I think after a certain point of time, we girls get used to the looks we get when we’re out of the house, whether wearing a suit or shorts; I don’t think it has ever made a difference. No matter what time of the day, there will always be that boy who stares at you until you feel uncomfortable and your skin starts crawling. Some of them even call you disgusting names and begin to follow you until you get on the bus or catch an auto and leave, but no matter how far behind you leave those boys, the words they say ring in your head, and the fear stays until you’re in familiar surroundings.
For a very long time, nothing was being done about such cases. Girls were expected to shut up and suffer, but now maybe things can finally change for us. Recently the Delhi High Court announced that eve-teasing and stalking violate a woman’s right to live in light of another event of stalking. A 22-year-old man named Rajesh was taken to court on the charge of stalking a girl when she went for tuition classes. Rajesh continued this even after the girl showed disinterest in him. He would follow her to her bus stop and then stand near her seat, showing gestures and saying things to insult her modesty. Upon being found guilty, Rajesh was sentenced to three months in jail for his crime and had to compensate Rs 10,000 to the victim.
In the past, the blame for stalking fell on the victim. It was either the way she dressed or the fact that she dared to leave her house alone. Nobody raised a finger against the person actually stalking the girl because it’s probably not even his fault, right?
“Eve-teasing has become a menace in the society due to which women feel unsafe and nervous to move out alone. Eve-teasing is a typical social crime that violates the right to live and liberty of the women in the metropolitan cities,” Magistrate Susheel Bala Dagar said.
The high court has decided that any man found violating a woman’s right to live should be given a punishment that discourages other like-minded men from doing the same.
“Acts of stalking, passing lewd remarks and gestures, brushing against a woman’s body, and passing vulgar comments are some of the things which women in metropolitan cities face all the time, and what exactly happens depends upon the opportunity which the perverts get. Men who indulge in such enjoyment do not realize how a woman may be affected by their comments and indecent acts. These men feel it right to show their attention and aggression towards women. They rather feel validated by acting sexually and aggressively towards women. In case of eve-teasing and stalking, the seriousness of the offense lies not in the extent of punishment it carries but on the impact, and it has social psyche and public order,” the magistrate said.
So I think after such a decision, it is time we let men go for such acts based on “boys will be boys.” We, as women, have a right to live our lives the way we want to. No matter what kind of clothing you are wearing, it is not anyone’s right to follow you and make you feel ashamed of it. Next time someone follows you or makes lewd remarks remember that it is against the law and feel free to call up the police. It’s time we start discouraging such activities. It’s time for a change.