The Reality of Eve Teasing
Posted February 12, 2008
With sadness I have read the articles here dealing with Lila dasi and her tragic death. Upon first reading this particular sentence, "Unfortunately, everything changed a few days ago when a stalker, who was obsessed with Lila, made his way into their house and shot her before turning the gun on himself," I thought to myself, "nothing has changed."
Having spent several years residing in Sri Braj Dham myself, the ever-present issue of India's problem with "eve teasing", (their concealed way of saying "sexual harrasment") is a constant reality for us women there, whether Indian citizens, tourists, or foreign vaishnavis on pilgrimage. I think every woman reading this who has been to India knows what I'm talking about.
Funny, I was just reading a website about a group of young women in India who have recently started a grass-roots revolution to put a stop to the weird staring, following, stalking, lewd talking and touching that they and millions of women in India have to face on a daily basis while walking to school, riding a bus or taking a train, and then I popped on Chakra and read the results of what can come of such behaviour when it veers completely out of control - the murder of a young vaishnava.
I am now more determined than ever to join in solidarity with Indian women in their fight against this evil of what is called "eve teasing" and bring an end to it, at least within the boundaries of Sri Vrindavan Dham. There are several social and cultural factors that lead to this type of behaviour in men and they of course are being explored, analysed and written about to no end by Indians themselves, but I feel as women who are coming from safer and more empowered environments and cultures, we can contribute to the cause of Indian women as well, perhaps with fresh insight.
I know that many female pilgrims of various vaishnava backgrounds (as well as secular tourists) return from India dismayed with the disrespect of women and sexual harrassment they face there. So many of my own sisters have relayed this to me, and now we see it taken to an extreme in Lila's case.
Let us do something before it again becomes too late for someone else!
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