Taslim Ahammad :
Eve teasing is emerging as a widespread burning issue throughout the country at present. Eve teasing seemingly euphemism term used to describe street harassment in Bangladesh and other South Asian countries. It is one of the most prevalent and brutal forms of sexual harassment, usually on the streets and public places. It has reached to such an alarming situation that many girls committed suicide in the past years. Many female students are forced to stay at home giving up their studies due to this alarming issue. Parents are marrying off their school and college going daughters in order to avoid this horrible situation.
Eve teasing: Eve teasing denotes to the biblical Eve who, as the story goes, tempted Adam to stray from the path of righteousness. The word eve teasing is usually used when a person usually female is harassed on the streets or public place, making of unwanted sexual remarks or advances by a man.
Eve teasing in Bangladesh: The eve teasers may be school students, college students, university students, jobless young man, rickshaw pullers, street traders, bus drivers, bus conductors, labours, security guards and so on. Moreover, young and adult, rich and poor, educated or uneducated all classes may involve in this heinous act. The victims are also from various classes like factory workers, domestic workers, students and high class professional women. Eve teasing may be centres for poor income group, but richness does not guarantee free from eve teasing in Bangladesh.
Form of Eve teasing: It could take many forms. Eve teasers frequently undergo passing vulgar comments, unnecessary touching, pushing, groping, vulgar suggestions, stalking and shoving in the streets or mostly in public transports. Some more of the typical examples would be a vulgar stare, lewd jokes, a wink, an opportune clap, a sly whistle, a needless collision, an apparent casual touch, a persistent stare, passing uncouth comments, the purring of an evocative song, despicable gestures, bikes soaring close with hands stretched intending to take a feel of the girl's body, passing by in slow moving cars with loud music with an number of boys inside eyeing the girls in order to measure her up. The following are some form, with school going girls, through mobile, directly by internet, at bus stop/bus, in market place and so on.
In all forms, it causes varying levels of discomfort to the victim. A pre-teen or teenager could be traumatised if she is exposed even to the milder forms of eve teasing.
Causes of eve teasing: Eve teasing is a complex social evil deed which is rooted in various immoral social, cultural norms and values. As well as industrialization and modernization, globalization contributed in Bangladeshi society, few of these factors are presented below:
Lack of social awareness, law and enforcement
Absence of family educations
Patriarchal social system and boys’ mental construction
Inappropriate cultural aggression
Illiteracy and unemployment
Lack of religious talk and training on it
Abuse of computer, mobile and other media
Obscene/ indecent cinema, drama and song
Consequences of eve teasing: Eve teasing increases girls' drop-out rate from school or even suicide. Parents concerned about their daughter's honour or safety sometimes keep their daughters home and/or marry them off at an early age. It also obstructs women in participating in the formal employment sector. Eve teasing also contributes to blocking education, child marriage, mental disease, family trouble, killing and oppression. Some more:
Risks on sharing the feeling and information of eve-teasing (the trauma of eve teasing)
The trauma of respondents who could not talk to their family members
The feeling of respondents after being reproached by the family members
Restrictions imposed upon the victims after being teased
Suicidal tendency among the victims
Ways to wipe out of eve teasing: In response to the crisis about the way girl/women are treated, a guideline is given below:
Preach and guard against eve teasing to the mass people (religious/Islamic preach)
Family education about eve teasing
Formation of social responsibility
Giving exemplary and quick punishment to the offender
Arrange fair culture, literature and recreation
Prevent abuse of mobile, internet, computer and media
Criminals must not be given any social, political and economic remedy
The door of indecent /vulgar song, cinema, and bad open sky culture must be closed
All guardians need to inquire their children's behaviours in the streets or outside
Everybody has to come forward and speak up against it for social awareness
Very hard punishment to the guilty eve teasers, instant courts on these purposes
Warn about the unsafe area/street, CCTV camera is good move for that unsafe area/street
Ways to teach our daughter to handle eve-teasing:
Awareness about eve teasing
Teach her to be alert at all times with confidence
Keep emergency speed dial numbers and communication channels open in your phone
Look serious (dress and attitude) and be well behaved
Better to have self-defence skills
Avoid travelling in crowded bus or train
Avoid going in isolated places (privacy)
Aware about the unsafe area/street
Seek refuge in a private space
Aware of people around you
Avoid late nights
Stay in groups
Any sort of harassment targeted to girl/women is an attack against humanity. However, there is no overnight solution to this problem unless or until the mass people are aware of the basic principles of mutual respect and human rights. It is true that religion/Islam can make a happy and peaceful society by eliminating evil deeds like eve teasing. For example, Prophet Muhammad (peace is upon him) made a golden society which was an ignorant and ignorant society earlier. Proper Law should be made to stop this kind of harassment, which harms girls and women. Education must be there for girls and women especially in villages, they must be aware about eve teasing, molestation and harassment.
Government including both judicial and law enforcement, must take some quick serious measures to prevent this menace. Conversely, the enacting laws and introducing policies are not enough alone to minimize this problem. There is need to raise a collective voice against this social evil and ensure spontaneous participation of people in the movement against eve teasing. Such movement also should be supported within the boundary of political commitment and support. Students, teachers, local leaders, social activists, NGOs (Non-Governmental Organization), and of course the government must work together in this connection.
(Taslim Ahammad, Assistant Professor, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University,