It's a tough stand against harassment

It's a tough stand against harassment

fighting on

It's a tough stand against harassment

girl power A participant holding a placard during the Besharmi Morcha.

This comment has since sparked off a wave of protests that have taken several cities around the globe by storm. SlutWalk is a movement, which is based on the premise that no woman, no matter how she is dressed or behaves, ever deserves to be sexually harassed or raped.

After finding wide support in cities like Toronto and Chicago, Besharmi Morcha, India’s first SlutWalk was held in Delhi a few months back. And now, it’s Bangalore’s turn; Gejje Hejje, the City’s version of this protest is scheduled to be held on December 4 in the Chinnaswamy Stadium area. Metrolife speaks to a few Bangaloreans to find out their view on SlutWalk, and whether they feel it’s relevant in the City.

Navya, a design student, says that she agrees with the basic premise of SlutWalk. “In many parts of the country, there’s a perception wherein men blame women for being victimised. I think that it’s time that girls came out and protested against that,” she says.

However, she adds that she is doubtful as to how relevant the movement will be in Bangalore. “I think Bangalore is a relatively safe city. People are out even at 11 pm, but there aren’t many reported cases of sexual assault. And while it’s true that people may pass comments at a girl who is dressed in a particular way, it doesn’t always turn into physical harassment,” she elaborates.

Dhillan, one of SlutWalk Bangalore’s organisers, is however of the opinion that the movement is extremely relevant in this City.

“Figures show that Bangalore isn’t as bad as other cities, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need a clean-up or change in mentality,” he says, adding, “women here still get groped, felt-up and letched at. And if they go to a police station to complain, they have to face all manners of cultural battles. There is still a perception that if a woman dresses in a certain way or has a boyfriend, she is of loose character and deserves trouble. If someone feels that SlutWalk isn’t relevant to Bangalore, I’d like to ask them: do they really think Bangalore’s streets are completely safe for a woman in any costume at any point of time?”

Juhi, a business management student, also believes that eve-teasing and sexual harassment take place on a daily basis in the City. “It’s quite common. My college area is quite deserted, and we girls have to be careful about walking there alone the at any time past eight at night — we always have to call our guy friends to pick us up,” she says. “I think it’s good that a movement like this is coming to Bangalore. Eve-teasing is a serious problem, and it doesn’t matter what one is wearing,” she adds.