Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A friend of mine is working with the Blank Noise Project, an organization or movement, if you will, to stop eve teasing. The point isn't just that men harass women (and other men) in public spaces, it's that nobody should be allowed to violate you in any way. They're running a wonderful campaign to collect clothes women were wearing when they were sexually harassed, and they're planning to use them in a public installation in reponse to the common theory of "she asked for it" that applies to women who are harassed and/or raped- that she must have done something to deserve it. They've got a little series of eve teaser pictures, and lots of people comment on them saying things like 'he's so nice he posed for you' and 'take it as a compliment'...what amazes me, though, is the cheek of these men. They can say whatever they want to any woman just because she is one, and then pose for a photograph as if it's their birthright to harass anyone they like.
And it's become so common to be harassed that one begins to tune it out now...looking at BNP's site I remembered something half-buried in my consciousnes. I was in Main Market just the other day and popped down two yards from the car to Shezan on the corner. I was wearing a shalwar kameez and was completely, properly covered, and in those few yards my hand was deliberately hit by a fat pube, twenty pairs of eyes followed me and a voice quite audibly commented on my nasheeli jawani. Scary thing? I had to dig for this insta-blocked recollection: we are so constantly bombarded with these intrusion that we've learned to just shut them out of our consciousness. Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away, and only leaves us feeling victimized and angry.

Mina at 10:34 AM

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