Traditional Culture of Romeos to follow his “pyaar” now turns out to be nightmare. Well, ask the Juliets of today’s generation what is so Romeo-ish about eve teasing. Calling with different names, stalking, taking pictures, honking, chasing the girl with a bike or a car, how are these men imagining to start their love story if it all begins with a crime. Speaking of Love stories as we see in our movies, does a ‘No’ actually mean ‘No’ or is it presumed to be ‘Yes’ after 5 scenes and a fancy song? Is this the reality? Does this behaviour affectionates a woman in real life too?
In India , Section 294 of IPC, makes it a punishable offence whenever somebody acts in an obscene manner in to annoy a girl at a public place. This Section is also considered as weapon against men who disrespects a woman by passing lewd comments or by singing obscene songs to bother her. This offence gives the punishment which may extend to 3 months, or fine or even both. There is one more specific provision that deals with eve teasing and that is Section 354 of Penal Law which says that whosoever assaults or uses any kind of criminal force against a woman with a purpose or intention to outrage her modesty, then that person shall be imprisoned for a term of at least one year and which may extend to imprisonment of 5 years, and shall be liable for a fine in addition to this. Furthermore Section 354A gives protection to a woman against any kind of Sexual harassment, be it in a physical form or any other technological form also Section 354B which gives protection to women against any kind of assault and Section 354C that defines the offence of Voyeurism as against the Right to Privacy of a woman. The punishment to offender under these sections can be given for a term of at least three years which may also extend to seven years with fine. Besides this the so called habitude of eve teasing is also monitored by Section 354D which specifically makes any kind of Stalking a punishable offence for which imprisonment is between 5 years to 7 Years with fine.
Well these self-styled long length provisions are assuring the safety of woman at all times at all costs, but what about their absoluteness in the real world? The real world deals with the all kind of characters where if a girl wears something which in all sense are clothes and not the licence to rag or ridicule, then no one talks about changing the mind sets but it is the girl who is blamed and told to change the outfit. The real world or as we say our precious society is a place that consists movie theatres, restaurants, colleges, universities, offices and even schools but there is no place which is left unreported for woman related crimes and hard to say, it is very rare that there exists a woman who has never encountered such kind of excruciating and intolerable activity in these places.
The day never exists when any complaint is not received from a woman who reportedly became a target of any kind of sexual harassment or assault. We are living in the era where we always talk about Strengthening of woman status and pro-woman laws, but we never talk about weeding out the common psyche and attitude of people that still think that the world can prosper if it is kept patriarchal.
Yes, the Complaints are received in an unusual blatant increasing number but there are some which still go unreported because of sheer mental pressure and embarrassment that a woman has to face in society and in family. If she comes out fearlessly and brazenly to complain about the harassment she faced. Even in that scenario when she flocks together her courage and reports about any such crime it is she who is told to keep everything secluded which ironically hamper and restrict her own life and not the offenders’.
But it is also pertinent to demonstrate to a woman that this fear of staying curbed will further breed this enmity which will prove to be dangerous for themselves and also for others who are likely or unlikely to be effected by this misdeed if not stopped at right occasion. It’s the time when self-help is the best help. So fighting back is the best possible approach. It does not mean that you always have to face-up your rival directly but being too restrained and shy to speak is just going to work against you. If he tries to be all Heroic, well then create a Scene for him by calling out the crowd by your side and you will see that the silence will no more be used as leverage by your foe. It just needs one small thrust against this enmity and you will find yourself more firm and courageous to fight against it each and every time.
-Arvind Singh Dhaliwal