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Few nights ago, I was walking aroudn thamel with a friend. I was having an amazing night, until a group of men standing outside a bar started cat calling us. They said things like: aha kati ramri nani haru.” “kata gayirah?” “yaha ayera basa na hauu” . We both got really scared, and we trying to pass them without saying anything at all. I wish lot of these men would say something neutral like hello and let things go rather than saying shitty things to us. I was really angry for the rest of night, and couldn’t enjoy my night off. Thanks bastards.
On my way into town, every so often I would always feel some pressure on my waist while riding a micro. I used to look down every time, but nothing was there so I always ignored it. One other day, I was in the same micro. I sat down, and there was a man next to me. He had his hand on my waist and was squeezing me. I turned around and he stared at me straight in the eyes. I screamed and yelled at him saying: k garya? uta gayera basnu. He kept saying sorry and moved. However, he looked very surprised as he moved.
I was shocked at what had happened that day and at my reaction to it. Looking back, I am glad that I stood up. However, I am surprised that no one in the micro did any thing. I’m still so angry.
Women are terrorized daily in public spaces. Our personal space is constantly violated by men who talk to us in vulgar and insulting language, block our path and stand too close to us in public transportation. Women cannot use public transportation, walk city streets, or go to school without being scared. Women are subject to the threat of street harassment everyday, and it is rapidly increasing. Due to street harassment, women are limited to work, get an education, or simply enjoy their own life. An artist named Tatyana Fazlalizadeh started an art project in the fall of 2010. Her art series focuses on street harassment and is in an ongoing art project that has drawn global attention.
Her project “Stop Telling Women to Smile,” includes posters that portrays women sentiments towards street harassment. Her initial goal for starting this art project was to find out how women experience street harassment differently depending on where they live. According to her, street harassment , ” leaves women feeling vulnerable and unsafe in their communities, as if their sole purpose in leaving the house each day is to entertain men. It makes women think twice about what they wear, the routes they take, even their body language” ( CNN). She wanted this art project to help end street harassment. She has several pieces in this art project. One piece tells viewers, “You can keep your thoughts on my body to yourself”; another reads “Women don’t owe you anything.” This art series has been going around all over the world, and lot of activists are wheat pasting her art work in the walls.
If you are male, and don’t know anything about street harassment or don’t know what to do. Here are few ways to make a difference and become a male ally.
Here is a short video “Shit Men Say to Men Who Say Shit to Women on the Streets” that shows how men can stop street harassment and intervene safely.
It was my personal experience of encountering street harassment.It was the time when I was in standard eight and I did not know what it is,either an assault or street harassment.
The day when my friends made a plan for morning walk or just for a simple get-together,we planned to meet at Mangalbazar. Everything went okay as we planned but something went such that I do not want to remember.I was with my two friends- Sadichhya and Angel.We had fun walking around and gossiping and visiting temples. When we reached Tangal area, Sadichhya and I went inside the temple to worship. As I was praying, a boy older than me knowingly brought his hand towards my waist and grabbed me and left.
I was left alone with my awkward feeling that girls all around the world feel whenever they are sexually harassed. I felt unsafe and guilty.
It is not my personal experience, but I saw it happening in the streets. A college girl was walking beside me. It was during winter time, and she was wearing a shirt and skirt with tights. As we both were walking side by side, I heard her screaming. When I turned my face to look, I saw a beggar who seemed mentally disturbed, grabbed the girl’s breasts and ran away.I was clueless and did not know what to do. I wasn’t able to punish the beggar because he ran away as soon as this incident occurred. The girl was standing alone helplessly. When I think about it, I feel guilty for not being able to help that girl and I feel bad that she had to go through this experience.
Walking on the small lane near the restaurant Grill Me at 5:30 in the evening, I was slapped by a man driving by on his motorcycle. It happened so fast that and it took me by surprise. The man had already passed me when I realized what he had done.