“Eve teasing”, in itself is something that we often witness on the streets of any country. In some countries it is done in a subtle mode, and in countries like Bangladesh, it’s done with full legitimacy. Last year when a boy of 23 was arrested for eve teasing a girl, his appeal in court was saying, “in no Holy books it’s not said that one can’t harass a girl on the street.” This shows first of all the level of literacy of the people in our country and the blindness towards the status of women as a minority in the country. How many women of us are working and even if they are how many of them are doing what their heart desired to. It is simply because our society works in the notion where, women are to be protected and the only being that can protect are the men in the society.
Eve teasing refers to the physical or verbal harassment of a female by the opposite sex. The name itself is evident that the victims are the females. In Bangladesh women are not allowed to leave the house after a certain time in the evening, and even the women who are allowed are expected to have a good enough reason to which not always is good enough for the ears of her protector. Our culture nurtures the concept of women oppression and the society is expected to abide through that. If a girl is walking down the street in her school uniform and the men around here are making remarks and verbally harassing her, we the people condemn her for walking down that road in the first place. We find it all right when a man wants to sit by the river and feel the wind blow across his face and walk down a lonely road in self-contemplation and finding answers to life questions, but when a woman has the desire to do the very same things she is deemed to be the ‘vamp” and labels are put on her character for not having one in the first place.
The little hole in the wall, we call ventilation is apparently enough for her to weave her whole world around it, and when she is of age she is transferred to another ventilated room to live and that is the window she is supposed to see the world through. But a man can go and experience all that the world has to offer and even feel nature’s blessings with full ambition, but a woman in our country can’t walk down a road not having lustfully vicious eyes feast on her beautiful curves. A man doesn’t have men feasting on his curves not even women dare to feast on a man’s curves as shamelessly in cases of eve teasing.
There have been numerous cases where women, young girls has taken their life just so they could get rid of the shame they are put through by unknown hogging men feasting their eyes on them and verbally communicating their filthy thoughts to her in public. Many may wonder what the law authorities of a country are doing to tackle this situation. The answer is nothing and the little that is done is insignificant in respect to amount of women who are being victimized to this torture. How many men are the cops going to arrest to prevent such adversities?
We being a majority Muslim country, we do maintain high context veiling of women and their restrictions as to how a woman is to behave in midst of society but there again, we are a secularist country where all genders are promised equal opportunity and freedom. There in it are many restrictions but not in any Holy Book is it written that they are not part of a dignified society and that they can’t have rights to freedom and expression. A child while growing up, wants to absorb everything bit of light that the world is giving them, regardless whether the child is a boy or girl.
How is it that even when a girl is eve teased, hardly will the society come forward to give a helping hand? Is it the book bound religion that we follow that holds us back and teaches us sub consciously that it’s appropriate for women to be oppressed or is the failure as a race and a nation that we failed miserably to care about others and their hardships. Why is it so hard for girls in our society to come forward with their complains? It’s simply because as a society we have failed to protect them. We think prevention is better than cure so we pack our women up and restrict their proper social growth so that they are not eve teased and shoveled at. But, not confront the filthy men who engage in such activities. The common scenario here, in Bangladesh is that, if a girl complains about eve teasing, she is not sent to school anymore, she is not allowed to go out and married off to the first knock on the door by her parents who are thinking that they are protecting her from eve teasing by doing all of that.
Question arises, who is the guilty here? The girl? Or the men who can’t keep their eyes of women or the parents who has failed to stand up for their own daughters rights? Who do we blame? The education system that lacks the sensitivity towards equal genders or the book bound religions that we follow or simply the DE-moralization of our society at whole. It is sad that in this age and time, we as a nation may have learnt what the internet is and facebook has become our form of socialization and have long forgotten our “benaroshi” sari’s and adopted Vasabi; yet all these progress is shadowed by our surrendering towards corruption and filth.
We have not moved a bit form the dark ages for our country. Even 40 years after liberation, we have failed to gain freedom in its true essence but adopted a fake snake skin to cover our limitations that has costs us lives of women and encouraged our brutal perceptions towards minorities to be sugar coated with technology and brands. I am yet to experience a democratic and free Bangladesh where a woman can walk down a street fearlessly and sit by a river bank alone just to talk to the wind.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Ending Gender-Based Violence 2012.