Speak Up When It Comes To Street Harassment!

Published on 13 Jun 2016 . 3 min read

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Street harassment limits my right to public spaces and I am not ok with living a restrictive life. I do not want to cover my chest by holding a bag in front of me and walking on a crowded street. No one should try to randomly touch me while I am in the bus. If a man calls me names, I want to retaliate and not be scared.

During any form of street harassment, the harasser encroaches the personal boundary of the woman and forces her to be apprehensive and doubtful about every stranger. There are surprisingly high numbers of people who do not see the distinction between a compliment and a catcall, this will only get worse if we remain silent about such issues.

I asked women on Twitter to talk about their most uncomfortable experience with catcalls. Their anger is a sign that we never forget such derogatory behaviour, this makes the problem even more deep and brutal.

#StreetHarassment is NOT OK @ Twitter chat

“He touched me on my way back from school.. #StreetHarassment is disgusting”

“Sexy!!!! is not a compliment #StreetHarassmet makes me ANGRY”

“If I could.. I would beat the entire gang, they might do the same to my sister”

“Whistling, calling names in public transport..When will #StreetHarassment Stop??? Are we their property?”

“I wanted to retaliate but I was scared, he was stronger than me”

Catcalls are negative, it makes the woman uncomfortable and objectified. It happens to us on a daily basis, in the train, on the streets, gardens, shopping malls. A woman has to ‘Always Be Alert’, doesn't matter what's her age or background.

It is important for us to be aware and beware, no individual has the right to make you feel objectified. A lot of street harassment is targeted towards young girls because they are more vulnerable and make for an easy target. The first step would be to encourage girls to always talk about any such incidences, in most cases the culprit will back off if confronted. If it gets worse, immediately report the incident to the police. I know it is extremely unpleasant but there are some fights which are yours and you have no option other than standing up for yourself.

Every individual has the right to enjoy public spaces, I tried a small experiment by accumulating a few friends and gathering opposite a busy junction, prone to eve teasing and catcalls. Everyone was inquisitive about the reason for so many women to come out and stand like a tough wall. Every city has notorious pockets which are famous for gangs or groups of people who seem intimidating without any reason, we were facing them fiercely and point blank with unity. Why cant women enjoy a public space without being questioned or targeted’. We were making everyone around us uncomfortable thus proving my point, India needs women to stand for their daily rights.

The way a society treats their women is an indicator of their progressive mind set, we need to fight this together and stand strong.

Pooja Kochar
Pooja Kochar is the founder of 30ish and PhotoblogHER, she is a blogger, photographer and positive body image activist. After spending almost a decade working with India’s IT giant she decided to bet on herself and embrace entrepreneurship.

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