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Eve teasing in contemporary social perspective

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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
Vulgar dress
Political exploitation
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,
Gopalganj, Bangladesh)

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