Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Blank Noise Project Blogathon- 7th March

The Blank Noise Project was started by Jasmeen Patheja, an artist from Bangalore, to examine the occurances of non-gender-specific street-harassment -harassed(physical/verbal), pushed around, felt up or assaulted .
I am showing my solidarity, thru this post.
We all have been thru it. I know, I have. I hope I could be as courgeous as the other women takin part in this blogathon and write about all my experiances... but , personally, I find it real difficult. The experiances I've had in my school days, are etched into my mind more than the grown-up years - primarily cos you dont know what that experiance can be called back then but you sense that something isnt right and you want to be home to tell Mom about this. When you've grown up you have learnt to deal with these situations in some way. Its another thing that I have been brave through most of these instances. No matter how difficult it was I have come home and told about it to my Mom and Dad. But no matter how iron gloved you may seem from the outside any kind of harassment you encounter while you least expect it, especially when you are doing somethin or wearin somethin that you would have thought in no way would provoke or call for unwanted attention- walk to your home, wear an old loose salwar - home wear perhaps, jeans and a loose T shirt, waiting for the bus, etc.
You go thru an emotional hurricane at the thought of those instances. They are common experiances that women around the world have had, all my friends have had. The last time I had been thru an experiance about 6 years ago when I had been to an exhibition with my mom. I will try to fight my inhibition and write about this lousy experiance. Some bastard in the crowd was pinching my arm and everytime I turned around I couldnt make out this S.O.B. What was I wearing?- a cotton shirt from fabIndia and a pair of old jeans .Then when I moved to another stall, I pretended to be paying attention to the sales guy, while my attention was all on my back and my eyes was looking thru its corners to corner the bastard. I did. I spotted the asshole, I gave him a face-to-face stare . Showed the scum-bag to my Mom. Thought that should be enough to discourage him. But no. He has all the guts in the world to come get another pinch, this time my Mom gave him a reading in full view of the public... even then you should have seen the nerve he had to say , "What did I do Madam?" but his eyes hung in shame while his filthy mouth did the blabber- watchin those eyes were enough for me. F***in Asshole! I am sorry that there has been a lot of swear words in this para- but I hope you can understand my feelings!
I am with the Blank Noise Prject but have a few differences. Agreed that for these sickos it doesnt mater if your wearing a two-piece bikini or clad in a burkha- they will still letch. But, I strongly support, responsible dressing. You have to dress appropriate for the occasion, for the crowd, for the time. Would you attend aboard meeting in a glamorous night gown? Would you prepare a presentation of the expert-level, while it was to be delivered to a crowd of newbies? Would you go clubbing in formal attire? Just like that we women just cant claim to be victims by leaving the onus on the letcher. There are some cases where the uncomforable situation could have been avoided- avoid DOES NOT MEAN LET THESE CREAPS DO THEIR THING AND LET US, THE VICTIMS, GO SILENTLY PUT UP WITH IT OR TAKE GUILT OF ANY KIND, FOR THE WRONG REASONS. I hope I am commin across very clear. Yes, this does reflect on the mental make up of the society we live in. If a guy has lost the ability to look at a woman as just another person, I believe then his parents and bringing up ,might have had a lapse. I am not supporting or finding reasons to justify such bastards, but I am trying to say that every mother has the responsibility of teaching her son the value of another woman.
Its very evidant with the changin times that people(man/women) dont feel safe around people(man/women). The picture of a woman is synonymous with the word 'vitim'. But how wrong an impression is that today cos victims of such harassment arent just women, there are men too. The same goes for the perpetrators.I would like to know if there are people (men/women) who would like to share their experiances? Is the effect of such an occurace just as damaging on the psych when the victim is a man? People, please speak up- u can chose to remain anonymous... but please do make your selves heard.
Here are some more experiances that I have read.
Bilbo
Megha Krishnan (Thanks to you Megha, I knew about this blogathon )
Find more on Blank Noise Project's site

17 comments:

Vasu the terrible said...

Hi,

It is a big problem in India where there is a tremendous amuont of segegation and concealment behind the veils of morality. Infact many such incidents happen within family amongst those whom we trust. The younger offenders (those in teens and twenties) are ones who do out of bravado and machoism.. I always say machoism is about lifting weights in the gym but peer preasure, a severe dearth of sexual release and definitely lack of parental attention in the growing years.

Segregation is the biggest culprits because there is no one to teach these people when they were kids to look at women as a fellow humans and as a result some kids end up looking at women as objects.

ofcourse "thu cheez badi hai masth masth..." only exasperates the situation. you ask these film makers, they would say "We are mirroring society" and this is how it is... But its nothing but a self fullfilling image. The more such images are propogated, the more it becomes a reality.

Where is an end out of the vicious cycle.. Self protection, becoming aware of yourself as young as you can and some smart takewando moves...

With an increasing population and much more dangerous crimes happening, one cant really rely on poliece to act.

Responsible dressing and being inconspicuous is a good strategey but am not sure how far it is effective.

nice to seee so many people showing courage and talking about this issue. Atleast we can all stop pretending that "It does not happen"...

It does and I was told recently tha upto 90% of women face haressement sometime or the other, sometimes from trusted elders within the family..

sick.

vasu

Neets said...

you're right man. there are sickos who claim to be the wise elders of the family and resort to such pathetic acts.
Then the irresponsible picturisation of songs and movies.
Yes very good point made on the 'segregation'... that unnecessarily adds to the curiosity of youngsters. Parents should be more open to allowing their kids have friends of the oppo sex. Encourage them to bring their friends home. Parents shouldnt make a ruckus over friends of the other gender calling home. the more you restrict the more desperate they become. all this will help.
the intention of saying to dress responsibly was not as a means to stop such things from happenin. IT WILL NEVER STOP. There are people who wear the wrong clothes to the wrong places and then say i am a victim. that makes no sense. You could wear the right clothes to the right place and yet, something could happen to you. ..... AAARGH! thats the sick part.
but have you heard of men having similar experiances? i hear they do

kuttichuvaru said...

i hav been readin this blog-a-thon for quite sometime now.... though I cannot potentially narrate instances to support the cause, I whole-heartedly try to stand by the efforts... I wish these efforts reap the right benefits....

Ajay said...

hey buddy checked that site...
its is a good site...
nice info

Vasu the terrible said...

I have heard a couple of instances where a friend of mine has had sexual relationship with a woman much older. We were 13 or 14 at that time. The woman was supposedly in her 20s or 30s... The wierd part was this friend was proud and cool about the whole thing.

Like the scene in split wide open where Rahul bose tries to rescue the girl (12 years) and the girl says that her abuser is actually a nice guy and being cool about the whole thing.

I guess there are the odd victims here and there among male kids. Paedophilia needs to be crushed with a heavy force of law. IT should become an offence worse than even drugs. Only then will these things stop.

vasu

Siri said...

Neets thanks to you i found out abt this blogathon. Find my support on my blog.

kuttichuvaru said...

hey u been tagged for IWD... chk out my blog...

small squirrel said...

neets, good post. This is a real problem all over the world. I have been molested like that in more than a few countries. Once on MG Road in Bangalore a man grabbed my breast as he passed me. It is a good thing I did not get a good look at him or I would have chased him down and beat him utterly senseless before he knew what hit him. I am not afraid to speak out or to take action. I think it takes only one time of being victimized in such ways for a woman to take a side. Either she feels so demoralized and powerless that she shrinks into herself and then is probably an even easier target (very sad).... or she becomes someone who will never again stand for this type of treatment. Then again, some women become HYPERvigilant and misconstrue any attention as an attempt to dishonor them, and that is not a good reaction either.

It happens everywhere. Not just in India. A few months ago a man pinched my bottom on the train. I turned around and loudly called him a pervert and asked if he would like me to beat the living SH** out of him. He cowered away. But I also try not to overreact too. If someone accidentally brushes against me in a crowd I give them the benefit of the doubt until they prove me wrong. Then they get my rage.

I am sure that women can be perpetrators. Especially if they are in a position of power over a younger or less experienced man.

Also.. mother blaming. While I agree with you that mothers (AND FATHERS!) have a responsibility to teach their children manners and values, sometimes other factors override this. Sometimes parents have done eveyrthing right and the kid is still an abuser.

Hali said...

Thanks for stopping by my spot. Come by any time.

Neets said...

@KC(Kuttichuvaru)-> thanks da. and will get to work on the tag.

@ajay-> glad you found it useful.

@vasu-> you are right. i think a case of this nature had become a big issue in the US some months ago. Its the age what makes these kids feel proud. there is a need for a lot of amendments in our legal system, such elders who should have known better should be booked, like wise , i dont know if there are laws in place already... but making eunuchs of lil boys is a heinous crime and these lousy guys should be severly punished- esp with this kind of crime- there isnt any choice left to the victim... the course of their lives is changed forever.

@Siri-> Most welcome sweety. I read your contribution, there are some very strong points made. very well put, siri. i hope the ppl with the power to make changes are listening and seein all this effort .

@SmallSquirrle-> My oh my! long time no see! i was updated from your blog about your trip down here... looks like you had a great time.
In india there had been several instances where the woman had to face the repurcussions of a reasonable violent backlash. but, of course, the number of such unfortunate cases are perhaps far lesser - Most of the time, you are bound to meet wimps who will not have the guts to do anything against you. But when you are out on the street how could u know? so to be on the safer side- i on a max- shout, make a scene but make it a point to not slap even if i was seathin in anger and wanted to punch him in the face. Personally and emotionally- thats like takin a beating your self, but there isnt another go.
then about the legal issues... in a society like india where there is a close watch on morality issues, a girl's involvement in such a case can prove damagin when it comes to marriage- EVEN IF SHE WAS A VICTIM!! so no vitim here wants to get into unwanted trouble for no fault of theirs. that legal system should know that they need to bring in changes to suit our social structure- there should be provisions made to protect the identity of the vitim. its not just the legal system's responsibility , but the media too has to respect and understand the situation. The story should be covered. the identity of the criminal should be publicised, and cases shouldnt be dragged for years... these are a few things that could change the attitude of the vitim and encourage them to come forward. how is it in your country?

@hali-> :) Thanks for stopping by my spot. Come by any time.

Prmod Bafna said...

Its a really nice effort and the way its gained momentum goes on to show the impact too! More power to you'll!!

True Blue Guy said...

Thanks for visting me - People like these really need to be severly taught a lesson

I remember this one time a dude made a cat call when I was with my girlfriend and her brother - We chased him, caught him and beat the daylights out of him - he for sure hasn't tried that again

cheers

Manish said...

So called 'Tehzeeb' or 'culture' not just comes from the school study.. it starts from home.. it develops with the guidance from parents right from the childhood.. Parental control is very important I think... Kids are immature and they need some way or direction to follow the right path.. Giving freedom to kids will let them follow any unwanted path and could spoil his/her life... People who are involved in this eve-teasing or harrassments are often from this category..
So, I think the problem is with the parents of such kids who have not taken the responsibility to bring up their kids in a right manner..

Protests and marches will also make a difference in bringing awareness among us.. All we need to do is to bring the brighter part of our society to subdue the darker one!

To go a bit deeper in the problem we will find that 'complacency is the evil'... we need to kill this complacency and work together in throwing this evil out of our society!

Manish said...

One more thing I would like to add is that its not the COMPLETE responsiblity of the parents. (My earlier comment might have sounded that I am blaming parents completely). Parents can guide their kid only till a particular age and after that its the sole responsiblity of that kid who is now grown up and can make his/her own decisions. So it depends on the conscience of that individual to take this as right or wrong.

It may be the case that the parents have taught him/her and still knowingly he/she commits this act.

My advice to you and others would be that next time when such things happen give that guy a nice slap so that he would think twice before doing it next time. Thats the third level of teaching that that guy could get after parents and school...

Neets said...

Thanks for commin forward with ur views everyone.

@TrueBlueGuy->Welcome pal! wow, the sight of you , your GF, her brother beating up that creep... *long satisfied sigh*.... gives me such satisfaction! :) keep commin!

@Manish-> Thanks for droppin my my blog... and hope u will come back. I agree with you, but would like to defer on one thing... i think parents should define perimeter to their children and give them freedom within it. They should be more open towards their kids... i guess too many restrictions could make these kids desperate too . and such people could also be the ones that misbehave out there. :) Slap is what every woman feels like doing yaar. but we fear a repurcussion if any. so the max it could go is make a scene there. perhaps if you have and elder(man/woman) or a guy- brother/father/friend...then yes we could afford a nice beat and slap session.

ancientmariner said...

the perpetrators of such deeds are either people who are well bred or are from the lower strata of the society. The former is expected o behave in a cultured way given their upbringing, but they resort to such cheap antics for fun or to release thier sexual frustration. Nothing much can be done about the others since they r more or less influenced by films...i heard that in chennai they had this women squad who used to spank n humiliate the eve teasers in public....wish this could happen in every city....

Teju said...

hey neets,

that is a neat write up. There have been a lot of instances that I have been told where women I know, have undergone experiences, which have left them frustrated. Sometimes, it even makes them hate men in general. It is shameful, but, happening.

I support your cause.

Also, your write up has inspired me to work towards this project, as soon as I come back to India.

Thank you for the same,

With warm regards,
Teju