Eve teasing is an action of perversion like making of unwanted sexual advances to women in public place. Eve-teasing is a term used exclusively in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
Many women have spoken against the use of the terms “eve-teasing” and, interchangeably used, “catcalling” as they are mere euphemisms for a more serious problem. “Street Sexual Harassment” is the term that most activists prefer to use. Street sexual harassment is also a more definitive and exhaustive term leaving very less room for misunderstandings.
India has an ample amount of laws in place to keep eve-teasing in check. From a systemic standpoint, there is hardly anything that needs to be corrected. But, the problem is enforcement. The concept of police enforcement of the law is completely missing from the Indian society. Only when a crime has been perpetrated, that the police come into the picture.
Also, women are not aware of their own rights. Most of them do not even know that Eve-teasing is a Punishable offense. Very less such cases are reported. Also, there are hardly any studies or statistics available with the government agencies to study the trend and tackle the problem of Eve-teasing.
Society has a greater role to play in case of Eve-teasing. Eve-teasing is treated as a commonplace phenomenon in India. “Men will be men” is the common explanation for such beliefs. Also, victim blaming is also a very common phenomenon prevalent in India. Women are usually blamed for “enticing” men with their provocative dresses. Phrases like “She was asking for it” have even been coined, not just by common people, but even by politicians on national media.
How to tackle eve-teasing :-
Any course-correction has to be started with a jolt. The Nirbhaya case was a very big jolt to India and its society. But, the incident could have been used by the authorities to make an example out of it. Stringent and Strict punishment to the perpetrators could have acted as a perfect deterrent for every perpetrator. But, instead, one of the most heinous of the perpetrators is roaming around freely in India. To start a new jolt, the authorities need to make an example out of perpetrators who commit any kind of crime against women. It should be made clear in society that the consequences are extremely severe even for the slightest of mistakes made. This is something that needs to be done by the executive and judiciary combined.
Also, women need to be made more aware of their rights and protections provided by the state to them. Schools and Colleges should especially take up this task to educate women in this regard.
A problem that has existed in India for long is the segregation of boys and girls right from childhood itself. Interaction between the two sexes is important for them to see each other as fellow human beings with feelings. This needs to change right from the childhood itself. Interaction between the two sexes must be encouraged in schools, colleges, societies, etc.
Situations in other countries:-
Scandinavian countries are known for their equal status accorded to women in their society. European and American countries are also significantly safer for women as compared to India. China and the middle-east countries have been transitioning to a more women-friendly society. African countries, on the other hand, are still very low on women safety and have a long way to go. India is the 4th most dangerous country for women in the world.
The key feature which is common in all the countries with appreciable levels of women security is their culture. In their culture, they are taught to respect each other and treat everyone equally. Though, we boast greatly about our culture and traditions, respect for everyone is a notion that is apparently absent from the Indian culture.
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