EVE TEASING – a recurrence since decades!

A woman is molested in India every 15 minutes. 80% of cases go unheard and unreported, and that is ghastly!
Eve Teasing, a term that is capable enough of getting even the calmest of us boiling with anger is an awful violation of human dignity that injects the victim with shame, disgust, helplessness, and fear. It is public sexual harassment and a common incident everywhere, be it in buses, shopping arcades, cinema halls, pubs, restaurants, bus stops, railway booking counters and every other nook and corner.

From passing downright crude comments to an unwarranted grope, eve teasing has many faces. It is rather noteworthy how these lame excuses of humans, come up with “creative ways” to humiliate a lady.
It is a matter of utter shame for us as a society to confide women in an environment where nobody blinks an eye on eve teasing and sexual harassment. Can we say that our advancement is fruitful if we ultimately have to be demeaned like this? Why have we been failing time and again to create a safe zone for us and our families?

A sly whistle, a well-timed bump, a lewd touch, a vulgar comment at a vulnerable time, cheap gestures, the humming of a suggestive song, walking close with hands stretched to grope you! The ways an eve teaser can harass a woman is surely endless!

A lot of us might think that celebrated women don’t have to face this in our country. It’s rather obvious to think so because it is assumed that they always have security around. That, however, isn’t true. Barfi! Actress Ileana D’Cruz got terribly eve teased just a couple of days back at a traffic signal by 6 men. She immediately took to Twitter to express her anguish over the incident. In a series of tweets, she wrote, “It’s a pretty shitty world we live in. I’m a public figure. I understand that I don’t have the luxury of a private and an anonymous life. But that doesn’t give any man the right to misbehave with me. Don’t confuse “fan antics” with that. I am a WOMAN at the end of the day.”

Further, actress Taapsee Pannu, who featured in a pivotal role in Pink — a courtroom drama film on crime against women in cities recounts her experiences and shares with an interviewer, “I belong to Delhi and I have been brought up here. Eve-teasing and prank calls were a daily thing for me. When I used to go to a bus stop or take a DTC bus or go to the market — I used to feel it as a part of my life.”

Women of greater stature have also become a target. These men are roaming around easily on the streets today. They have become fearless. This mainly happens due to two reasons; Firstly, our judicial system has efficient laws for every issue but the implementation is ineffective whatsoever. (Remember the numerous candle light marches to bring out of snooze mode the rightful justice?) Secondly, women feel embarrassed to even report such crimes. It is silly to demand a crime-free nation when we won’t stand up against it. If the women who have the potential to change mindsets succumb to societal pressures, empowerment will ALWAYS remain a distant dream.
Eve teasing and molestation are problems that women all over the world, especially in India, grapple with every day. Often, many women are unaware of the laws and regulations that give them protection against such acts.

How can we win?
First, remember the offence is not one where an out-of-court settlement can take place. Being a cognizable offence, the police has the authority to arrest the accused without a warrant and start an investigation with or without the permission of a court.

You should always report the matter to the nearest police station and register an FIR to have a solid and powerful case. A lot of times, it has happened that the police refuses to register a case, especially in a case of molestation. In such a case, you can file a private complaint before the Magistrate under Section 200 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, along with a Section 156(3) application. Though you can register an FIR for molestation up to three years later, you should register it quickly.

The best way to combat eve teasing and molestation is to stay alert. Always follow your instinct. Molestation and eve teasing cases are not easy to prove, so try to gather as much as evidence you can.
Lastly, remember that you are not alone even though it seems so. Times are testing you, but NEVER GIVE UP! What might seem like an insignificant step today, could gain momentum and help millions of others in the years to come. Don’t let those depraved, unprincipled beings make you think any less of yourself. You’re a woman and your strength is in uplifting each other!

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