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  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view meeravijayan's profile
    Posted November 1, 2014 by
    Bangalore, India
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    An open letter to catcallers

    More from meeravijayan

    Perspectives from India: Why I relate to that catcalling video


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     meeravijayan said that she has had one incident in particular take place where two men in a motorcycle followed her every day for a week walking home, but she did not go to the police as she thought that she would be blamed for 'inviting' such advances. 'It is an unpleasant and terrifying experience to walk in crowded areas in Bangalore because, sometimes, when you don't respond, you can be groped or molested as a result. I remember so many instances when my friends and I have avoided spaces because of the constant staring, name-calling and whistling.'
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    Now, I am one of the many people on the internet who watched the recent viral video, which was actually a social experiment to conducted by an organisation called Hollaback, that recorded the kind of harassment that women often face on the street.

    A lot of people have since been talking about conducting a smilier experiment on the experience of men, and others have been questioning why it focuses on people of a particular race. But as an Indian woman, I want to tell you this.

    There is definitely a widespread notion, even in India, that women like being called out to on the street. A lot of young men (or sometimes maybe women?) tend to think that yelling out to people, calling out to them, staring them up and down etc. on the street is “being nice”. I think there is something inherently wrong with thinking that way because it isn’t positive social behaviour. If you think someone is beautiful, well, great. Have the courage to approach them decently.

    Street harassment is pervasive, negative, frustrating and demeaning to anyone on the street. In India, I know that I’ve personally experienced how bad things can be sometimes when you do not respond to this so-called “niceness” - being touched, groped or physically assaulted is the result. What I want to say is that there is something fundamentally wrong with the notion that you have the right to invade another person’s private space without their consent. We have got to stop thinking that it is okay. So if you see someone doing this on the road, or if you find yourself in a situation where you feel the need to hoot, whistle or yell at someone on the road, take a moment to think and stop it. We need to start somewhere, and one of doing that is to check our own behaviour on the street. Whether it’s standing up for a friend or for yourself, we’ve got to find a way to stop it.
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