Plain-clothed police officers, warning signboards, cancellation of permits, helplines: SC directs States to take serious steps to curb Street Sexual Harassment.

And if Sexual Harassment is reported, the bus driver must immediately drive the vehicle to the nearest police station.

This is what we do when we take a crime; and safety, rights and freedoms of citizens seriously.

Realising that more and more women are now using public spaces and transport, and are finding them unsafe, and that safety of women and girls is ‘of extreme importance to a civilised and cultured society‘,

Supreme Court issues directions to curb sexual harassment of women. 

* All states and UTs are directed to depute plain-clothed female police officers in the precincts of bus-stands and stops, railway stations, metro stations, cinema theatres, shopping malls, parks, beaches, public service vehicles, places of worship to monitor and supervise incidents of sexual harassment.

* States and UTs to install CCTV in strategic positions which itself would be a deterrent and if detected, the offender could be caught.

* Persons in-charge of the educational institutions, places of worship, cinema theatres, railway stations, bus stands have to take steps as they deem fit (IHM: I think it is clear that this would not be considered a serious step.) to prevent sexual harassment, within their precincts and, on a complaint being made, they must pass on the information to the nearest police station or the women’s help centre.

* Where any incident of sexual harassment is committed in a public service vehicle either by the passengers or the persons in charge of the vehicle, the crew of such vehicle shall, on a complaint made by the aggrieved person, take such vehicle to the nearest police station and give information to the police. Failure to do so should lead to cancellation of the permit to ply.

* States and UTs are directed to establish women’s helpline in various cities and towns to curb sexual harassment within three months.

* Suitable sign boards cautioning act of sexual harassment be exhibited in all public places including precincts of educational institutions, bus stands, railway stations, cinema theatres, parties, beaches, public service vehicles, places of worship etc.

* Responsibility is also on the passersby and on noticing such incident; they should also report it to the nearest police station or to the helpline to save the victims from such crimes.

* States and UTs would take adequate and effective measures by issuing suitable instructions to the authorities concerned including the District Collectors and the District Superintendent of Police in order to take effective and proper measures to curb such incidents of sexual harassment.

Another link: Curb eve-teasing with an iron hand, Supreme Court fiat to all States.

Related Posts:

Is stalking of girls and women illegal in India?

Why a ban on jeans may not stop street sexual harassment of women.

Can sexual harassment be compared to Terrorism against a whole community called women?

Those charged with our safety should have a true understanding of what it is to be a survivor of sexual assault — slut or otherwise.

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

Allahabad girl Aarti Yadav beats harasser, sets bike on fire

When a college principal refused to be a Taliban ally ;)

Where in India are you likely to see teenage girls doing this?

“Sometimes it seems like every single thing I do has the potential to be something ‘provocative’.”

Men in Delhi Metro women’s coaches fined Rs 32 lakh

He said, “You’re a very beautiful girl, but don’t wear such clothes…”

She started a fight between two men?

Reserved seats and coaches are not a special indulgence towards women, they are an indication of a serious social problem.

What’s the best way to fight for your rights and freedoms and to prevent Talibanization of India?

The fearlessness of the Indian ‘Eve teaser’ (sexual criminals)

An email from an American reader : “He then said… ‘..my wife is very sexy.’”

Said Noodle strap to the Sari

Not just a pair of jeans

41 thoughts on “Plain-clothed police officers, warning signboards, cancellation of permits, helplines: SC directs States to take serious steps to curb Street Sexual Harassment.

  1. These sound like great measures, and it is definitely a start! Of course, I had to ruin it by reading the comments below the article. Here is one that has me fuming –

    “My parents are people of Indian origin. When I visited India recently, I realized how pathetic the women are. Here in US, when I say ‘How are You’ to women, they appreciate and thank me for asking. But in India, women cry harassment when we ask that question. I think problem is more in Indian women’s understanding of what harassment means. Even women of family friends stare at me and run away from me when I ask them friendly questions. Seeing this I feel good that my parents moved to states, where I grew up. Indian woman, you need to change and learn to appreciate men if they complement you.”

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    • Okay, that certainly does not read like the language used by a native speaker raised in the States. Someone’s trying to do a pretend-post there and ended up doing a fairly crappy job of it.

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    • Just another person trying to trivialize women’s concern and silence them.

      Street harassment is yet another forum that perpetuates and reinforces gender hierarchy. I always wonder why nobody “compliments” guys or yells “nice things” at them on the street. Anybody who thinks that I should lighten up and be thankful for all the distasteful songs, wolf whistles, honking, following, hooting, hissing, leering, flashings, groping, grabs, winks, cat calls, unwanted remarks like come here baby or oh hoye kya cheez hai or any verbal or non verbal gesture that is clearly rude, an unwelcome show of social dominance and reminds me of my vulnerability to sexual violence in general, seriously needs to get their head examined.

      I have had “seemingly innocuous” comment like “that must be a great book” turn into blatant harassment, following, and lewd gestures, because I chose to gave a brief, laconic “yes” instead of showing interest in the guy. I have had an older man in the metro say to me that “I should smile more because I am a girl and that’d make me look pretty”. I was like “I am sorry what?!? Now am I supposed to smile for your pleasure and at your beck and call? What if I don’t want to look pretty?” Of course I didn’t say that out aloud, I just stayed there stunned at the condescension. I hate the sense of entitlement a lot of men and boys have. I hate the idea that we’re fair game to be commented on whenever we have the nerve to exist in public. I hate people (men and women) who call it innocuous, trivial, “boys will be boys” type of behaviour and blame women for being oversensitive, humourless and attaching negative meaning to these “compliments” and unwanted attention. They feel that they have the right to encroach on a woman’s personal space and think that women should actually be thankful for all the unwanted attention directed at them that they often find disgusting, disturbing and dangerous evidently.

      For those who think that they are just trying to be nice, let me make it clear, being “nice” doesn’t involve forcing somebody to do something the person isn’t interested in. If you are encroaching upon somebody’s personal space, being intrusive, “complimenting” a stranger without taking permission and establishing respect, or doing it to be passive aggressive and draw attention to yourself you are being an asshole. You need to realize that your compliment might not be complimentary to the stranger and they owe you nothing. Also shouting compliments at somebody in public is rude and alarming, no matter how ostensibly well-intentioned.

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      • By the way this guy just has a big sense of entitlement and a inflated ego that probably got punctured. The fact that he believes that he has the right to tell women how to feel and react shows how arrogant he is.

        My message to this guy would be:
        Women clearly aren’t asking for compliments from you, you aren’t doing them any favor by “complimenting” them, they don’t need to appreciate you! You Just need to grow up and stop pretending that you live in U.S. and how hunky dory it has been for you there.

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  2. @Aray: The darling boy who wrote that comment on the ToI article has NO idea why Indian women misinterpret friendly gestures and conversation.

    Talk about taking behavior out of context and missing the woods for the trees.

    OF COURSE Indian women stare goggle-eyed if a strange man smiles and says “hello”. Bitter experience has taught us that returning a friendly smile is misconstrued to mean, “Yeah, lets have sex, O strange man who smiled at me.”

    Duh. Before Indian women learn to appreciate men, Indian men should learn to differentiate between sexual come-ons and plain, friendly, non-sexual behavior.

    We live in a country where many men think a woman’s friendly smile is a tacit consent for sex.

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    • Spot on biwo! NEVER has an unknown man smiled at me in a public place in India as a friendly or polite gesture. It’s always followed by ‘come on madam’/ ‘aa ja baby’ or something equally ridiculous.

      Besides, I disagree that I should ‘change and learn to appreciate men if they complement you’. You know what, I may not want to be complimented. I may not want to acknowledge a stranger’s appreciation of my looks/ etc. I might even feel sexually objectified by it. It’s entirely my prerogative. Women do not owe it to strangers to be grateful for ‘compliment’s on their physical aspects. Not in India, not anywhere.

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    • The whole situation is a bit unfortunate. When I first moved to a western country, the friendly smiles on stranger women’s face was a refreshing contrast to the constant sexual tension that exists in Desi lands.

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    • In my experience, saying ‘how are you’ to strangers in a public place isn’t all that common even in North America.

      I mean, if you’re in some small mountain town in the Rocky Mountains, and you walk into the lone local diner, yeah, sure.

      Do it on the Toronto subway, though, and you could certainly get a few weird looks.

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      • Same in the London tube. There is absolutely no smiling and small talk amongst strangers. When you are forced to be in close quarters, it’s polite to give each other some mental space at least!

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        • True, but having lived in USA for the last five months, I’ve definitely seen a change in myself – I do smile back at men who look at me, and make eye contact with strangers easily. In India I tried to keep a ‘neutral’ face at all times on the road. In fact, I was often berated by my parents for walking on the streets and smiling to myself, because that would ‘invite trouble’.

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        • Aray,

          Interestingly enough, I think that’s not just a female thing either.

          When I returned to India, one of the harder things to get used to was maintaining a stony, neutral expression all the time in public, lest it be misinterpreted as something sexual by any woman I happened to be looking at. I mean, I’ve lived in Canadian suburbia for a large chunk of my adult life. Up there, it’s pretty normal to smile at random strangers on the streets if you happen to bump into them or if you just catch their eyes.

          It’s different in India. The standards of ‘sexual’ are a lot different here, and I end up consciously avoiding eye or physical contact with women in public, specially, simply because I don’t want to make them uncomfortable, and I don’t want to come across as some kind of pervert (which is what a random smile often means in Indian public spaces). That sexual tension which B mentions is something I’ve noticed too. It’s there, humming away in the background, all the time.

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        • Praveen (PT), during the discussion on a previous post by IHM titled “So what do Wives and Cheerleaders have in common?”, when I said that

          “But my point is why should he interact with a stranger with whom he has no business with in the first place”,

          you replied with the following words

          “Why should he not? Is it a crime to interact with strangers? Should we walk around with blank poker-faces so as not to accidentally offend anyone who has been brought up conservatively?”.

          http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/so-what-do-wives-and-cheerleaders-have-in-common/#comment-121067

          But here you accept that

          “In my experience, saying ‘how are you’ to strangers in a public place isn’t all that common even in North America.”

          AND,

          “It’s different in India. The standards of ‘sexual’ are a lot different here, and I end up consciously avoiding eye or physical contact with women in public, specially, simply because I don’t want to make them uncomfortable, and I don’t want to come across as some kind of pervert (which is what a random smile often means in Indian public spaces).”

          So initially you argued in favor of interacting with strangers but now you accept that you don’t even make eye contact with women in public. Why the difference???

          If you have been cordially interacting with stranger women outside India, good for you. But hopefully now you understand that you cannot apply the same rules of interaction with strangers in every country. Not because the women in India are ultra-conservative or over-sensitive, but because many (if not most) Indian women have had ugly experiences with strangers trying to be cordial (as mentioned in a comment above that a mere “yes” to a “seemingly innocuous” comment like “that must be a great book” can turn into blatant harassment). So such a woman cannot rely on her sixth sense to analyze you as a nice guy instead of another pervert.

          So its the fault of the real perverts who force Indian girls to keep a safe distance from every stranger for the fear of repeating past harassment. AND, if you don’t have any business with a stranger, you are much better off minding your own business.

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        • Neha,

          I’d appreciate it if you didn’t put words in my mouth.

          I did not ‘argue in favor of interacting with strangers’ in public places at any point of time. At least, I did not advocate this degree of interaction.

          I merely pointed out that it is not a crime to do so. Obviously, there is a difference between those two assertions.

          Although it may not be genteel to go and say ‘How’re you doing’ to someone you’ve never met before, I do not believe it is ‘wrong’, in and of itself.

          I also pointed out then, as I’ll point out now, that there can be legitimate reasons for interacting with strangers, beyond mere nicety.

          Finally, there are all kinds of public spaces. In the context of this thread, I was referring mostly to public transport, and outdoor areas, like a busy market, say. There are certainly no pan-India rules here. I mean, the elevator at my workplace, for example, is a very different kind of public space from a metro car. Different rules apply. I’d say it’s pretty presumptuous to simply proclaim that no one could or should ever have any business talking with strangers. You don’t have the mandate or right to make that sort of proclamation.

          While I have no desire to unnecessarily make people uncomfortable, I am not going to bend over backwards for some stranger’s personal comfort either. If my asking your ultra-conservative girl for the time (an example I gave in the post that you’ve linked to) makes her feel threatened, I cannot help that. I do not have any more sixth sense than she does, so I can only make a general guess at what might make her feel that way.

          There is a line to be drawn here, between acceptable interaction and too much interaction.
          You are essentially claiming that there should be no such thing as acceptable interaction in Indian public spaces, which is a claim I take serious issue with.

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        • Praveen (PT), I never tried to put words in your mouth but just copied what you commented before and after. Maybe it was due to my inferior IQ that I messed up your comments in the context of two different threads, but I’ll again copy and paste your own comments from this very thread. Lets hope I dont find any contradictions between them.

          “While I have no desire to unnecessarily make people uncomfortable, I am not going to bend over backwards for some stranger’s personal comfort either.”

          “I end up consciously avoiding eye or physical contact with women in public, specially, simply because I don’t want to make them uncomfortable, and I don’t want to come across as some kind of pervert”

          In other words, you are making a conscious effort on your part to even avoid looking at females which according to you may make them uncomfortable. So, on one hand you say that interaction with a stranger is not a crime whereas you yourself follow your own concept that an eye contact may make a girl uncomfortable.

          And, when you say that “I’d say it’s pretty presumptuous to simply proclaim that no one could or should ever have any business talking with strangers. You don’t have the mandate or right to make that sort of proclamation.”, it is you who is presuming and trying to put words in my mouth.

          When you say that “If my asking your ultra-conservative girl for the time (an example I gave in the post that you’ve linked to) makes her feel threatened, I cannot help that.”, it is very normal for a person to ask the time from another person. Nowhere did I say you should not interact with a stranger even if you need to. But it would be considered normal only when you dont have a watch or it is not showing the right time. Here you are not talking to the other person without any ‘business’. But if you ask the time while having a perfectly working watch on your wrist, it is bound to raise eyebrows.

          If a male comes up to me and asks for directions to a place or the destination of a train, that is not ‘too much interaction’. That is plain civic courtesy for me to answer and help. But if someone comes up and says ‘how are you doing’ for no reason at all, it is not really required (at least in Indian context) and will invariably lead to an uncomfortable situation. Because how a girl is doing is no stranger’s business.

          That is what I meant about minding ones own business instead of contemplating too much on what would or would not make a girl uncomfortable and behaving accordingly.

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    • @ carvaka, biwo and others
      Long Post Alert!
      I wanted to say it yesterday, but I kept shut, since it might be a culturally sensitive thing with the potential for causing offence. But since B and Praveen raised it, I’d like to put in my input. After of course, clearing out a bit of forethought.

      One of the cornerstones of liberalism is the belief that everyone has the right to have their voices heard, no matter how disagreeable. One of my personal beliefs is also that, everyone has the right to have their opinions considered for an introspection, no matter how regressive it might seem to a casual glance. Also, in internet discussions, it is common courtesy to ask more questions and wait it out a bit to try to understand a person’s perspective better, instead of responding quickly with blanket assumptions of what he/she tried to say, based on a casual interpretation of their words (which regrettably, tempts even the best of us). For instance, when I talk about a woman coming in her ‘daddy’s car’ it is literal, not metamorphic. It would sound sexist only if you form the conclusion that I meant, ‘a woman can’t own a car’. I have made my own similar mistakes online and learnt to wait sometime to get my head clearer, rather than opine as quickly.

      Now having cleared that up, it appears a lot of people got stuck in the rather unsophisticated way this guy tried to make his point and scapegoat him with their mental picture of a leery gazer who shoves down compliments on unsuspecting women. When in reality, it is not all that black and white.

      For those who don’t belong to the desi cultures where most of your social and family reationships are forged by your networks of the ‘elders’; compliments and other conversational ice breakers are the only way we meet new people, get to know them and expand our base of friends and acquaintances. So for some of us, desi people do come off as a little closed and avoidant, because you like to ‘stick to your own’ and prefer to hold your petty cultural prejudices against the rest of us, instead of just going ahead and talking (which break down the walls). It wasn’t long back when I attended a wedding in Chandigarh where a young Punjabi lady I met, asked me if ‘North eastern’ people really eat cockroaches. I could have chosen to get offended and responded angrily, but I chose to keep a straight face and respond with a, “Not really, but I do prefer roasted Punjabis”. Took her a little time to get it, she apologised a little later. We eventually dated and had a rather amazing relationship till she chosechose to get married to a fellow Punjabi.

      There is another more interesting story to illustrate this further, but for the sake of saving space, I hope you got my point. Maybe at times, it is just better to approach a stranger without the perfect reason to, just in case you get to know a person (and not just from a romantic/relationship point of view). Which might include compliments or something as simple as commenting about a book they are reading. And maybe we should make effort teach people how to interact with others in a socially appropriate and acceptable way rather than putting them down for their social mistakes and stumbles they encounter in their trevails. In some cultures, it is generally the norm to focus heavily on the mistakes and the negatives of ‘other people’ OR using punishments as social enforcers – rather than taking the proactive step to help others to create a positive experience all around.

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      • @AI, cheers for the warning and right back at you. ;)

        so basically you’re saying that the TOI commenter could be trying to give these compliments flirtatiously instead of in an ‘I’m going to grope you’ way. That’s what I thought when I read his comment as well.

        My problem with his comment is not that he wants to give women compliments, it’s that he thinks he is entitled to a positive/nice response from them (‘ Indian woman, you need to change and learn to appreciate men if they complement you.’).

        Actually, these women don’t owe him ‘appreciation’ at all. His point is entirely deluded and self serving. No matter where you are in the world, if you try to flirt with someone, you stand a chance of being snubbed. The other person is not obligated to respond. So my advice to this person in order to make this a positive experience would be to get over yourself.

        The only ‘desi’ issue here is that if he tries to flirt with a woman in an actual public place (bus, train, streets), he will almost always be ignored. This is because it’s nearly impossible as a woman in India to separate the ‘I’m interested’ people from the ‘I’m going to grope you’ people in the streets. The latter outnumber the former by a landslide and hence most women are always on the defensive in these public places. It would be great if they didn’t have to be, but sadly it is essential give the current scenario.

        The other cultural stereotyping issues you brought have nothing to do with this. My ‘elders’ have introduced nothing to my life, not friends, not my husband, not my profession, nothing. I meet a lot of new people through my work and am not averse to socialising with strangers in any way. And yet, sometimes a particular stranger makes me uncomfortable and so I choose to walk away. Maybe I misjudge these people in my snap decisions, but I honestly don’t care. I don’t owe it to them to put myself in an uncomfortable situation only because they would like me to. It’s their choice to express interest and mine to respond (or not respond) as I want.

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      • @ carvaka
        He made a plea for courtesy, he didn’t demand a right in a socio-legal fora. THAT would have been entitlement.

        He does have a valid point that desi women have a lower threshold for ‘appreciating men’, as he calls it. This charge deserves an explanation, not a rebuff. And he didn’t even talk about complimenting random strangers in public transport, but women within his family/social circles.

        I brought up the cultural issue, because I wanted to point out that trying to strike up conversations with random strangers (of the opposite sex) in not a sin. Because that seems to be the underlying idea here, something I see Praveen arguing against as well. As for misjuding people, I was talking about not creating exaggerated, word-in-mouth or out-of-context interpretations of what someone says, just for the ‘punching bag’ effect.

        Anyway, to come back to the topic, I made an argument sometime back that some men might pick up some sexist attitudes or behaviour, after having been betrayed/scorned by women few times too many. You argued that it makes no sense to bias an entire gender because of a few personal negative experiences with that gender. Treating every man as a potential groper comes under the same heading, but I wonder if I should brush this off as yet another case where double standards are okay when women do it.

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        • Some women are treated shabbily by some men, some men are treated shabbily by some women – and (although women victims are more likely to be stigmatised if some kinds of abuses become known) each can influence how they treat relationships afterwards, but can these be compared to the very real risk of random male strangers molesting random women in public spaces in India, and then women being blamed for asking fo it?

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      • Atheist Indian, Praveen – Surely you’ve come across the excellent blog post Schrodinger’s Rapist (http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%E2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/).

        If you haven’t, this is an absolute must-read: “When you approach me in public, you are Schrödinger’s Rapist. You may or may not be a man who would commit rape. I won’t know for sure unless you start sexually assaulting me. I can’t see inside your head, and I don’t know your intentions. If you expect me to trust you—to accept you at face value as a nice sort of guy—you are not only failing to respect my reasonable caution, you are being cavalier about my personal safety.”…..

        “To begin with, you must accept that I set my own risk tolerance. When you approach me, I will begin to evaluate the possibility you will do me harm. That possibility is never 0%. For some women, particularly women who have been victims of violent assaults, any level of risk is unacceptable. Those women do not want to be approached, no matter how nice you are or how much you’d like to date them. Okay? That’s their right. Don’t get pissy about it. Women are under no obligation to hear the sales pitch before deciding they are not in the market to buy.”

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        • I read that, ages ago. The only issue I and a lot of people have with the Schrodinger’s Rapist issue is the creation of emotional ‘rights’. For instance, not being approached by strangers is a courtesy, not a right.

          As for the general gist of essay, it makes sense. When women are alone, it is best to avoid approaching them, since people can’t always discern rapists from normal people SO it pays to be a little hypervigilant. It is the same way that I recommend men to surreptitiously videotape their sexual encounters in some specific circumstances, in case the event turns out to be a case of false rape charge.

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        • You’re encouraging men to ” surreptitiously videotape their sexual encounters “?? Ugh, ugh, ughhhh…!!! This is not just illegal in most countries/states but also profoundly disturbing and immoral. What about the rights of the other person(s) involved in the encounter? Their right to privacy and to know when they’re being videotaped in such a vulnerable situation? This is what creates tons of situations like the DPS MMS scandal etc. It has huge potential for misuse, for blackmail, etc. Plus, as legal advice that’s utter crap. “Fruit of the poisonous tree” exclusions apply, and such a videotape would be inadmissible in court unless you can prove it was consented to by all parties.
          Ugh again. This is worse than up-skirt pictures by subway perverts.

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        • ““Fruit of the poisonous tree” exclusions apply, and such a videotape would be inadmissible in court unless you can prove it was consented to by all parties.”
          It is inadmissible as legal evidence, but enough to convince a jury or in India, sway the opinion in favour of the accused. And yes, I do recommend men to videotape their sexual counters, especially if it a scenario where a false rape accusation is more likely.

          As for you finding it ugghy or perverted, thats not the issue here. Even if the privacy laws were violated, it is still a smaller offence than being charge for rape. Lesser of the two evils, I say.

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        • *charged for rape.

          And just to clear up a few of the loose ends. There would not be a violation of privacy if there are two (or more) people involved, since there is no reasonable grounds to expect you are alone and thus, not entitled to privacy. Second, there are no privacy laws in India. Third, if one keeps the videos for personal safety purposes and doesn’t release them to the public, they cannot be charged with any offences related to outraging the modesty of women in India. Fourth, as I said, if a video is provided to the court as an evidence of consent, it has a high change of ruling public and jury opinion in the accused’s favour as it happened a number of times in other countries.

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        • Secretly videotape sexual encounters??? I understand the intent behind your suggestion, but I think we are encroaching on pervert territory here…So, if I understand you correctly, in case a woman is lucky enough to have sex without getting raped, she needs to be resigned to having her privacy violated with videotapes of her sexual encounters that can potentially be circulated to any number of people depending upon the whim of the person making the videotape?

          I’m curious….do you really think accusations of false rape are so prevalent in order to warrant such a drastic step?

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        • “I’m curious….do you really think accusations of false rape are so prevalent in order to warrant such a drastic step?”
          Yes, I do. Even a 0.1% prevalance of false rape accusations is enough to warrant any man in a potential FRA scenario to protect himself from a potential incarceration. However, the real prevalence of false rape accusations or threats is much higher, although can’t be statistically proved in India (since the police has a tendency to label many actual rapes as false accusations). In the US, it is anywhere between 2% and 42% depending on the state, according to FBI database. MRAs who want to overinflate the prevalence of false rapes focus on the higher rates. Feminists who want to underplay the threat focus on the 2% rate.
           
          “…in case a woman is lucky enough to have sex without getting raped…”
          Thats not an argument. Just because a man is lucky enough to have [consensual] sex doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the right to protect himself from potential incrimination. One that would arise from a false rape allegation.

          “…that can potentially be circulated to any number of people depending upon the whim of the person making the videotape? ”
          There are laws which can be enforced to protect people from such situations. I am strongly against sharing videotapes of sexual activity, unless it is consensual and the partners involved are willing.

          “…we are encroaching on pervert territory here..”
          Pervert: to turn away from what is right, proper, or good; corrupt. A lot of people consider premarital sex or even the idea of women as sexual beings, a perversion. So really, this doesn’t say much.

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  3. I don’t think any new directive by the SC will change things, unless the police is willing to register the cases. In the greater scheme of fighting crime, the police considers molestation and sexual harassment as ‘small fry’ and are reluctant to register these cases, as it alters the crime statistics. There is also political pressure involved, to make an area look as crime free as possible.

    This of course, is the first hurdle. The next is conviction. Which again, is troublesome since molestation or even rape is at times, difficult to prove in the court of law. It almost always ends up in a ‘he said, she said’ game of reputation and credibility of the claims. It is one of the tragedies of the Westminster judicial system, especially in cases of rape, where a crime which is singularly one of the most evil, is also the most difficult to secure a conviction.

    Why are such crimes so common in some parts of India and pretty much non-existent in others? Perhaps thats the question we should be asking, if we want to find a possible solution (no matter how remote).

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    • I think your last para brings up an important issue. Our ministers and panchayats have consistently found an easy way out by blaming vulnerable victims and restricting their freedom. The SC is now trying to provide protection by laws. But actually, the only way to ‘really’ address violence against women (or any group) is to look at why it happens.

      As far as street sexual harassment goes, until we treat women as second class citizens in our homes, they will remain second class citizens outside the home as well. Women will remain a peg lower than men until they don’t have the power to make decisions for their own lives (whom to marry, where to work, what to wear, right to education, the choice to care for their parents post marriage, etc.). The description of women in Manusmriti as cattle that need a man’s leadership still fits how a lot on Indians see women. This creates an environment where the superior (men) can abuse the inferior and get away with it.

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    • While I appreciate the directive and see it as a step in the right direction, I am quite cynical about its implementation. I think atheist Indian have raised an important point. Also what about the fact that a lot people who want to complain are silenced by the people around. I remember once I was butt slapped by a guy right in front of a police station and when I started making noise about it the people around my me, including my friends and the police officer present outside the station told me to let it go.

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  4. I think it’s great that the SC is issuing directives. It’s a step in the right direction.

    What is really needed is for authority figures (like the SC, National Commission of Women, policing bodies etc) to pull up people who abuse or ignore such laws. Authorities need to set an example in society that says blaming the victim, condoning the offenders and pushing women back into their houses is not acceptable. In a feudalistic type country, such a social change could potential trickle down from top to bottom (here’s hoping).

    We need some authority to question the policemen who say ‘these girls turn men on, what will the poor men do if not rape them’, or the colleges that bans jeans to stop eve-teasing, or the villages that ban women from having mobile phone to stop ‘love affairs’ and ‘rapes’ (not sure they know the difference). I hope to see this happen while I live.

    We need to check the free reign of the police force, politicians and panchayat depriving women of their basic constitutional right, otherwise granting them more rights/laws won’t help.

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  5. Response is always the key to resolving harassment issues.

    We have lots of laws, but what’s lacking is an effective enforcement mechanism. Deterring a harasser involves more than just printing out a law in an official Gazette – potential perpetrators must be scared of getting caught, and in order for a substantial number of them to have that fear, visible and effective enforcement is essential.

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  6. For harassement to end. we need to have many th ings in place.
    1. This forst step is good and a great start.
    2. have more law enforcement presence ( we are a shame based culture) and the thought of getting caught and shamed is a bigger deterrent than their own conscience.!!!
    3. Parents need to work witht heir kids too. educate them
    4. don’t treat your sons like precious diamonds and DO NOT hold back your daughters inthe name of protection.
    5. everyone needs to react is you see a harasser stop the harassement.

    and god knows how much more measures we need. i’m not a legal/enforcement expert but the mindset has to change. we need to treat women/girls on par and boys need ot think of them as equal with equal rights..

    I have this tendency to poke my nose and lecture when i see harassement. so whenever i used o walk down our street and if i saw a group of boys ( they never work alone it seems) whistling or somesuch i make it a point to stop and go ask them about their behavior , usually i’m called nosy and asked to mind my own business. but i have noticed whenever i’m around the knows devils will behave. :-)

    once i saw one of these romeo’s with his mom and i made it a point to stop and say hello to her !!! oh it was hilarious seeing him sweat. never saw him in that area though, i’m sure he’s continuing his business of harassing girls somewhere else, it takes a long time to change such behavior.

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  7. I just wanted to add that people who think that street harassment like cat-calling, cow-calling, flashing, lewd comments like hey bitch come fuck me, or cunt smile for me, groping and grabbing etc aren’t common in western countries are mistaken. Such behaviors may be less prevalent in certain geographical areas but they are present nonetheless. D-bags are present all over the world and we (both men and women) should try to raise awareness about this problem and work together to create community based solutions.

    Hollaback puts it aptly for those who need guidance:
    “if a man approaches a woman in public politely, strikes up a conversation with her, receives a clear rejection and respects her wishes, that’s not harassment. Street harassment happens when words and actions are obviously unwanted and non-consensual. It’s forceful. It’s dehumanizing. It’s propelled by a sense of entitlement and profound disrespect for others. Perpetrators don’t want to give compliments or forge mutually beneficial connections; they want to intimidate and bully others. They resort to insults, stalking, threats or acts of violence when told to leave.
    If you’re hoping to get your flirt on, there’s many different ways to do so without coming off as a creep! Comments on a shared experiences (“this coffee is the bomb”), conspicuous books (“I haven’t read that yet, is it any good?”), cute accessories (“that watch is sweet”), or current events are all things that make us swoon.
    But here’s a word to the wise, nice guy: you may not have created this world of street harassment, but you’re living in it. And the object of your affection has been socialized in it. So if your flirting is met with resistance, hesitation, or downright rudeness, don’t take it personally.”

    “Rather than deliberating the gray areas of street harassment, treat everyone you encounter with respect.”

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