It's the same story every day. You step on the street in the morning and jump out of your skin as a car hurtles towards you and swerves just before smashing you to a pulp. The driver laughs evilly and you're still cursing him under your breath as you pass a group of men standing at the corner, who burst into 'choli ke peechey kya hai' almost on cue. You pretend not to hear and get into an autorickshaw. (Let me not even start about the horrors of traveling in a bus in India and the daily fight against being groped.) The rickshaw driver adjusts his rear view mirror to get a better look at you, and you sit with your files and bag clutched close to your chest as you avoid eye contact with him through the journey. Two men on a scooter peek into the autorickshaw, decide they like what they see and follow you around for a few minutes (depending, of course, on how 'lukkha' they are) staring lecherously and giggling excitedly till the autorickaw driver takes pity on you and waves them off. You reach office and as you're about to enter the gate, a cyclist comes out of nowhere, slaps you on your butt and cycles off.
Office is fine. You have some form of control over your surroundings and take revenge on the male sex by bossing your peon around.
At the 6:30 p.m. show you get 'completely unintentionally' jostled and felt up. Well, what did you expect? You should have sat at home and watched it on VCD you bad, bad girl. As you exit the hall a ruffian whistles and another one passes a lewd remark. You reach home, dodge another speeding vehicle with its underage driver listening to ear-blasting music and hooting as he passes you. 'A***ole!' you mutter irritated, hurriedly enter the gate and bang it shut as loud as you can.
Just another day.
So what's a woman to do?
Many have resorted to carrying pins,
pen-knives and even daggers as a deterrent. Others have taken self-defence
classes and don't hesitate before landing a karate chop on the offender's
This doesn't mean you have to sock
your offender in the face - no matter how tempting it may be. But being
too shy and reserved to speak up is just going to work against you. You've
got to look your offender in the face and speak up as loud as you can.
The crowd will automatically be on your side and you'll have the satisfaction
of watching the ball of slime mumble a denial and slink away.
If you're being followed
Nothing psyches your follower as much as this: Just walk up to him and start yelling at the top your voice, without letting him get a word in. Ask him for the name of his employer. Drop the 'You don't know who I am and who you're messing with' line. Tell him you're going to sic the police on his ass if he doesn't do the vanishing act. (Not recommended if you're talking to a 6 ft muscleman or to a group of hooligans, but a wimpy, skinny male will rue the day he crossed your path.)
Walk in well-lit and frequented areas
Don't walk through a dark, lonely
street or you're only inviting trouble. In a well lit area you'll be able
to see and avoid potential offenders.
Be street smart
Don't daydream and don't look lost
- even if you are. Look as if you know exactly where you are going.
If you are going to spend the day
in crowded areas, don't wear a mini skirt. True, women in salwar kameezes
get harassed as well, but there's no need to call attention to yourself.
Save your skimpy clothes for the nightclubs, when you're the one who's
on a prowl!
Know thy enemy
Is the guy across the street waiting
for you to pass by? Does he look like he's out for some 'fun'? Is he huddled
with other men and just hanging out, doing nothing in particular? Then
it's best to...
Avoid potential harassers
If you see a group of men hanging
out, or a man who's making eye contact with you and trying to get your
attention, take a detour. Better safe than sorry.
Travel with a male escort
Though this may not always be possible,
try and work out some arrangement where you have a male escort. Eve-teasers
by and large target women who are without a male escort. Of course, if
they are very frustrated, even the presence of a man may not deter them
- so better safe than sorry. Take the necessary precautions, drive with
your cellphone handy, don't walk outdoors at night, and learn karate!
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