The Blank Noise Project had bloggers speaking up against street harassment. City’s women add their testimonies.
Excerpts from the blog...
It was always a feeling of shame. Shame that when 14, a passing cyclist grabbed me. Shame that in the school bus, the driver always fiddled with the rearview mirror so he could look at my chest. Shame that men leered with smug smiles when I walked past. Or tried to brush up against me. Shame because I felt it happened only to me and only because there was something wrong with the way I looked or dressed or walked or talked or was. Something wrong — terribly, terribly so — with me...
Don't know exactly when silence turned into anger into indignation and then confrontation. Perhaps when I was forced out of my cocooned world of being accompanied and driven around into the rush of public transport, government offices, the streets and the slums. Perhaps when a man pushed his crotch against my back in a crowded bus...
Now, the shame is gone but the scabs remain. I don't pick at them because there is no point. What I can do now is know that I never ask for it. That no woman does. That my body is my space and when you lech or whistle or grope or leer or ogle or grab, you abuse it. And that it's not okay.
So what it takes now is one question — Why are you looking at me?
— Chinmayee Manjunath, To join the cause, log on to blanknoiseproject.blogspot.com
The city just doesn't bother
The eve teasing scene in Mumbai is pathetic. Everywhere you go, you are hounded by catcalls and lurid gestures. It's very disgusting; no one is spared. In buses I have seen little girls being felt up by men. Churchgate is the worst; there are many louts hanging around. This city is so indifferent, they don't even bother to acknowledge that some guy just whistled at a girl. Once in a while an old woman probably yells at the ruffians. Everyone seems to ignore the ever-growing eve teasing issue that this city faces. — Suchita Agrawal
How many can you yell at?
People think that Mumbai is bad, but they should stay in Delhi and Bihar. There, some vandals actually pelt you with stones. It was then that I realised, Mumbai is so much better. We should stop cribbing and realise how safe and liberal our city is. Out there, a bunch of girls can't use public transport once it gets dark. You can't help but ignore eve teasers. There is nothing one can do. How many can you yell at? Be it a train or a theatre, eve teasing happens everywhere and to every girl. — Manvi Singh
Men are as horrible here
I have come to Mumbai from Jamshedpur for the second time. And this time I have travelled in the Mumbai locals and the buses. Though the scene is definitely better than that in Jamshedpur, the coast here also isn't completely clear. The men are as horrible and as cheap, and what better if they can get a cheap thrill at your expense. If a guy crosses his limits I will yell at him. If I see someone being teased I would help her. I know how it feels when men harass you and I would definitely not like to see someone suffer like that. — Harshita
Old men are the biggest perverts
The claim that ‘provocatively dressed’ women attract more catcalls is a sham. Even if you are in a salwar kameez, guys are going to leer at you. In fact, I don't think that they even see a girl's face. Personally, I think in Mumbai the subways are the worst. Old men are the biggest perverts. They don't think about their age and try to get fresh with every girl. They try and edge closer to you till you can't breathe anymore. I shout at anyone who tries to act smart. Here you have to fend for yourself no one is going to help you. — Sheetal Mehta
Mobile cams are the new threat
Just the other day my friends and I were standing on the road after college, when suddenly these two boys passed by and clicked our snap on their camera phone. We felt so helpless. Before we could react the two guys had disappeared. The thought that some strange guys have our snap is very creepy. We can't do much so every time I hear a whistle or something like 'aati kya Khandala', I ignore it and walk away hoping that they will not persist.
At the end of the day women are the sufferers. As for girls-in-jeans-are -always-targeted-myth, well it is high time people realise that burqa or mini skirt, it really doesn't matter. Eve teasing is a serious issue that has to be dealt with. — Hiteshree Nisar