Eve Teasing - A Pedagogy
The truth about eve
No girl has been spared
from being a victim of eve teasing. This is the harsh reality in India,
essentially so in any of the 4000 odd cities and towns in India. Eve
teasing is a deplorable act that injects shame, fear, disgust and
helplessness in the victim. Being subjected to many instances of eve
teasing is an inseparable part of every girl's life causing much avoidable
mental agony to her. This in turn adversely affects her family and her
This truth stares at the
face of a girl much before she reaches adolescence. Eve teasing is a
common incident, be it in buses, shopping arcades, cinema halls, shopping
malls, pubs, restaurants, auto/bus-terminals, railway booking counters and
every other conceivable place; but the one place where it happens with
alarming frequency is on the road. Girls are never spared in the streets,
the most harrowing ones in Bangalore being those near women's colleges, in
shopping malls and complexes, on Brigade road, MG road and Commercial
A lewd stare, a sly
whistle, a well-timed clap, an unwarranted bump, a seemingly casual touch,
a lingering look at a vulnerable time, the humming of a suggestive song,
passing downright uncouth comments, cheap gestures, the display of an
indecent snap or video, bikes flying close with hands stretched to grope
you, passing by in slow moving cars blasting loud music with many eyes
inside measuring you up... all these are typical examples of eve
The ways an eve teaser
can harass a woman is surely endless! School children, well-dressed
executives, college kids, auto-drivers, bus-conductors, pedestrians,
officials, cine-goers and aged people too have been slaved to this
The profile of an eve teaser
The average eve teaser
is a crafty person, the kind who is sans close interaction with women.
having witnessed many incidents of disrespect to women at home might also
have added to this perversion. He also huddles with other men and
discusses women in a cheap manner. As Anu Santosh, renown Aerobics
Instructor states, It has something to do with their upbringing, or some
insecurity in him that he takes out by targeting girls, a tacky way of
Eve teasing begins as an
attempt to irritate a girl or catch her attention, probably by a whistle
or a clap, or by drooling behind tinted windows in a car blaring songs
like ?Tumse milne ko dil karta hai?, ?What is mobile number??, Aye,
Kya bolti tu? Aati kya khandaala??
An eve teaser gains
confidence when he notices that the girls he abuses do nothing to harm hi.
Encouraged by this inaction he graduates to more active abusive ways like
passing uncouth comments or attempting physical contact.
He relishes watching the
girls spew fiery words on him or squirm in disgust. Walking on this
deplorable path he finally dons the garb of a veteran by frequently taking
pervert pleasure in disrobing their dignity. When a girl confronts him
directly and questions his rude behavior he either feigns indifference or
walks away as if the retort did not affect him at all(though he does
The eve teaser is fully
aware that his act is against minimum standards of morality yet he becomes
the prototype of a spineless coward when accosted or caught by others.
feign innocence, swear on his dear life that he was far from the very
thoughts of eve teasing, claim that his innocent actions have been
viciously misconstrued and behave like a meek victim caught in a web of
deceit; he will go to any extent to slither away.
On being caught
red-handed and reprimanded for their acts the most common explanation used
by most eve teasers is, Please excuse me, this is the first time. He
might otherwise be bold and arrogant initially, claiming that it was not
at all his fault and that others have read a little too much into his
unintentional act, it is only after he is dragged to the police station
and taken to task that he accepts his fault and pleads for mercy.
An interesting aspect
here is that an eve teaser will not reveal his address or allow the police
to contact his residence. He will willingly spend
time in the lock-up and pay up any amount as fine. He will do anything as
long as he ensures that his family is oblivious to his act of eve
A typical example being
A. Rao who drove his swank car in a manner that made the rear-view
mirror caress a girl walking by, his act made her disgust herself and she
screamed at him. That was when I rushed and asked him if his behavior was
anywhere near decent. To which he claimed that he was A police officers
neighbor as if that gave him instant and understandable immunity to
indulge in such acts or in the hope that he would throw a scare in people
like me who accost him and question his acts.
The profile of a victim of
recollects her first
brush with eve teasing, ?I was barely 6 years and was returning home with
my sister when I heard her scream at a stranger and she started yanking me
and we ran home.? Many like Simran have experienced it at an early age,
this trauma is unending, it worsens when they reach adolescence and shows
no sign of abating even after they are married and with kids.
As Anila Anand,
the renown model coordinator rightly asserts, Unfortunately, eve teasing
is faced by many girls at a tender age when they are so confused about the
way they look, their physical selves and the changes happening to them
that they are unsure as to how to react.
The impact it had on
Yogita Madhu, was something else, ?On being eve teased as a girl I
was shocked at the depravity of culture in men, earlier as I was very shy
I had withdrawn further and it had an extremely adverse impact on me.
As Sneha, a
house-maker (whose career was cut short by the increasing instance of eve
teasers harassing her incessantly) concurs,To a small girl it is very
traumatic, as they grow older they are at least not jolted by it even
though they have no clue as to how they ought to handle themselves when
they face such acts.
The disturbing statement
that Rizwana (yet to reach her teens) makes, shows that eve teasing
has an impact on small girls too, The first time I was eve teased by a
wrong touch on the roads, I was too small to even gauge it as unwarranted,
I was walking back home with my elder sister when I felt somebodys hand
on my back. It was only after my elder sister picked up a fight with the
stranger who had touched me that I realized something wrong had happened
that evening. This gave me nightmares for a long time.
Girls are unsure of the
very definition of eve teasing. Kaizer Karachiwala, a graduate from
National Law School of India University explains, At times I see a man
mouthing something within his breath that makes me feel filthy, I know by
instinct that he has behaved in a base manner but dare not ask others
around to take action as it is a Catch 22 situation. Anila agrees,
As a victim one is not very sure if others will brush you away and insist
that you are over-reacting.
Sneha adds, I know that eve
teasing affects a loner or an introvert to a deep extent, like any other
adolescent girl I was fickle, sensitive and unsure about myself. Parents
dont expect you to confront this problem at so young an age. As a child I
did not know whether I was pointing a wrong in the first place or if it
was not okay to discuss it with my parents. Even though they were very
understanding and I could be open about anything I was hesitant, what
about those girls whose parents might not be as easy to relate to as mine
Who do they turn to with such issues?
The gravity of this
truth hits one hard. Girls are hesitant to inform their parents about an
incident of eve teasing; as they know from past experience that they would
be the only ones to be affected adversely. Their activities and
clothes would fall under scrutiny, late nights would be curbed, wantonly
by strict parents and on a sub-conscious level by parents who are
With a note of caution
one has to also consider this view point; Is she the victim or the
victor? as queried by B. S. Gowri, (an ex-teacher) who presents
the other side of the story. In a few cases, if a girl is very honest to
herself she knows she is not always an innocent victim, for in some known
way she has contributed to it. Though rare, there are instances of girls
leading men but in the case of an eve teaser her act of attracting
attention will receive an uncultured response and she too gets alarmed
when things go out of hand.
Typical instances of eve
For a woman, a simple
thing like waiting on the road for a bus is made traumatic when sick
comments are made by eve teasers. While having chaat on the roadside a
woman hears some snickering that makes her feel wretched about herself. In
a bus people accidentally bump into them, at times even the conductor
attempts to act fresh; they consciously avoid getting mauled while getting
out of a cinema hall. They have to definitely be on their guard all the
time when in the market or a shopping mall, ever watchful of common people
taking complex routes to display their lack of culture.
At times they are not
conscious of the act but later they know that someone had acted funny, the
way the petrol bunk assistant touched their fingers while returning the
keys or the way the man in the queue brushed past them in a seeming hurry
to go ahead but found time to cast a glance at them to capture their
reactions. Any such avoidable contact that makes them feel defiled amounts
to eve teasing.
Women who are on a
vehicle are easy targets; bikes chase them and they get even more hyper if
an attempt is made to roll up the windows. The eve teasers say lewd things
and swerve in front of them and if they try to speed away from these
miscreants, the eve teasers seek thrill in ripping behind them in a
hazardous manner, proving that their speed is not skill based.
For those women who
decide to drive faster, they follow the hapless women and honk at them but
wont overtake them. At times they come very close to them and stare while
speeding or say something smart; anything to get their
remarks, A walking girl is an easy target. For example, it is not
uncommon for others to accidentally bump into girls all the time on
Brigade road. We are very cautious while walking on the pavements there
and if there is no other go, then we claw our way through and have
specially devised tactics to handle the eve teasers. Our elbows are always
jutting out to spike into any dubious character with a devious intention.
Her sister Sabrina adds, I call walking on MGs or Brigades an
Obstacle Race, girls literally run to avoid these cheapos and we get to
win when we pass all the hurdles that these shmucks put up unscathed.
Chandra, an entrepreneur is
overcome with disgust when she recollects a cat call that was directed
towards a physically challenged girl sitting in a car, it aggrieved her to
come to terms with the existence of such creeps in this world.
Oh! What am I
wearing today! Nidhi
Rammanohar, an ex-student of Jain
College ponders when she sees an eve teaser on the road, These guys make
you conscious even while sporting a decent Salwaar Kameez, the way they
get a kick out of this its dumb! We end up getting seriously
Anu ties her hair up to look
like a guy to avoid these creeps stalking her while she is riding on the
roads, They try to talk to you and irritate you. This messes up your very
frame of mind, the irritation affects you after you reach home, your mood
is messed and the incident is etched for a while in your minds, even
making you crabby with your own children.
In a pub a woman is
considered to be fair game, morality takes a back seat here as a girl
entering the pub has willingly put herself in danger. As Aarti
Bharghav, a mother of 9 year old Anjali states says, A woman at a pub
has every right to be there, though being in a pub is not the attribute of
our culture, times are changing today and I also know of many who hold
wedding anniversaries in pubs. A pub is nothing but a glorified liquor
shop and I, as an Indian woman have not been cultured to be at a pub and
my daughter too will be requested to not make it a part of her culture
later in her life.
Notwithstanding what I
have said above, I still defend the right of any girl to be at any place
at any point of time. I agree that she had a choice to not be there at
that place of obvious disrepute, but then that is not reason enough for a
man to act smart with her.
All these incidents do
not totally scare the girl but does irritates her. Sneha, who
confronted eve teasers everyday while commuting to her computer classes
states, Horribly sick is what these creeps are, I feel like talking to a
hardcore eve-teaser and finding out what cheap thrills he gets out of
Defining eve teasing
presents the legal
provisions in the Indian Penal Code, where Section 506 of Chapter 22
chalks Criminal Intimidation, Annoyance and Insult and awards a maximum of
2 years or fine or both to anyone who uses assault or criminal force on
women with an intent to outrage her modesty. A word, gesture, remark,
sound, act or even an object held that is intended to insult the modesty
of a woman is punished with Simple Imprisonment for a year or fine or both
under Sec 354.
What is to be given
here is not a maximum sentence but a minimum mandatory sentence. The logic
of causing a deterrent effect was well-laid in the classic case of Zafar
Ahmed where a Rickshaw-wallah caught saying Aaja meri jaan! Meri gaadi
mein baith jaa! to a few Muslim women was giving the maximum punishment,
considering the impossibility of a high conviction rate in such cases. The
logic being that when such a serious stand is taken by the authorities it
will cause a deterrent effect to a greater extent.
The legal provisions
should not define this offence from the offenders point of view but
through the eyes of the victim, the proper way of doing so would be to
redefine eve teasing as any act or omission that makes any woman (an
inclusive definition for a girl) feel vulnerable and
One day out of the blue,
my wife, Yogita Madhu, after editing this entire book said to me
while we were watching a program on tv, I have been eve teased so many
times as a small girl. It is only after reading the book that I realized
that they qualified to be eve teasing.
How to handle eve
The victims of eve
teasing find it safest to ignore the eve teasers or refrain from reacting
because they are unsure about themselves and about every aspect of this
Rajendra, a sincere exponent of
Kathak in Bangalore recalls the way she handled an eve teaser while in
school, There was this guy who persistently followed me when I used to go
to school on a cycle. One day I gathered enough courage to stop and ask
him what he wanted as he was really bugging me. He asserted that he was a
decent boy and that he wanted to be friends with me. I politely said
that my upbringing did not permit me to open up to strangers and requested
him to stop following me lest I face its consequences. He stopped
following me after that. After that I faced it again in Switzerland when
an Indian there said something offensive, I feel that the urge to eve
tease is only in the Indian psyche.
I decided way back that
if I do give birth to a daughter, I'll tell her this asserts Simran
Luthra, whose is hoping that her daughter Mahek be spared of
such a sick experience, Be careful of boys on the road, do not to go out
alone much and be nice and bold, be indifferent to the extent possible but
don't take rot from them and if it goes out of control, thulp that guy.
How does Simran
react to such incidents today She answers, I scream back and abuse
the eve teaser, I know that they get scared if you are bold, if we get
scared they will continue.
And the words of wisdom
that Anu has for Devyani, her seven year old daughter are,
Today she doesn't know about it but it is true that we have to face it in
our day to day life. Its stupid to think she will never face it. Nothing
but a complete re-evaluation of morality can stop eve teasing and this is
not possible in a hurry. At the right time I'll teach her to be
indifferent to it, but when it crosses the line I will insist that she
should not shy away from it and I want her to face it boldly.
Anuradha Raghav Simhan
to be by her younger sister Uttara if she faces the crisis of eve
teasing, she says protectively, She is aware of a lot of things. On a
comparative scale I knew nothing when I was her age and I am glad that she
is so much more mature. Before it was too late, I put her on her guard. It
is sad that double standards exist, women are controlled and men let
loose. I feel that parents should chat with their daughters and ask them
to be bold when faced by such an issue and they should also advise their
sons to not ever indulge in such cheap acts. It is the responsibility of
parents to educate children about these aspects of life and build them to
be better humans.
As Anila Anand
It is true that the models who wear whatever they want and sport an I
care two hoots attitude are seldom approached by eve teasers. They are
sensitive to attacks no doubt but their bold mannerisms are a put off, the
cowardly eve teaser will dare not take on them for risk of being cut down
Many an actresses concur
that the film world is so much safer, this is because they are comfortable
on the sets, the co-stars are fun people to be with and are used to being
professional. They also do agree that there are certain comments floating
behind ones back but it all also depends on how they conduct themselves
in the unit that matters.
Contrary to public
opinion all guys do not take vicarious pleasure in watching woman be
mauled by strangers. Shahid, a guy from a cultured family with two
sisters would react thus, If I see a girl being harassed by a guy or guys
Ill pretend to be someone she knows and take her to safety.
a married man who shares the thread of concern for woman says in words
simple and serious about how he would tackle an eve teaser, I dont mind
breaking his face!
The road to nowhere
Do the public show
concern? ?I doubt it, Anila Anand
I really doubt if they will stick their legs out for unknown women who
are victims of eve teasing attacks.
Sindhu, an entrepreneur
asserts, In Bangalore there is a visible lack of crowd support, I feel so
safe in Bombay, there such acts do not go unnoticed. Here the eve teaser,
even if caught is let off with a mild warning, no other consequence awaits
him, no wonder they are bolder here.
I wish that awareness
about eve teasing is created in every school to make all girls and guys
aware about the harm caused by eve teasing. It will go a long way in
transfixing a sense of right behavior in the generations to come.
Aparna Rao, whose son Anchit is sure to be a role model for
boys his age, has a point here.
Sneha adds, The public too
have to be educated to rush to the aid of a girl who undergoes this and a
more concrete step would be that of publishing photos of eve teasers in
newspapers along with details of their unclean act. Stern follow-up by
police would help a lot.
All the women who voiced
their opinions for this article concurred on one thing, How I wish I was
as confident as I am today, I would have handled the eve teaser sternly
and avoided feeling violated.
In fact the advice that
they have for all victims of eve teasing and all supporters of this cause
is: Lash out against it in some way. Assert that this uncouth act will
not be tolerated. Make sure that culture is shown on the roads, for the
base few, teach them that they will not be let free if they disrespect
women. People will support you if you show strength.
Prakruthi N. Banwasi
A man's incessant fight
I am of the firm belief
that an eve teaser proves that he has not heeded the words of his parents
who would have tried to instill a sense of culture and respect for women
in him. This does not mean that a woman on the roads has to suffer torture
when eve teased. Any member of the passing public can very well teach such
deviant boys to be better behaved by first requesting them to desist from
such acts and then taking the matter to its end if the eve teaser is rude
The author Prakruthi N.
Banwasi has waged a war against the unhealthy practice of eve teasing. He
has so far reprimanded thousands of eve teasers and has further taken 500
plus cases of eve teasers to police stations. The incidence of eve teasing
has greatly reduced in Jayanagar, thanks to his unending efforts in
curbing the same. Many men, including his brother Pruthvi have joined him
to tackle eve teasers and give them their just desserts.
Prakruthi obtained a law
degree from the National Law School and was a full time journalist. He
runs a language institute opposite a NMKRV College, being a woman's
college he first witnessed eve teasing in its enormity. Prakruthi embarks
on a travelogue of how it all began and where he is heading, I was
witness to many an instance of cheap behavior on the roads. It was not one
instance but innumerable ones that triggered of my wish to do my bit to
stop the occurrence of eve teasing.
To quote these famous
Life not lost by a
But deaths multitude in
Life lost minute by
And day by dragging
Life is lost in many an
I know of a girl by
name Sneha who was constantly harassed by eve teasers on the roads. The
Road Romeos loitering around her college tortured her daily by mouthing
obscenities, whizzing past on bikes, touching her and by coming near her
house late at night and screaming lascivious things near her room window.
Her parents wondered
why her of all the girls and restricted her further with every incident,
gradually she stopped telling her parents about such incidents fearing
more detriment to herself. Her college professors promised her protection
within the college premises and left it at that. They all failed to fathom
the gravity of the misdemeanor.
The travelogue of
torture from the uncouth loiterers, her inability to confide in her
parents and the fear of more such incidents scarring her psyche made her
stop attending college. This fair girl of 18 of sound intelligence and
decent upbringing belonging to a good family who respected education
chucked away her entire career and developed a fear complex, one that
opens up even today when she sees a few idle youngsters on the roads. She
paid a heavy price for a few moments of cheap fun for ill-mannered
It was then that I woke
up to the gravity of this seemingly simple offence, since then I make it a
point to walk up to any person who fails to show culture on the roads.
Initially I request them to desist from causing annoyance to the women
around. This friendly advice is taken in earnest by many an eve teaser as
they all hail from good families and they stop their misbehavior, never to
resort to this again and thankful that they were let go without having to
face graver consequences.
Yet there are instances
when this friendly advice only goes to provoke the eve teaser to lash back
by asking how it bothers me or by mouthing obscenities. That is when I
call up the police and engage the eve teasers in a conversation till they
arrive. The psyche of such audacious eve teasers is such that a stern
warning from the police is the only way to set them straight and ensure
that they never ever tease a girl for the rest of their lives. They should
be made aware that there are enough and more decent folk who will react
strongly if a woman screams for help when accosted by eve
I am happy that the
instances of eve teasing, particular in Jayanagar Complex and near a few
colleges here have diminished to a great extent. This only proves that
concentrated efforts can take away the menace of eve teasing slowly. This
can also be erased completely if the media takes up this fight and
educates the public on how to tackle this social evil.
I agree that every one
has a pile of work to attend to, but they have to spare a few moments to
take note of these aberrations in society and reprimand the eve teasers
sternly, this collective public behavior will go a long way in curbing the
menace of eve teasing.
The only way an eve
teaser can be caught is if passers by who witness him indulging in such an
act react. One cannot wait for the police to be on the prowl at every
street corner all the time awaiting acts of eve teasing, the sad fact is
that not many eve teasers are bought to book. The police see through the
seemingly innocent pleas of an eve teaser and take stern action against
these shameless offenders, but that is only when the matter comes to their
notice or eve teasers are brought to them by public action.
Every person caught eve
teasing should be dealt with in all sternness and there should not be any
lenience for first time offenders. The best way to deter stubborn eve
teasers who defy and question authority is to produce them before their
family and unmask their true instincts. The sense of shame will ensure
that they never resort to such a thing again and further this will serve
as a severe warning for others who even think of indulging in
has attempted to educate women to understand the truth behind eve teasing
comprehensively so that they are better equipped with reactions instead of
being stunned when they are eve teased. This book also seeks to initiate a
drive in mature minds against this wide-spread menace. The future is waiting to be made better; all we
have to do is to refuse to shut our eyes when we stand witness to an
incident of eve teasing.