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Excellent post Lakshmi.

Yes, we've all had our share of nightmares and sickening experiences. Blank Noise project is good for creating awareness and I suppose that's what most women need. To know that we aren't alone. Many men Ive spoken to are apologetic and disgusted with the stories, and hold themselves a bit responsible though they themselves have not participated in such lewd acts.

I wrote about this too when the Project was on initially.


Lakshmi, I think it's sheer luck and not the way you dress that's keeping you safe. If clothes alone were the culprit, little girls would be growing up unmolested.

Isn't it weird that we never told our parents? After all these years, it continues to baffle me why I never breathed a word to my parents, not even once.

I'd like to think I'm bringing up my kids to be more aware of unwanted advances by talking about good touch and bad touch periodically. I know I would be shattered if they put up with abuse silently and never let me know.


Great post.

I have fond memories of an Assamese friend running after a bottom-pincher, attacking him and kicking him where it hurt.

Instead of those useless PT classes, we need to teach our kids self-defense.


Rads, could you please link your blog entry on the project here?

Terri, I agree that clothes have nothing to do when it comes to perverted bastards.  But it helps to be inconspicuous to ward off eve-teasing.  And yes, the thought crossed me too - why I never spoke to my parents about it.  Perhaps I believed that it was MY fault that this happened and I was afraid to own up?  I hope my own daughter is more open with me than I was.

Purplesque, we all understand how to handle sex-offenders when we have grown up.  And usually harassment when we are in our teens don't quite affect us too much. But child abuse is something else.   And it happens, it seems every woman I know has been through sexual abuse as a child.  We just don't talk about it.


[this is good]


Accusing a woman of being provocatively dressed is skirting the real issue. Just as saying a sex worker cannot report a rape by a customer. Your cleavage was not showing, your knickers were not flashing when the men groped you. I'm not sure if I take a crowded PTC bus ride in a maami costume of vibhooti and those terrible madrasi salwar kameezes that show next to nothing for a couple of days I could come back unsullied. I'm doubtful. As informed people we say be practical, be inconspicuos and avoid them and then you are safe. We have to work on protesting. On new year eve those women were molested and no educated, upper class man came forward to protect them by the Mumbai hotel. Our parents were uninformed, they never warned us; we are protective moms so we keep an eagle's eye on informed.Most importantly we never protested but fell ill because we were never nurtured in an environment of speaking up before grown ups. We had very oppressive upbringing of obedience, subservience and confomity as young children. Fear ( bayame ellai kazhudaikku was the line many of us heard from toddlerhood). 

And please don't heckle  "those bra burning" feminists of yesteryears. Why are young, privileged women who are successful in life and career today say they don't subscribe to "those feminists" dismissing them as militant, aggressive. "Naanga appadi illai pa, we realise women can't be equal but we must be given our space that's all" is a sanctimonius way of rejecting an important social battle. A bit like saying "I don't like those freedom fighter types who went to jail burning clothes".If they hadn't done those things because the oppression was much greater in those times, we wouldn't be enjoying many of the liberties that we so casually enjoy.They were elder sisters who lived in other countries protesting for us to enjoy many things today like education; right to work, to choose, to travel alone; to use our money earned.

We are all feminists who reinvent it to suit our cultures, our contemporary settings; yours may be different from mine or hers but each is a way forward we are fashioning to hold our heads high.One is no less or more than the other.


Maami,  you got me wrong. Perhaps I did not communicate it right.  I am NOT derisive about feminists.  I can blog today because of their fight and I am grateful to no end for it.  I am just not one of them.  I personally choose to take the safer way out.  It takes all kinds to turn the world.

And as for your other points, Amen.

PS: Welcome back.  Miracles DO happen.

Vijay Ganesh

I also faced twice in my school / college days. It is difficult to erase these from the mind. It keeps coming back once in a while.


[this is good] I must say it is comforting to see VG's comment above in this extremely thought-provoking if a little oestrogen-charged post.
I've seen my fair share of eve-teasing, though on a much more small-town scale in my college days in Coimbatore, which in those days was just an overgrown village.
Rather than commenting on this, I'd like to ask a question to all you ladies:
Do you think that a properly thought out and implemented sex education (or the politically correct Adolescent Education) programme in our schools would work as a solution to this increasingly grave societal evil?


Vijay,  eve-teasing is child's play.  It is the physical abuse that is scarring.  Especially when an innocent, unsuspecting child is involved.

Sex education will do nothing to stop the bastards.  What it WILL do is make the potential victim more alert.  I know that I started carrying pepper spray in my uniform pocket after our sex-education course in school.


I don't find it comforting, like Vijay does, that men go through it too, although I am tempted to gloat over it with the "I hope all men realise through experience what it feels like to be felt up". But that is unfair.
Man or woman, each has control of his or her own body and any encroachment is an act of crime.


Vijay, maybe you asked a rhetorical question, but here are my thoughts.

One of the ways to combat the problem might be to encourage the concept of dating and finding your own mate, as they do in the West. This would help relieve some of the pent-up sexual tension among hormonal youth. Once the cherished “betas” realize that mummy-daddy aren’t going to arrange a marriage to a nice girl who will overlook their roadside Romeo reputation, it might goad them to clean up their act and find out the hard way that the way to a woman’s heart is not through harassment.

Parents, especially fathers, need a wake-up call, as well. Sons usually emulate their fathers, and if men show scant respect for their wives, the cycle will continue.

I say it’s time we brought sex out of the closet and into the open. Encourage freer intermingling between the sexes and teach our sons to be accountable for their actions.


I agree that "Sex education will do nothing to stop the bastards" as you so elegantly put it.
But I was thinking more in the lines of your next sentence. The victims need to know if/when they are being victimised. I remember a good cover story in Outlook or India Today on child sex abuse a few months ago with a lot of helpful tips to teach youngsters. It is good that this is at least being talked about by some people now. Previously we would have gotten the standard 'head deep in sand' answer that such things don't happen in Our Culture.
It's the same culture that still encourages child marriages and teen pregnancies in large areas of the country.
I think you misunderstood my usage of the word 'comforting.' What I meant was I felt less conscious being the second male commenter rather than the first one here.
I guess you are right about sexual harassment being gender non-specific. Some of the things that we had to undergo under the guise of ragging in medical college (this was pre-court ban times) still make me cringe.  

Karen Lynn

I thought child-molesting, sex offenders were just an American thing.  I guess I just figured other countries were far too cultured.  I can't believe this is global.  What is wrong with people who find children attractive? 

I don't get it.


Karen, people are people, no matter where they live.  The West is better in that such issues are accepted as very real and victims are not stigmatized.  In the east, most people turn a blind-eye to such issues and there is a huge stigma attached to sexual molestation, ironically, on the victim rather than the perpetrator.
Only recently has there been some sort of vocal protest, in the form of feminist groups and bloggers. I hope the awareness spreads and our children will not have to face the humiliation that we did.


Vijay, I have never thought of "ragging" as a sex offense before. Thanks for enlightening me.  


Reproducing, with permission, part of the contents of an email from SS in response to this post.

I grew up in Chennai and now live in San
Diego. I too have experienced sexual assaults a few times while growing
up in India and was ashamed to talk about it to my parents or friends.
This is such a common phenomenon for young girls in India. As an adult
it has shocked me for years how our so called righteous society totally
ignores this pandemic. Isn't it important for the parents to educate
and protect their children from such evils. Only the most violent
sexual assaults get publicity. Shouldn't our press be writing about
these perverts to bring about awareness among the people. The Kumudams
and Thina Malar's are the one's that need to bring this awareness to
the grass roots....so girls and women have the knowledge and courage
and tools to deal with these atrocities...and their fathers and
husbands and brothers will start watching out for such perverts...and
the perverts know that people are now watching for them.

  I have a son and a daughter 11 and 9. I find it my responsibility to educate and protect them and I talk to them about such things. I even shared with them my experiences to let them know that it is really not your fault if something like that happens and they should seek the help of their parents or a trusted adult rightaway.   I love my country and my culture but not to the extent that I am blind to its short comings. This is one the things that I am most ashamed of...

nice thought provoking post!!

thinking from the molester's point of view.. i dont get it.. how dare
are these guys?? i mean what will be running on their minds..?? what
makes them do this keeping in mind that they will be let out unnoticed??

is it due to the lack of proper laws?? is it because of those tolerant
females?? is it because of those ppl who watch this happen and do


[this is good] Lakshmi, thank you for telling me about this post, and please forgive me for taking so long to get here. I'm literally drowning in school work in last month.

I broke my heart to read what happened to you - over and over - as you were growing up. Along with you, I believe that this is a problem that happens across the entire world. Men descending to the level of animals, destroying the innocence of little ones, or otherwise taking what does not belong to them from unwilling victims.

Again, I agree with you about what women wear. Caution is always a good thing. Men should be able to control themselves whatever a woman is wearing, however she should use a bit of common sense, and realize that if you dress like a toy, you invite people to play. To be respected, respect yourself.

Lakshmi, my friend, I will try to get into my blog to link to this over the next several days.

Thank you again! Great post! It took a lot of courage!

Brown Suga'

[this is good]

Very courageous post.

I too have had harrowing experiences. Unfortunately, it is the very omnipresence of these happenings that makes people ingore it. Remember what the Mumbai police commissioner said after that molestation incident - "It happens everywhere, don't make a mountain out of a molehill?"

I am currently making an animated film on Child Sexual Abuse as part of an academic project. While I was doing research, I was shocked to hear people casually say "Yeah, I was abused too. Happens to everyone." The point is, WHY should it happen? Especially to children? I think that is an experience people can live without!

I've never understood what makes most men (and a few women) sexual predators. And you are right, sex education is no deterrent to abusers, but it goes a long way in keeping youngsters safe.

I've articulated the need for sex education in my blog. Sometimes I'm loud and shrill, but I know I'm right!


Thank you for your comment and for introducing me to a site that is rightfully loud and shrill about the issue.
All readers to this blog, especially parents of young children, hop over to the Monsters in the Closet, especially this post. 

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