#Personal Stories

Teri Babhi Hai: How Men Stalk Women And Exercise Ownership On Them

dating life of women, men stalk women
Stalking and eve teasing are common street affairs, although we just wish it wasn’t the case. You’re walking down a street, probably in your neighborhood, and then you feel a pair of eyes watching you. It doesn’t stop there, but someone is walking behind you, following you, making you rush to get home because you feel your safety is threatened. Sounds familiar?

For some stalkers, it’s all fun; they go about chasing unknown women, making them feel uncomfortable. A small proportion of stalking cases have a criminal reason behind them. Other times, stalking isn’t taken seriously; men do it out of boredom, but has it struck you why? Why is this entertaining to them?

Indian households condition young women and girls to be submissive. Since my childhood, that’s all that has been discussed. My relatives, my parents, cousins, everyone has said the same thing- that girls should be submissive, docile, gentle, and obedient, while at the same time telling my brother that being manly is to be bold, fearless, authoritative, and aggressive. As I grew up, I found myself believing that I was not a desirable girl at all because I did not check all these character traits. Thankfully, my teachers, books, and personal testimonials made me understand that it’s my personality and I get to be the one carrying it regardless of what the common population believes.

Suggested Reading: Stalking Isn’t Romantic: A Simple Concept That Indian Men Can’t Comprehend

When men stalk women: Blame it on patriarchy

You see, the problem lies with our society and its perception we promote patriarchy in the households that’s what young kids believe is okay and that is where the problem begins. How do we promote guys to be aggressive and display their “manly characteristics”? Men have started to believe that they are entitled to dominate a woman. Whether it’s the workplace, the streets, anywhere you can think of. A large population doesn’t find it disturbing how men disrespect the boundaries. Instead of holding them accountable, they use phrases like “men will be men”. That’s absolutely unfair; women shouldn’t be the ones to suffer due to the toxic mentality men grow up with.

The idea of ownership over us, of superiority over us, gives men a boost to continue harassing us. We as a society impose numerous restrictions on women in the name of protecting them; how about eliminating the threat? What we need is to feel safe around men. How do we make sure of it? We try and promote the right values, tell men that it’s not a “manly” to dominate someone and make them uncomfortable, make them feel threatened and scare them off. Just going after men and criticising them may not work, but laying a foundation that promotes healthy thoughts and outlooks about gender equality and respecting every person’s consent surely seems a befitting solution.

That way, we would also be able to change our society’s outlook. We need to make sure we openly discuss harassment and its effects with our families; group discussions really help with critical thinking and make sure that all the members of the family get to present their views on it.

Every change begins at home, which is the very foundation of a society. As we move up the scale, we will notice the changes in the entire system, and that is the ultimate goal.

This article has been published under SheThePeople’s Young Writers Training Program. Views expressed are the author’s own.