Catcalling: Violence against women in increasing every day in India. Society has become immune to the rising number of rape cases. So much so, that we think of only the worse forms of violence to be some form of assault. What goes completely ignored and unaddressed are other forms of misbehaviour and assault. Catcalling is one of them.
Catcalling includes a loud whistle, passing decisive comments, or shouting at women publicly with rude, sexually suggestive nature. Sometimes, honking cars at passing women is also considered to be a form of catcalling.
Nearly every girl in India has faced some form of street harassment. Like a group of men who purposefully abuse and pass comments at them or their clothes or their body. In some case it would be whistling or randomly singing while crossing a woman.
Catcalling under Indian Penal Code
Though the Indian Penal Code does not provide a definition of catcalling, there is a section under which it is a punishable offence. IPC Section 509 provides law for eve-teasing primarily. However, catcalling also comes under this. Offenders could be punished with up to 3 years imprisonment and a fine.
Flashing privates, making vulgar gestures or self-exposure to a woman are also considered part of catcalling.
Impact on women
Implications of such comments or acts are far and wide on a woman. It instils a fear to be in public places or around men. In fact, such events can cause long-lasting psychological effects.
Therefore it is very important to raise your voices against these crimes. Women must not simply ignore the shouting or the whistling. By ignoring, you are encouraging the guilty of committing further crimes.
Do not Ignore
“Let us walk faster and just ignore them,” this attitude must be changed. Verbal harassment is also equally bad as physical harassment.
Women must assertively respond to the harassers calmly but firmly to let them know that their actions or words are wrong and unacceptable. Calling them out in a public place might discourage their actions.
But even after calling them out, if they continue with their deplorable actions, you must not hesitate to report to the police.
Also if you witness such incidents happening to other women, you must step in to help. When you see someone being harassed, you must intervene to check whether she is fine instead of saying silent and passing by.