Sun, Sep 03, 2006 - Page 9 News List

Indian women fighting sexual harassment

By Amrit Dhillon  /  THE OBSERVER , NEW DELHI

Bollywood movies are also blamed.

"The hero chases the woman and she acts all coy, spurning his advances. He keeps teasing her and being suggestive and in the end she responds. Men think women like that," says Uday Prakash, a software engineer in Bangalore and a male member of Blank Noise.

Another factor is that India does a bad job at preparing its daughters to defend themselves. Few would stare back at a stranger and shout at them to stop or go away. Cultural conditioning teaches them to be docile and compliant. Merely meeting a man's gaze can make women blush.

Men are losers too though in eve-teasing. One posting suggests that perhaps any overture by a man might be construed negatively. In one case, a man's picture is on the site for asking a woman at a bus stop to join him for a cup of coffee.

A visitor to the site remarked: Just shows how conservative a country India is and how big losers Indian girls are. A stranger accosts for coffee and they say it's eve-teasing.

But for Patheja this is not an example of a gray area. "Every culture has its rules and we all know them. It's not accepted in India for a random stranger to start talking to a woman unless she's been introduced," she says.

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