Every day we come across instances of harassment and abuse around us in various forms ranging from whistling, groping, calling names, abuse,
aggressive behavior to undesirable sexual advances, forced touch, public humiliation with the highest level being kidnapping, rapes, and unnatural intercourse. All this is happening around us all the time. On the streets, in offices, in homes, by strangers, by colleagues, by someone you know well.
It starts with the mindsets that promote the objectification of women where men are unafraid of passing vulgar comments, staring, weird gestures which start as early as the age of 13 onwards. From little girls in schools to grannies in old age homes, no one is spared from this torture. It is high time that this scenario changes and women become stronger and empowered to fight against oppression, insults, and exploitation. But how?
What can a girl taking the bus to her office at 9:00 am do when a man gropes her behind? Or what can the newly married bride do when another man in her family corners her in the dark and forces a not-so-friendly embrace on her? When is the right time to stop these sexual advances from turning into rape? The truth is that the right time never comes and an action needs to be taken right there and then. Don’t be afraid of twisting an arm or breaking a nose, don’t be afraid of dialing the police helpline and sharing this with your families, colleagues, teachers, don’t be afraid of confronting the harasser when they cross the lines. Keeping non-lethal defense weapons like a pepper spray is a good way of temporarily blinding the molester (be careful and try to cover your face first). Be confident while traveling to a new place or using public transport at odd hours. If alone at night, call someone trustworthy to pick you up or try staying at a friend’s place. Learning basic self-defense techniques and staying updates with police helpline numbers, safety apps and anti-harassment laws is also helpful. Know your rights and know how to spot misbehavior at the right time so that you can ensure your safety and of those around us. We need to make use of every available resource around us to ensure our own safety and wellbeing because people are quick to blame women for mishaps but are afraid to take responsibility for their safety. The 21st century is a time where women are set to rule the world, so do not let anything negative like harassment hold you back.