Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Sexual harassment

This posting stems out of Ranjit's December 9 posting on eve-teasing, sexual harassment and other perverted deviant behaviours. Giving links to some victims' traumatising experiences, he says, "Such men (who indulge in sexual harassment) deserve to be castrated - without anaesthesia, and with a numb saw - slowly, with the intent to inflict maximum damage."
He says girls should react more and more rather than succumb meekly; and "most of all, we - the men who condemn so easily - ought to express our outrage more publicly".
During my college days in Kerala, guys who travelled by the government road transport's (KSRTC's) crowded "college buses" used to brag about how they got to disgusting proximity to girls' upper torso, and rubbed their excited members on girls' bodies.  (Unlike private buses, women are at the rear of the government buses near the door. So, at peak hours men and women get huddled together.) And, scared girls never did anything, leave alone scream, which was conveniently misunderstood as compliance.
Screaming by victims, raising voice, beating up the guy or even castrating him are immediate solutions in the short term. To carry on from where Ranjit has left, I think we need to look beyond and see why guys do this. Remember all guys don't indulge in this disgustingly perverted act.
Some who indulge are absolute criminals and they need to be treated as such, and they require very little consideration. But a large majority who do it are otherwise decent guys. And, it is with these guys we have to make a distinction, and seek the rationale behind their actions.
From what I have learnt, such assaults are acute behavioural problems stemming out of bad childhood, poor upbringing, wrong ideas imbibed during early and mid-adolescence etc. Often the culprits are their own parents or other immediate peer influences. When adequate emotional care isn't given to children when they really need it, the deficiency surfaces later in life in ways like such deviant behaviour. Such sexual behaviour is only one among many other relationship problems that surface in early youth and mid-life.
As I said earlier, screaming or jailing the deviant guy is only a short-term solution. Other such deviant guys who hear about this are -- yes -- deterred in one way, but worse, they are totally confused as to what they should do. (Like that guy in the train -- who groped the girl who was sleeping in the lower berth -- said: 'I couldn't control myself.' The point to be looked into is if other guys could control, why couldn't he?)
Like the emancipation of the suppressed sections of society (women included), the solution is a long-term one. One is to send the guys to counselling centres, try to get at the root of their deviant tendencies,  and resolve it. Better still is to prevent boys from growing up into such guys. And, much of the onus lies on none other than parents. Many parents make the mistake of taking the boys for granted. "O, he is a boy.." sort of attitude. They need as much care and love as girls are given.
Respect and appreciation from elders within the house is a rarity for children. Parents go to great lengths to praise their children in front of others; but not privately in order to boost the child's very self-confidence. Some boys (and even girls) are sharply cut off when they talk about girls/boys or even about sex. Instead they must be at least heard patiently; if not commented upon in a sensible manner.
Finding out reasons for deviant behaviour is not in anyway condoning the act. Crime has to be punished; but punishment is only that, and not a solution for the problem. Instead of stopping at punishment, some effort should be made to address the root cause. Or else, the problem will never go away, and we will just end up screaming and screaming; and jailing and jailing.


  1. I do not agree with the punishment - Castration without anestasia and with a numb saw - coz it would b barbaric, unbecoming of a civilized society.

    But I do agree with the fact that girls should show some more courage. Shout at people in public, and if possible slap them!!! This will definitely deter a no: of people from doing what they are doing.

    Remaining mute also gives a wrong message to the wrongdoer - he may think that the victim approves of his actions!!!

  2. I read your blog...but what I can say is this that being a girl myself it's easier said than done....lots of time it even happens that you have to get humiliated for talking out loud...these kind of people will keep on living no matter what we do....I sometimes feel so helpless but can anyone have any solution to this???? i dont think so...if you do....please let me know!