Monday, April 25, 2011

CSAAM April 2011 - Eve Teasing Or CSA?

This is a simple question to the adult women. 
Do you think, that if you faced any of the instance of eve-teasing or molestation, groping, touching in public places, that you faced in your growing years, today, you would be much stronger in your reaction, more enable to defend yourself?

I look forward to knowing what you think, but my belief based on myself, and informal discussions with friends, leads me to believe, the answer would be yes. Simply the process of growing up makes us stronger, wiser. It is much tougher for an adolescent or child to even understand the situation, let alone react to it. In an age, when they are coming to terms with their own sexuality, grappling with surging hormones, trying to figure things out, an event of molestation or even eve teasing has much worse impact, than, when faced as an adult.

It is not easy for a child, to believe it is not their fault, or sometimes to even comprehend the event. Often enough its simply fear, and nothing beyond. The perpetrator often being much older to the victim, further inhibits any form of defensive reaction, in a culture, where we are taught to respect our elders, and leaves a psychological impact too. When one has faced it as a child, and felt shamed, humiliated, its likely to be a feeling they carry forward to the coming years. And even though wiser and stronger, the feeling of humiliation is likely to be stirred up at every similair incident.

As an adult, if a man tries to grope me in public today, my defences will act up much faster with outrage and anger, than it did when I was a teenager. I will yell, scream, hit or whatever else that seems possible at that time. I will not be intimidated, and anger and outrage will be the only emotions overwhelming my senses. I will be enraged, and I will react. But this is not what happened when I was younger, the first emotion to come to me would be fear and a sort of shame. I would not do anything, simply not to attract any attention to the incident or myself. A sense of violation would build up, but it would be held back by my fear. And that led to much worse scars in my mind than the way it would affect me mentally today.

Almost ten years ago, I remember traveling in a DTC bus in Delhi, one afternoon. It was relatively empty, and there were two school girls, not more than 12 or 13 going back home, sitting and chatting. A man  alighted the bus a couple of stops later, and stood close to the seat where the girls were sitting, and while I was not keeping a watch, one of the girls just stood up and shouted at him. She made him apologise, told him to turn and stand away from her. For women who have travelled in buses in Delhi, we all know , how often the shoulder of a sitting woman, is used as a massage tool by these men. I am guessing something similar happened in that case, and that was nothing unusual at all. But what really caught my attention was the way the little girl handled the situation. Shaming the middle-aged man publicly. But its a rare instance, of a girl so young, able to react and tackle the situation thus.  While most others her age would just shut up, deal with it and possibly shed a few tears of anger, outrage and disgust.

There is a reason the predators try and get away with children rather than try it out with adults. Besides the pedophiles, there are those who know its easier to get away by misbehaving or molesting a non-adult. Simply because the victim is less likely to react, or defend themselves. And that is the reason I believe that public acts of verbal or physical sexual abuse done to a child or teenager needs to be named differently, and treated otherwise too. The age of the victim makes a drastic difference in the severity of the crime. And hence should be treated as such, passing comments on a 30 year old woman, is not the same as doing it to a 13 year old, and that needs to be acknowledged and dealt with accordingly.


Anonymous said... intense subject ..very sensitively handled GM !!

B o o. said...

the term eve teasing should be banned! what a silly thing to call such a traumatizing experience! grrr.... I said the same thing in this post here–-some-sad-recaps/ which is also written in similar lines.

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

The act of harassment (as in 'eve-teasing'-- blech! hate the word), while traumatizing for anyone, has very different repercussions on a child.

However, the rage and humiliation that a woman feels, are very real and intense. Standing up to one's 'groper' in public, while the ideal thing to do, might not always be possible, depending upon the situation.

Kudos to that young girl for telling the pervert off.

dipali said...

I like that girl. Just yesterday, a crazy looking man spat on me as I was walking down a busy street. His filthy, crazed appearance saved him from any retribution. Just blogged about it, here:

CSA Awareness said...

"passing comments on a 30 year old woman, is not the same as doing it to a 13 year old, and that needs to be acknowledged and dealt with accordingly."

We couldn't agree more!

Deeps said...

A very pertinent subject, Goof! I agree with all that you've written. To me eve-teasing is as much an abuse as molesting or groping or raping is and can have traumatic impact on the victim's psyche. I think the very term 'eve-teasing' is used to under-play the whole act of abuse.

Excellent post as always!

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