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Eve Teasing: The Social Evil

  Eve Teasing:  The Social Evil

Assistant Editor

23 May, 2019

Eve-teasing is a colloquial term that is used for public sexual harassment against women across South Asia, which includes India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh but is not limited to just these countries. Eve teasing is a form of sexual aggression that ranges in severity from, cat calls, passing lewd comments, deliberately brushing or even groping in public places. However, the term itself is not quite right as it tends to place the responsibility on women as temptress or a tease with reference to the temptress nature of Eve. The Indian National commission for Women has already appealed for a change of the expression to a more appropriate term. 

Eve teasing is a menace that has very negative consequences in the lives of women who have or are facing such harassment as it restricts the women/girls mobility, inability to attend schools in order to avoid being eve teased and in many cases the girls being blamed and also causing family problems. Eve teasing has led many to depression and suicide as the women/girls are constantly being forced to lead an existence of humiliation, fear, anxiety or tension.Eve teasing is an activity that men and boys blatantly indulge in where they sexually molest women, and this usually happens in public places, market places, buses and trains. Women and girls are treated in a very offensive manner which not just hurts them physically but they are forced to go through a mental trauma as there are many instances when the women are threatened with dire consequences if they report to police or try to protest against the vulgar comments and inappropriate groping or manhandling. Eve teasing not only has a negative impact on the woman alone but it creates a negative impact on our society. Unfortunately these humiliations by men don't just stop in public places but have spread their tentacles in other areas like offices and other places of work. Worst is the atrocities meted out to women who dared to oppose such behavior.

Does this happen on in this part of the world? Well the answer is a big "No". It is estimated that 35 percent of women globally have experienced either physical of sexual violence either by a partner or a non-partner at some point in their lives. Globally, one out of three girl students aged between 11 to 15 years have been bullied in school. This kind of school related gender-based violence is one major obstacle to universal schooling and women/girl's right to education. 

In United States itself twenty-three percent of female undergraduate university students have reported to have experienced sexual assault or some form of sexual misconduct in a survey that was conducted across 27 universities in United States in the year 2015. 

Unfortunately eve-teasing or harassment against women is no longer restricted to just public places. Cyber sexual harassment now follows women everywhere in public or at home with one in 10 women in the European union reported experiencing cyber-harassment since the age of 15, which have been having received unwanted, offensive and sexually explicit emails or SMSs, lewd messages, or offensive inappropriate advances on social networking sites.

In a multi-country that was conducted from the Middle East and North Africa, 40 to 60 percent of women admitted that they were subject of street based sexual harassment like sexual comments, stalking, ogling or groping. 

Results of a survey conducted in Australia, showed 2 out of 5 women aged 15 years or older and have been working for last five years have been victims of sexual harassment in the workplace during their tenure of work. 

A study was conducted by the Inter-parliamentary Union in 39 countries across 5 regions and shockingly 82% of women parliamentarians who participated in the study reported having experienced some form of psychological violence in the forms of lewd gesture, remark, humiliatingly sexual in nature made against them or even threatened or mobbed while they were service their office term.  

These participant parliamentarians also cited the social media as the main channel through which violence was perpetrated; 44% of the members surveyed reported of having received death, rape, assault or abduction threats towards them or their family members. 65% had been subjected to sexist remarks by their male colleagues in parliament.

It is unfortunate that even in majority of countries who have available data, it is found less than 40% of women who were victims of sexual abuse or violence sought any help, and whoever did mostly took to family or friends rather than reporting the matter to the police and other formal institution and mechanism. When it came to seeking help from police it was a sad picture as less than 10% of those women sought help by appealingto the police.

This one social evil has been haunting our country for past many years with women being robbed of their freedom. Violence against women has become one of the most visible, and articulate social issue all around the globe. On one hand with an increase in educational levels women are more aware of creating an identity for themselves and are venturing out of their homes in pursuit of jobs, higher education so on and so forth. However, there is slight or almost no change in the patriarchal structure and mindset of family and society. Most Indian men feel threatened by this change of position and try to sexually intimidate women to keep them in place.

Eve teasing has over the years only turned more malicious. The Indian journal of Criminology and Criminalistics has categorized eve teasing into 5 different heads namely;

1. Verbal eve teasing

2. Physical Eve teasing

3. Psychological Harassment

4. Sexual Harassment

5. Harassment through some objects.

Eve teasing has one too many negative impacts on the society and women as a whole. It leads to School dropout, early marriage, depression, attempting suicide, are the ill effects of eve teasing. 

We need to implement stringent law to instill fear in the minds of the perpetrators. However, laws alone cannot bring change until the mindset of people change towards women. We need to teach the younger generation how to treat women in the society with respect and dignity and erase the evil of thinking them as just an object of carnal gratification. 

By: MadhuchandaSaxena