We were at the local festival – outskirts of Alacati, Turkey, The sun just set, we went to the taxi stand to go back to the town only to find it empty. We waited for a while but there was no sign of a taxi or a bus. It was getting dark and we started to walk. A middle-aged man stopped and asked us where we are heading to and if we need a lift. I and my girlfriend hesitantly hopped in as there was no other option. It was a 20 min journey and all the while one my hand was inside the bag holding the peeper spray tight. He safely dropped us at the market and told he liked people who travel as he wished he travelled while he was our age. He was a kind man, but can we as woman afford, not to suspect him???
In Goa, when I decided to sit down at the beach in the night to get some peace, a group of guys also settle down about 100 meters away from me with their beer bottles. I immediately go back to my room, be happy to get a peep of the beach from my glass door. They might be nice, educated guys who wouldn’t bother me. But can I afford to be optimistic and stay there ??
I was walking back to my homestay in Naples after watching a football game at a nearby cafe. Earlier that morning two guys followed me to catcall near the square whom I ignored. The same two guys are now behind me, I increased my pace…I saw a group of people a little ahead and I wanted to reach there as fast as I can but suddenly fell down…(damn these cobblestone roads)…The two guys from the behind came running to me, asked if I was okay, helped to get up and offered a bottle of water. No, they were not the same guys from the square. But it’s not my fault to assume they might be the same guys, because we were taught to be careful always.
This feeling of being threatened can never slip out of our minds. It’s in our DNA. We cannot and will never take a break from protecting ourselves from Men. But unfortunately, despite all the care we take, sexual harassment, rapes and murders still happen.
If you are reading this post you are already a person who is educated, sophisticated and respect women but, woman around you – your sisters, best friends, cousins, mothers get sexually harassed more frequently than you know. We just don’t tell you each and every incident because you love us and care about us so much, that some of you might say don’t go alone, stop taking that evening dance class, it’s not necessary to go on that girl’s trip or in some families it can even go to extreme situation where girls are asked to quit their jobs or education.
So saying ”all men are not the same” doesn’t help much, instead accept that there are a lot of guys are the same and even the guys around you might not have a right thought process about a woman.
Start encouraging woman around you to speak up to you. Educate yourself, try raising awareness within your close circle first! Talk to that Auto guy you travel with, have a friendly chat with the tea shop Chotu and understand his perspectives, Speak up to that friendly relative who advises you to keep a close tab of your outgoing sister! and to every guy who says ”it is her fault”!
I won’t say its effortless, I know breaking eyes with other people on sensitive topics like this is not as easy as it sounds. but all am saying is it’s worth starting somewhere than ranting over social media.
This will go a long way. Thank you in advance!
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