Men and women experience urban space differently.
(a universal truth, which I would have thought everybody would have perceived and experienced).
However, at a recent party, we just happened to talk about this- and one guy said- "Is that true? I really don't know. I think this atleast does not happen in India"
Which essentially proves my point- men and women experience urban space differently. AND- that this guy was a thick blockhead with no perception.
Women grow up (especially in India) with an inherent sense of the implicit and perceived danger in open urban spaces. We have all heard incessant warnings about not going out after dark, ever.
We've all had our share of those experiences- be it a groping hand passing by on the street, on the crowded public bus, waiting for the bus at night...
My point being- an inherent caution of public space is built into women, and it comes as a natural part of our perception and experience. I had thought of this as something everybody knew- there is, after all, a lot of press on Eve-teasing, and women's molestation, etc.- especially in India. It is part and parcel of our daily life in India.
More so, because public places are not deemed as "proper" places for respectable Indian women to be seen in. Being in a public place at the wrong time is "asking for it".
New Year's Eve, Mumbai was not an aberration. India is getting unsafer by the day (ToI, sometime this Jan).
Take a look at these guidelines- they would be hilarious, if they were not so saddeningly true. These are rules that are internalized by all Indian women, and have been spelt out only for visitors. YES, this is how we all know we are supposed to behave. These are our Lakshman-Rekhas...
So it irritated me no end when an educated, supposedly well-read Indian said this. Made me angry. Maybe somebody needs to put their blinkers away. This truth will never penetrate his narrow vision, perception and thought. Actually, considering his ways of thinking, he maybe believes women have no need to be in a public place at all! (As you can guess, I am infuriated).
Does this say something about Indian men? If they don't even SEE the problem, how can effective steps be made to solve it???