inch of your skin)
Don't go to the WRONG places ( wrong places in the sense, anywhere but your home and your neighbourhood that is within 200mt radius. Just walk in circles around your house if you want to "go out" and if you want to "hang out" with friends then hang on to the branches of the tree in your backyard.)
Don't stay out too late (get back home as soon as college is over otherwise dad might jump to conclusions and get a heart attack.).
I fretted and fumed for a long time after this and that's when it really clicked that I never asked for it. NEVER.Even when I followed all the "Codes", not thoroughly though, I vividly remember being teased and humiliated on the road, parks, TEMPLES, restaurants, even when my mother went with me. This just goes to show that the "codes" are nothing but a humongous pile of....ahem....crap. I never asked for it, no woman ever does. The codes are only a filthy excuse created by chauvinistic males to satisfy their perverted ego.