“Eve Teasing” Gets Guys Off the Hook
Egypt’s fight for freedom and democracy is increasingly met with public sexual assaults. In addition to assault, rape and sexual harassment, rape-like virginity tests and tortures may also be administered. Or perhaps a woman will be dragged naked on the ground.
There’s a reason for that.
Many sexist men fear women’s power or the chaos of a receding patriarchy. But women’s rights are also symbolic of freedom for all, so best to snuff it out and demoralize other agitators.
The tormentors are aided, wittingly or not, by the media. As Laura Bates at The Women’s Media Center points out, article titles typically label it all “sexual-harassment” even though the behavior is much crueler: “grabbing, groping, stripping, touching and penetrating—acts that are more accurately described as ‘sexual assault’ or ‘rape.’”
She says the dismissive language is part of a wider trend:
In India, the term “Eve teasing” is popularly used to describe the public harassment, assault, or molestation of women. The term has gained global familiarity, spreading to other countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal and being used by the international media.
“Eve teasing.” Eve, a weak, lying temptress. Suspicion is cast upon the woman, herself.
And if it’s all her fault, she feels shame. Leopard, over at Crates and Ribbons, says shame can lead a woman to see her whole self as flawed with self-worth fading until she can no longer face public scrutiny and defend herself.
“Eve” joined by “teasing” tells us that the crime is small, “a bit of fun,” Bates says. It’s not serious or threatening and the perpetrators mean no harm. Anyone who objects can’t take a joke.
The problem is so severe that it has caused at least 14 women to commit suicide in Bangladesh, young men have been murdered in Mumbai for trying to protect their female friends, a 17-year-old Indian girl has acid thrown in her face for daring to resist it. It doesn’t seem particularly funny.
If women are at fault and the “teasers” mean no real harm, who will stop the assaults?
Posted on May 24, 2013, in feminism, gender, men, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged Eve teasing, feminism, gender, men, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women, women. Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.