Inspired by this hashtag on Twitter: Lots of women and men have tweeted about how all women everyday fear sexism, discrimination, harassment, assault, rape, and other crimes.
I’m a man, but I feel I can relate a little bit to the fear women face. I’ve been mugged several times, I’ve been blamed for it because of not being aware of my surroundings, and I still regularly get afraid of being mugged again, which seems similar to women fearing that they will be raped/harassed/abused/stalked, and if it happens to them being blamed for it. So, to an extent, I can empathize with that sort of fear and experience, though of course being mugged is less bad than the violence women fear. Also, I am black and gay, and therefore, I live in fear of various forms of racism and homophobia, and because of that, I can also empathize with a fear of discrimination and violence due to being part of a subjugated group.
Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:
Yes, I am.
And I am not ashamed/reluctant to admit it either…and that is one of the most shameful aspects of the world we’re living in right now.
When I made this statement sometime earlier, I was told by a few rather indignant men that I shouldn’t be classifying all men under one umbrella and that there are a whole lot of gentlemen out there. They said that it would be unfair to them and the levels of decency they dutifully maintain if I were to bluntly say that ‘I am afraid of men’.
I still maintain my stand. Gone are the days when a potentially abusive man could be identified just by observing his body language.
They’d be seen lurking in dark alleyways and in relatively deserted areas of town waiting for a lonely prey to come their way. But look at the cases of abuse these days. People you work with, people you would have gone to school or college with, people who live next door to you, people you don’t have an iota of suspicion about turn out to be predators.
Nobody knows what lies behind the masks people put on everyday. A person you consider as your friend or as a brother might be harboring dangerous feelings for you. You would never know. Haven’t we all perfected the art of presenting the best sides of ourselves on social media? It’s not that difficult to do it in real life as well. People are very well capable of hiding their ugly sides in real life just as they do in their virtual lives.
Back in the days, if a man were to ‘cross his limits’, a woman could place a tight slap across his face and that usually worked as a permanent solution.
But now, if a woman slaps a man who is incessantly bothering her, he might just take out a gun and shoot her. Now I have been asked why it was considered okay for a woman to slap a man and if a man slapped a woman, it amounted to sexual harassment. Although I have no scientifically or legally approved reason for this, my assumption is that the difference lies in the physical impact of the hit. An average woman’s physical strength is only a percentage of an average man’s physical strength. When a woman furiously slaps a man, it is often physically painless for the man. The hurt is caused by the insult factor. But when a man slaps a woman with the same fury, she may just end up losing a couple of teeth and maybe even a bloody nose.
Physical assault resulting in physical injury is way more serious than physical assault resulting in mental agony. And trust me I know men who look like perfect gentlemen to the outside world and turn into monsters behind the doors of their home.
Nowadays, it has become commonplace for people to refuse to accept ‘NO’ as a perfectly acceptable answer.
If a man takes a fancy to a woman, she is automatically expected to reciprocate his feelings, thanks to the Indian cinema industry that endorses this. And if she doesn’t, then she will be taught a lesson and it will be seen to that she will not belong to any other man other than the one who wooed her in the first place(For e.g.,)
I hope and pray everyday that no man who sees me should ever feel obsessively attracted to me. I consciously avoid getting into any tiffs with men as I have no idea how they would exact revenge if they should fail in front of me, failure of any kind being another one of the things that the present generation cannot handle properly. My life is very precious to me and I do like to live for a while longer.
There are lots of organizations these days that advocate woman power and women’s liberation and equality of the sexes and whatnot. They could say whatever they please. In the event of a mishap to a girl who acted believing the words of the organizations, who truly stands to lose? The victim…and her family.
The organizations might hold yet another candlelight vigil or march to the President’s office shouting slogans. But can they give back what the girl lost? No.
Our safety is our responsibility. It’s futile to think that society will come to your rescue. It won’t. All you will get will be a cocktail of sympathy and blame, and a lifetime of hearing whispering behind your back. Period.
I am only an ordinary woman. I have no formal training in martial arts, nor do I have the physical strength to overpower a full grown man. It is, hence, only normal that I fear for my safety…ALL…THE…TIME.