Zero tolerance for teasing

Zero tolerance for teasing

Zero tolerance for teasing

Recently, two boys on a motorcycle allegedly eve-teased a couple of girls in the City. A friend who was with them promptly whipped out his cellphone, snapped a picture of the two — complete with the number plate of the bike — and posted it on the Bangalore City Police’s Facebook page.

The picture quickly went viral on the social-networking site, spurring the police force to take immediate action. They soon traced the licence plate number to an area in Wilson Garden and a little later, apprehended the eve-teasers.

This is a far cry from the attitude of apathy that cases of eve-teasing were once rewarded with. Before the safety of the fairer sex became a hotly discussed issue a few months ago, majority of the City’s population treated eve-teasing with a combination of mild contempt and weary resignation.

“It isn’t that people approved of eve-teasing — it was far from that,” says Garima, a professional.

“But most of the time, it was considered something that girls just had to learn to deal with. Generally, girls were instructed to simply turn a blind eye if someone teased them and leave the area as soon as possible,” adds Garima.But in recent months, it seems that the outrage against the Delhi gang-rape case and other similar incidents has trickled down to the streets of Bangalore as well — even for cases of mild eve-teasing.

Pratul, a software engineer, points out, “Earlier, people assumed that nothing could be done to stop eve-teasing. Now, though, citizens are becoming more pro-active. On one hand, I think the popularity of social media has led to that. These days, these forums give complaints a lot of visibility, which prompts the authorities to take action.”
On the other hand, he also feels that the quick action of the police force — especially in the recent case — ought to be lauded. “If the citizens are more proactive, it’s because they have faith in the support of the police,” he adds.

Bindu Sastry, a professional, agrees that social-networking sites have allowed these issues to get the attention they deserve.

“Awareness has increased, especially after the gang-rape in Delhi last year. People know they need not keep their mouth shut about such behaviour. The fact that the City police are also so active on the internet is something that reassures the public,” she states.

Interestingly, she points out that many girls have stopped shying away from reporting such cases.

“The mindset is changing. Earlier, girls did feel an element of guilt — they might be told that they were seeking attention by dressing in a particular way, which is why they were teased. That’s nonsense, of course, and people are realising that now, especially the younger generation,” says Bindu.

What’s particularly heartening is that it isn’t just the fairer sex which is rebelling against the culture of eve-teasing — many young men have protested against it as well.

Bindu admits to being pleasantly surprised while browsing the City police’s Facebook page to see many men commenting favourably on the force’s prompt action and urging stricter punishment for such offenders.

Gaurav Gupta, an engineer, says, “Why should the men stand by while their friends are being teased?
Eve-teasers and those who disrespect women aren’t the majority — in fact, the protests against the Delhi gang-rape incident that were held in the City were heavily attended by men. Eve-teasing might pale in comparison to crimes like rape but I don’t think it should be treated lightly — we have to tacklethe issue right at the grassroot level.”

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