“How to react when you know somebody is staring at you? I am not sure if I should slap him…”

Sharing an email. 

Hey IHM,

I have one very basic doubt –
How to react when you know that somebody is staring at you? And now that person could be anybody (from some mawali on road to maybe your colleague). So if he is a colleague or somebody whom i know I am not sure if I should slap him or go and shout at him. Please advice.

Ya.. if you could share it that would be good.. As I will get to know what others do in these type of situation because I think almost every women must be going through this!!

And I am not sure if I want to ignore something like this in work place. There must be a way of handling a situation like this without being labeled as weird / without being ignored by everyone (as I am the only gal in my dept).
Related Posts:

Allahabad girl Aarti Yadav beats harasser, sets bike on fire

Martial Arts for women to fight back rapes?

If you were this woman would you want to know what your juniors thought of your personal life?

Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Bill

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

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

Yet another rape that was not about lust but about aggression, revenge and putting the victim in her place.

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

How Indian women feel when they are being subjected to sexual crimes. How Patriarchy sees sexual crimes.

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

“The sense of entitlement that’s hard-wired into every male child in an Indian household”

“Such mannequins will excite men and pose a danger to women.”


Martial Arts for women to fight back rapes?

Here’s a question I have been meaning to share.


Prakhyath asked in an interview: For all these rapists, I believe they are using the girl’s lack of physical strength as an advantage. Don’t you think martial arts/gym and being strong will help them? Do you believe in self-defense kit for girls to fight rape?

My response : I should blog about this. While physical fitness would help in any crime or violent situation, I am not sure if it would protect a woman from a gang of, say eight or ten, or even four violent criminals. It seems, in 90% of sexual assault cases, the rapist is not a stranger, so it might help some women in dealing with those acquaintance rape, where there is only physical force being used and not some other form of coercion (like blackmail or verbal threats).

Martial arts require training, practice and general physical fitness, so how much time should women be expected to devote to keeping themselves safe from sexual assaults?

Also not all sexual assault victims are young adults, there are also the disabled and older women and children, not sure who and how much gym and fitness would help.

I am sure, it could give confidence and could ensure that one is able to escape if and when there is a chance to escape. Being able to jump over a wall or fence, being able to run reasonably fast, being able to drive, being able to use a cell phone, knowing emergency numbers etc should also be equally helpful, I think.


Many who suggest martial arts/self defense training for women may or may not approve of Indian girls playing in the sun, wearing anything but (often difficult to run in) traditional clothing, traveling alone for work or classes, jogging or walking alone, participating in sports (Uterus might slip!) or using cellphone, even eating before their husbands and brothers.

Women are rarely encouraged to be, or to look strong.

“Hers is a body that is so different from the usual physical ideal that is shoved down women’s throats — the slim, uniformly “toned” but not muscular, waifish model body… “[Link]

And yet Patriarchy celebrates acts of violence (like a slap or burning of a motor cycle etc) by women who are protecting that which belongs to Patriarchy – their modesty/honor/chastity. And it also assumes all rape victims are young women being assaulted by strange men.

Related Posts:

“In unison, everyone agreed that asking her out was outraging her modesty…”

Although she did  ’take law into her own hands‘, Aarti Yadav, 22, has complete social approval and support.

Is stalking of girls and women illegal in India?

Videos like the one below undermine the seriousness of Sexual Harassment  This video is almost like wishful thinking, a quick, easy solution to a problem nobody seems to take seriously.

‘Calling it ‘eve teasing’ trivializes the act; it isn’t teasing, it’s harassment.

And sexual harassment on the street is a gateway crime that creates a cultural environment which makes gender-based violence OK.’

Young girls in many parts of India are taken out of school once they reach puberty because of Street Sexual Harassment [link-1 , link-2]. Girls are known to commit suicide because of such harassment.

The High Court of Bangladesh declared on 26 January, 2011 stalking of girls and women illegal, and directed the government to consider the offence as sexual harassment instead of the term Eve Teasing. The court’s ruling came amid growing incidences of stalking that led many victims to commit suicide.

Is stalking of girls and women illegal in India?

“There exists a legal framework to reproach sexual harassment and abuse in the home and at work, but when it comes to the streets—all bets are off.

It is ‘culturally accepted as ‘the price you pay’ for being a woman and living in a city.’

The explosion of technology in India via the mobile phone and the Internet has given us an unprecedented opportunity to end street harassment...

Hollaback is a global movement dedicated to ending street harassment. Hollaback Mumbai says,

Share Your Story

If you feel like you have been harassed, we want to hear about it.  Tell us your story. Or send us a drawing, a picture, a poem, a song, a picture of a piece of string that you tied into several knots because you were so frustrated. We are working on SMS capabilities so that you can SMS us when you have been harassed.

Visit www.mumbai.ihollaback.org for more details.

Related Posts:

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work

The night I was not an easy prey

Three Saudi youths were arrested for attempting to sexually assault a teenager…

Teenager escapes rape attempt (in Taif,  Saudi Arabia)

Did you find this news difficult to believe? I did.

Is the victim going to be stoned for attracting the molesters attention?


“The victim told police, after  escaping from the youths, that while walking down the road a car with three men pulled up and invited the victim to join them. When the victim refused to get in, two of the men tried to drag the victim  into the vehicle, but the victim resisted and managed to run away. They had also taken the victim’s mobile phone.

With the help of a Bangladeshi worker, the victim called police and described the car the attackers were driving.

A police patrol detained a car matching the victim’s description when it passed through a checkpoint later in the night.

After being interrogated, the youths admitted to trying to sexually assault the victim. They also confessed that they had sold the victim’s mobile phone for SR300 in a nearby market.

They took the police to the shop where they sold the phone and officers interrogated the shopkeeper.” (News from here with minor changes, to make a point…)

Can you guess why this victim is not going to be blamed for this (attempted) crime?

‘Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!’ is on facebook.

As recommended by Allytude in a comment on,

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

Facebook group created. 🙂

Say No To Victim Blaming

Add your tips and links to any blog posts that deal with Sexual Harassment or Sexual Crimes against women, the right way.

Please click below to join:

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

Provocatively Dressed

To Moral Brigade(s) and their Supporters,
We should know that frivolous terms like Provocative Dressing might make a sexual assaulter feel that the responsibility of preventing sexual assaults lies with the victim.

Violent men are helpless victims of provocation?
Saying women must not dress provocatively makes us sound like Taliban. (Now we wouldn’t want that?)
We also need to keep in mind that we are talking about adult citizens here, they have the right to vote, they can get a driving license, and they can even own property or start an independent business! And often do and very successfully too. (I understand that can make anybody painfully jealous, it does seem wrong that they should do so well despite the major hurdles their gender faces … but women these days are like that, give them a chance and they fly, reach the sky, and even the moon. Accept it.)

Your over enthusiasm and interest in her clothes might lead some to believe that you are looking at women more than you should be. (Most women consider such unwanted attentions very revolting; they might suspect your morals).
Your insistence on deciding the correct code of dressing here is against the law. (I am assuming most of you offenders and supporters have not been to school, so I am simplifying it for you.) Instead we need to ensure that men are guided very firmly about the acceptable code of their own conduct. They need to get it very clear that tight jeans and noodle straps are poor excuses for criminal acts against other equal (even if they are better qualified, they are only equal) citizens. We need to concentrate on providing a secure academic and emotional foundation to create a nation of women who do not hold themselves responsible for any and every atrocity committed against them. Your own mothers, daughters, sisters and wives also will benefit more from this (much more) than from being taught how to dress.
I know of thousands of women who have not benefited in anyway, when they were compelled to cover themselves from head to toe in traditional attire. Their families, specially their children have suffered because these mothers were often made too weak, by such controls, to stand up for them in all so many ways children need their mothers to….so it seems wearing traditional clothing does not automatically make you a better mother, sister, daughter, citizens, wife, woman etc.
Strong mothers and strong women make a strong nation.You think it is only about drinking in the Pub? The drinking in the Pub is just symbolic
(Just like PCC is). You understand symbols? Like bangles for weakness? Like Duryodhan and Duhshsan for … if only you had some education, it would have been simpler to explain. But let me try …When a nation overlooks an act of violence against it’s citizen only because they are women, they are not creating a very confident generation of women. Let me try and speak your language again, …these women are going to raise the future of this nation… Please let us stop treating them like they have no thinking capacity!

And this is a nation where women are anyway having difficulty even being born. We make it tougher for parents to have daughters, and for those daughters who are born to feel safe, let alone feel free.
Women (and men) need to be able to decide for themselves how they dress, what careers they choose, when and to whom, if at all, they marry or live with without marrying. Because we have hungry families, and unemployed men, and no drinking water, and houses which flood every monsoon.

Tomorrow you might find even a girl’s face, eyes, lips or feet provocative? How are you guys going to survive?

I think we need a stricter code of conduct for men like you here.You will benefit from gentlemanly behaviour and discipline. Women are now everywhere. And we will see them as bosses, better drivers, being able to afford better recreation … (I understand the surge of envy, but you really have to work harder, just being born a male is not really important any longer, at least in their circles…). Many of them come from families where success is more important than marriage and children are. (Yes I am aware that this is all too much to digest, it seems these women come from a different planet, well in a way they do.) Many are happily married with children, oh yes and their husbands are aware that they drink, and talk to men in their office and also outside but no, they don’t drag them by their hair for that … (You ask, ‘Why not?’. Let’s just say, self confidence does that to men. And women too. You won’t understand …)

The world has changed too much while you were worrying about which caste or religion or language or region was being victimised.
But it’s never too late. You just need to understand that they are your equal. No matter how much better they earn, what fancy cars they drive, how much more fun they seem to have, how much better they look … they are only your equals.

As for their clothes, for all you know there is probably a future scientist behind that Rakhi-Sawant-dress-alike.

Related Posts:

1. What women ‘choose’ to wear…

2. Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work.

3. What do ‘modest’ women have that their ‘immodest’ sisters don’t?

4. She does not ‘ask for it’.