Monday, March 06, 2006

Blanknoise Project - Why there are no Superheroes!

Have been reading up a lot on eve-teasing and related sexual crimes recently owing mainly to the Blanknoise project to create awareness about the issue. I think a "blogathon" on the issue is a great idea. But I decided to do something different with my spot on this blogathon.

I have read a lotta posts regarding experiences of eve-teasing & quite frankly some have been quite disconcerting. But suggestions like castration and the like aside, I wanted to consider why these offenders can be so brazen with their ways. Without falling into the trap of providing statistics, I refuse to believe that a majority of men are eve-teasers, even though most may think it's ok because "she asked for it".

I think the reason why they are so brazen is... the same reason why all criminals/fundamentalists/etc etc are so brazen - the silent majority will not as much as raise a finger to stop them unless they feel that their safety is not being compromised.

Two seperate incidents to make my point (both of which are NOT fiction by the way)

Incident #1:

This happened 3 years ago, when I was still in class XII. I was waiting on this bus stop (La Marts near Minto Park, Kolkata) for a bus home from school. There was also these two slightly shady looking characters who were singing the usual "ek ladki ko dekha to" songs directed to this young college-going female, not beyond her 1st year Iam sure.

Then perhaps taking courage from the apathy of the other people present (there were about 7-8 men), the comments became more personal. They started openly discussing about her boobs & what they wanted do to them. The girl tried to put a brave front by ignoring them altogether but the comments actually became more crude, to the point that a few people present actually started giggling. It was really bad & I actually felt embarrassed, so I spoke up.

Freaky Chakra: Eita ki oshobhotami korchen apnara? (What is this indecency?)

Eve-teaser#1: Beshi rongbaji dekhabi na... nijer kaaj kor (crudely translated - dont cross your line, & mind your own business)

FC: Rongbaji apnara dekhachen (You guys are crossing lines, not me)
ETs: Ki bolchis (what did u say?)

At this the two gentlemen walked upto me, shorter and frailer than them both & still in my school uniform. One of them shoved me, while the other caught my school tie & slapped me twice. Hard. The first made me see stars, the second left me dizzy. All the while they kept hurling the most dirty swear words ever designed by man, questioning everything from my family lineage to my mother & sister's modesty.

A crowd immediately gathered, like crowds always do. Nobody... said anything when they could've easily overpowered the two. Being a busy street, a cop soon came on the scene. He was one of those traffic constable guys. That I felt relieved to see him, would be a gross understatement. When he enquired what was going on... this is what the ETs told him - (translated into english for convinience)

"This kid here is looking for trouble (baawali korche)"

I protested trying to say that I was only trying to protect the girl being eve-teased pointing to the person questioned. She had been watching the whole scene with anxious concern so far. When the cop asked her... (believe it or not) this is what she said -

"I dont know anything. I was just waiting for the bus". No kidding bitch! Which part did you miss? Them plotting how to treat you worse than a common street whore, or me getting slapped & abused for trying to protest? Waiting for the bus - How convinient!

Amazingly, not one of the poeple in the crowd (there musta been about 20 poeple there) uttered a word, even though they all knew what had happened. The ETs started yelling and asked the cop to arrest me & shit. I was shit scared and started crying. Of course the cop knew what was going on & he wasnt gonna arrest me, but I was just plain hysteric.

Get a load of this... I had to actually APOLOGISE to those two, before being let-off with a "warning"!!!!!!
*
I was pretty badly shaken up after this, and it was atleast a few months after this that I came to peace with myself. I can sort of understand now why the girl did that, but even so I do not think I forgive her for doing so. And as for the others in the crowd, letting a school kid getting madhandled by a couple of goons... well, that is the reason why nobody ever stops from anyone from feeling up your daughters & sisters! That is the reason why there are no "superheroes"!!

Incident #2:

I felt that the 1st one was kind of depressing & negative, so I wanted to share another experience which ended on a more positive note

This happened fairly recently, after I had joined college. I was returning home in a bus one day. It was very crowded and there was this fairly young female standing near my seat. Just behind her stood a slightly tallish middle-aged man, evidently drunk and evidently falling a little too much her inspite of the crowded bus & its lurching movement. The girl gave him quite a number of intimidating, dirty looks and her share of "pich-pich" sounds, but this man was not fazed and kept on sort of dry humping her back every time the bus swerved a little.

I had had enough. I got up & offered my seat to the thankful female & positioned myself between the drunk & her. Instead of being discouraged he fell over me even more in an attempt to gain access to her. His drunk breath gave me further assurance, that in case of any trouble I could "handle" this person. Iam sure a lot of others felt the same because they too started giving him stares. Outnumbered, he sobered up for the moment.

When the girl got up to leave... he too made for the exit. Even though it was some 5-6 bus stops away from my home, I got down too so I could keep an eye on what happened. As soon as we got down, this guy moved forward and caught the girl by her hand. She raised an alarm. I got involved immediately as did a two others who had got down at the same stop.

Seeing that the ET was a) Drunk, and b) outnumbered... a few more people in the vicinity also joined in and soon there was a big crowd and it was open season for everyone. Blacken his face said someone, take him to the police said someone else.

But the girl in question just quickly dismissed the whole thing and hurriedly disappeared from the spot. Seeing that the victim was not interested in the ET, the crowd to let him off... & I was back where it all started.

What I could not understand why, inspite of having such a huge crowd backing her did that female not take the bastard to the police! Of course good girls from good families dont get involved in such a mess.

Overheard after the entire fracas:
"Basically they are all sluts, they enjoy all this... that is why they never do anything about it".

I couldnt help but wonder, if the guy was not drunk and alone, if I would've had the courage to be as upfront as I was. But what about these two females? They had been personally wronged. Why could they not speak up? Why could they not do something about it?

Why could they not do anything to be labelled as victims and not sluts?