'There is no respect for women'

HARROWING EXPERIENCES

'There is no respect for women'

REALITY BITES Sex workers at Kempegowda Bus Stop and (below) on the bridge inside the bus stop. DH photos by Manjunath M S

Women are not safe in the City and men have no respect for the womenfolk. That’s the common perception one comes across in Bangalore. Apart from incidents of eve teasing, women in the City face a lot of humiliation at bus stands during the evenings as they are approached by men for sexual favours.

A large number of sex workers operate from the bus stops and men in the City use that as an excuse to approach any woman they see in the vicinity.

 Lewd remarks like barthiya or ‘how much’ are made thereby making the wait at the bus stops a harrowing affair for most women.

This phenomenon is not restricted just to the bus stops, but to most areas in the City where a woman is standing alone either waiting for a bus or an auto in the evenings.
Drivers deliberately slow their cars implying a ‘pick up’.

Deepthi B M, a postgraduate student, who takes the bus from the Majestic Bus Stop says, “The bus stand is really unsafe for women after eight in the night. Sex workers are seen walking around everywhere at that time and men approach them and regular women likewise. It is common for someone to just brush past you or wink at you weirdly.”

Radhika, an IT professional says that she has heard the question ‘how much’ just too many times at Majestic.

 “My cousin and I travel together now. Since I am with a guy, I am not approached anymore but the authorities must take steps to notch up security there and deploy lady policemen. The bridge in Majestic is a really scary place to venture out at night as most men look at you in a demeaning manner.”

South Bangalore is also equally notorious. Gautami P Ashok, while waiting for an auto near a petrol bunk in Basavanagudi, was approached by three men in an Esteem car. “They kept hovering around for ten minutes and kept throwing dirty glances at me. It was only around 7 or 7.30 in the evening. I don’t think sex workers being in the same vicinity has anything to do with it. As much as we would like to deny it, our society is still patriarchal in nature and women are the weaker of the two sexes physically. Until and unless men learn to respect women, we will always be unsafe in the City,” she adds.

Ekta and Kaushika, graduates, say that they had similar experiences sometime ago on St Mark’s Road. “It was around 7.30 pm and we were three of us. We were walking down after a school function and were approached by two to three guys who kept asking ‘how much’ and kept on laughing. They would also pout and make kissing noises. It was really uncalled for and we were really scared.”

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