Thank those Security guards at malls who teach a bit on issues of Women Safety! Wondering how?? Read on.
The Special Rule
Living in a metro city, I frequently visit malls and cinema halls. At these places, we are forced to obey a ‘special rule’ while entering which is to pass through those bomb-detecting boxes. They look like empty rectangular boxes made up of wooden frames and at times it looks like they don’t even work. The same are available at metro stations as well. Once you surpass it, the security check is done through the security guard who is waiting with another weapon detector. At some theatres, they are empty-handed as well but they check you and how??
They wear hand gloves and touch you everywhere to check as per the protocol. Being a male, I feel really awkward that a man actually touches me taking a feel of my body and all I can do is oblige to his needs pretty forcefully. They start from your shoulder, then your chest, your pockets from front almost reaching your private parts at times and then your back after which you are allowed to proceed inside. I am sure almost everyone has been through this process and felt equally awful about it. We can’t blame them for it, it’s their job. If they won’t do it, you would be the first one to say; “Ye log kaamchor hai” (They are lazy!) But I still doubt as to how do they recognize that it’s a mobile phone and not an explosive cell phone bomb merely by touching my pockets? What is there in my shoulder that he can notice just by touching once? The process is a bit senseless for me but it’s for public safety so we must obey.
When you feel it!
Honestly, I used to get irritated whenever I had to go through it when one fine day this thought came to my mind… Do girls feel the same when somebody touches them forcefully in public or private? Not really… they feel even worse. That’s when I realised that calling it wrong and actually experiencing the molestation are two different things…
Apart from this, we men in India are trapped in such forced intimacy only in crowded local trains and buses. Why I do not consider it to be so bad is people just stand wherever they manage to get a place. We know it’s quite unintentional and everybody is helpless owing to the peak hour travels. But while entering a mall or a metro station, the guard’s job is actually to feel your body parts one by one using his hands and you know it is going to happen now. That thought makes it even worse! It takes merely 5-10 seconds but feels really disgusting, doesn’t it? And to add to the misery, this happens in a public place in open, a crowded entrance of a mall or theatre where we stand in a queue to let it happen (i.e. get yourself molested by a man who probably doesn’t enjoy it either!).
The state of Women
Now imagine the state of a woman in a public place or a girl studying in a college or working in an office where people might pretend it to be accidental but intentionally touch them inappropriately. You can make out that it was intentional but can’t prove it. Many a time women ignore it to avoid creating a scene. Plus if it is a senior in the office or a batchmate in college, you would not want to spoil your relations for practically obvious reasons to avoid further harassment from them as revenge.
Thankfully we have separate ladies compartment in trains and reserved seats in buses but it still happens in crowded buses and if retaliated the answer would be, “Galti se lag gaya, idhar jagah nahi hai na.” (It was unintentional)
Coming to the point, thanks to those security guards who have in disguise made me realise how bad it feels when somebody touches you without your will. And then I wonder how disgusting is rape and how the victim would feel after the evil act which is such a severe form of physical and mental harassment making her experience helplessness to the worst level. Women safety is indeed a big issue in the country and the idea of committing the heinous crime seeds in the culprit’s minds with the ‘intentional touch’. If you don’t retaliate, you motivate them to do it again with someone else and then take it to a higher level of molestation.
Our duty as an onlooker
My intention of writing this is to awaken the onlookers who at times see it happen yet ignore thinking, “Apne ko kya?” (That’s not my problem) or just thinking in their mind, “That is so disgusting!” but never speak up. Remember, if you don’t speak up to stop it, the next victim could be you or your loved ones. If you see it, try to stop them, first just point it out to them and the person would himself be ashamed of it, if not push them or gather some crowd but don’t let it happen. Offices and colleges have people assigned to report such cases without disclosing your identity. Be it a man or a woman, nobody likes to be forcefully touched. I do not and I realised the disgust due to those security checks.
I do not hate those guards nor do I mean to say that every man pretends it to be unintentional, it genuinely happens at times and also women misunderstand it to be intentional by a gentleman. But we need to oppose when we see it happening (and when we can make out the intentions) to make the society a more secured one for women to travel, study & work freely…
Respect Women. Issued in public interest!