Few weeks back, on a Friday, I visited one of my dear friends at a coffee shop. He was back from work and I being a jobless woman made the poor lad wait until I shopped for a birthday gift for another friend of mine. The thing with him is you can be pretty straight forward and have amazing deep conversations, however, he keeps you on your toes with his wit.
Well, I rushed to the place with a bonsai in my hand. We settled down at a table in a seemingly quiet corner of the coffee house. But it turned out it was not. On our left were two men not really talking (two weeks down I am still trying to figure out what they were doing) and diagonally opposite to us was probably a couple. The woman was so loud, it literally irked me and my mate to a point where I wanted to give her a piece of my mind. But I couldn’t, you know why! I had to be so loud while talking to him that he had to ask me to keep my voice low.
Trust me, even upon screaming at my polite best, the waiter in a Maharashtrian wedding has never looked back at me, ever. No wonder, I now patronize the buffet system.
My friend was receiving multiple messages and phone calls while we were trying to make a conversation and he would go on to check them. While he proceeded to pick up the phone call, I started looking over his shoulder at a young child who entered the cafe with a guitar in his hand accompanied by his mother maybe, ready to pluck the strings. While I was busy imagining how he would grow up to be a wonderful musician, my friend was back from his conversation and suddenly took to the topic of why there is no law for men similar to the one for women – which is eve-teasing. The law basically provides for punishment for inappropriate advances made by a man towards a woman.
I totally did not have an answer to it. I was dumbfounded while I tried to maintain a poker face. Yeah, that’s what years of stage drama does to you. It helps you maintain a poker face even in the most terrifying hours of your life when you literally have no clue what to say. The other good reaction stage drama teaches you in such situation is to smile away.
He went on to further explain why eve-teasing is called what it is called.
He calmly said, “Eve as in a woman. Eve from Adam and Eve”
In my mind, I could have literally killed him in that moment for assuming that I might not know what an eve meant. But hey, when you love your people, it is humanly impossible to kill them. And my friend is a really lovely creature.
However, his question was intriguing. I have seen multiple men within my social circle and acquaintances who got pestered at workplaces or in other settings by women. People find this unusual or shocking when they hear about such incidents. But they do happen! However, many a times these occurrences go unnoticed because we as a society are not ready to accept that a man would have to go through this or he does in fact. Men know this and hence many of them bear with the mental catharsis by women due to lack of confidence in the society and judicial system.
It is difficult for them to even tell their friends that they are facing such a situation as there are very high chances that their issue could be made fun of. More than sixty per cent of men do not report such an incident with the fear of being ridiculed and oppressed.
A lack of catharsis could also lead to various other troubles for these people including stress and lack of performance at work or school. How many times has a male friend of yours tried to tell you that he is going through mental or sexual abuse and you have nudged him with your elbow and joked,
“Oh come on, we both know you wanted it.”
No, he doesn’t. Instead of helping him release his stress occurring due to this harassment, you are making it difficult for him to express himself and consequently proving that the society will never be able to understand what he has to share.
More than the loss of dignity it is the inability to express of the man is what troubles me in these scenarios. Isn’t it biased? A breach of feminism? A blotch on the face of both the constitution and humanity?
Feed for thought it is. And the more I thought about it I realized we as human beings are so cowardly and restrictive that we avoid the newly emerging problems around us only for them to be blown up some time in future. We need to be able to lend an impartial listening ear to all our fellow human beings. We need to be empathetic and judgemental for once every time we meet a friend, family member or an acquaintance.
We need to empower every individual on this planet and we need to be human enough to understand it. We need to support our Adam as much as we need to strengthen our Eve.