Women Raise Your Voice



Travelling in a bus is becoming a nuisance for women everyday. As a woman who travels in DTC buses regularly, I feel that all kinds of misdemeanours and eve-teasing which happen in buses, are because we choose to remain silent or ignore the incidents. It is this silence that is taken for compliance or submission to wrongful situation by eve-teasers. Such a gender confidence gap helps perpetrator to get away with the act. Women who are regular bus commuters will testify that being stared and leered at is something very common. It makes no difference to them even if you return the gaze with an unmasked contempt and derision. Most of them are unabashedly shameless and even manage to take affront when their lurid advances are refused or ignored. Are these affronts to be taken slightly when they get translated into heinous crimes against women? Tracing it back to structural issues underlying in our society and asking all to raise their voices might sound like antidote. But we hate to say that women need to raise their voices more to be heard over and above the dismissals of the overconfident and clueless gender as a minor incident. It is against such acts of dismissals that women need to raise their voices, precisely to show what is not okay and why it cannot be sidestepped.
Every day I travel from JNU to my home in a bus. Most of them are very crowded, and so you have to endure all kinds of occasional rudeness. Sometimes it gets worse. It becomes particularly unbearable when you are intentionally pushed, or when someone tries to press against you, and the bus being overcrowded you cannot move or get away or while getting in or stepping out you are groped or abused. You are forced to react, shout, hurl abuses, create a scene, and so on to draw the attention of other people. Instead of aid and support, at times, I have met with placid stares and comments from the rest of the fellow passengers. There are also times when I have to face judgemental looks. Those looks which said- “this is what happens when you wear clothes like that!” One day, when I raised my voice to tell a pot-bellied man, who was previously breathing down my neck and stuck against my back like his life depended on it, to move as there was space ahead. He, to my horror and amazement, replied that the bus was not owned by my father and that he can stand wherever he wants. This was coming from a man who has been continuously leaning on me and when I had tried to move had followed me and continued to try and rub against me, all the while giving the excuse that the bus is very crowded and the jerking of the bus is making him push against me. The furtive glances of others angered me more than anything else. As instead of saying something to the pervert man, they agreed with him and muttered about how the youth these days have no respect for the elders. Respect, I believe, must be earned. It pains to see how our society ends up suppressing and shaming when it should be applauding and encouraging bold measures for timely intervention. In such cases, what options do we have other than to be shameless and raise our voices alone to show who needs stricter politeness.These are personal views of the writer who is a student at Centre for Russian Studies in JNU.
The Informer

Categories: Opinion