Last week, a video of a man flashing his private parts at a woman on a public bus in Delhi went viral on the internet. The video showed the female passenger, whose face was blurred, accusing the man of flashing at her. The accused identified as Zakir started crying after being caught. He was caught by the Delhi Transport Corporation Marshal. What’s with men and flashing? It is so common for women to be flashed that most of them have experienced it at some point in their lives.
This incident reminded me of the first time I was flashed at. I was barely 11 years old when it happened. I had gone shopping with my grandmother, and while walking to our car in the parking lot, I noticed an auto driver glaring at me. His glare made me uncomfortable. Seeing the discomfort on my face, he grinned, unzipped his pants, and started stroking himself. I panicked and held onto my grandmother’s hand tightly. She turned towards me, noticed what was happening, and gave him a death stare. He zipped up his pants and turned away. Then we got into the car and went home. As an adult, this male flashing behaviour made me wonder what men actually gain by flashing at random women. What drives them to engage in such heinous behaviour?
I realised that flashing is seldom considered a crime. It’s often trivialised because it is relatively harmless when compared to sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, murder, and other crimes against women. According to the National Commission for Women (NCW), nearly 31,000 complaints of crimes against women were registered in 2022, which is a 30% rise compared to 2021. With this being the situation in our country, it’s no wonder that flashing is trivialised or dismissed as a public nuisance more than a crime. But then, won’t today’s flashing escalate to sexual harassment, assault, or even rape tomorrow? Shouldn’t we nip the problem in the bud?
Man Flashes At Woman On A Public Bus In Delhi
Women need to know that it is not okay to put up with indecent male exposure. According to reports, the woman in the aforementioned video accused the male passenger of exposing his private parts to her. Later, when the police tried to get a statement from her and file a complaint, the woman refused to comment on the incident. Why are women retreating? Are they afraid of the consequences? Yes, because patriarchy has conditioned women to adjust, tolerate, and compromise. Otherwise, they will have to face repercussions, even if they are the survivors of the incident. Unfortunately, many women, even today, are not awake because they were raised to be submissive. They are not allowed to be vocal about the problems that they face because then they end up getting blamed. How will women develop the courage to speak out in a society that actively engages in victim blaming?
What’s With Men And Flashing?
So why do men engage in the act of exhibitionism, commonly referred to as “flashing”? What do men gain from exposing their private parts to random women in a public place? Flashers feel powerful by exerting their dominance over women. When they flash, they are invading women’s personal space, violating their boundaries, and catching them off guard. They are satisfying his narcissistic ego by gaining at least a moment’s attention and by exerting their control over women without even touching them. The idea of having power and influence over women’s reactions excites flashers. These men are downright misogynistic. When they flash at women, they are reminding them that the outside world still belongs to men and that women’s place is inside the house. The very fact that women are thriving right now annoys them. The immediate reaction that women exhibit on seeing the flasher, be it a feeling of awkwardness, embarrassment, shame, shock, surprise, or even anger, is their reward. The fact that they have managed to influence that emotion even from a distance is an achievement for them.
Today’s women are working day in and day out. There is no morning and no night. The days of being confined to one’s home and bound by patriarchy are long gone. On the road to success, women cannot ensure their safety with every step they take. The flasher who is dismissed by society today will become a rapist tomorrow. The entitlement given to men from birth must end. That is the starting point of the problem. Being bestowed with privileges that women protest to obtain makes them feel superior and entitled. Like Indian feminist and activist Kamla Bhasin asked, “Why place honour in a woman’s vagina?” Going along the same lines, “Why place entitlement in a man’s penis?”
Suggested Reading: Delhi Man Allegedly Flashes Private Parts At Female Passenger In DTC Bus