Sexual desire may be natural but it is wrong to dismiss Eve teasing as the manifestation of this desire. Eve teasing is a common euphemism in the world for sexual harassment of women in public areas by men. An indecent remark or a vulgar comment is the mildest form of Eve teasing. It goes to the extent of physical assault and harassment. Starting with ogled eyes, making obscene gestures, and singing irritating songs are the general methods employed by the teasers. These cause mental agony to the girls. Eve teasing is a tragedy throughout Asia, America, Europe which includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal for public sexual harassment or sexual assault of women by men. The name “Eve” alludes to the Bible creation story concerning Adam and Eve.
Eve teasing, it is said, is the offshoot of the segregation of sexes for so long a time. Boys and girls were not allowed to mix up freely, so their desires remained suppressed. Even now free courtship and freedom in having relations are not socially acceptable activities. So, they say, suppressed feelings find expression in Eve-teasing. Another cause is the influence of Western culture. The grafting of Western culture through education, literature and film stories has tempted the younger generation to lead that type of life. As Indian culture does not give so much liberty, the suppressed feelings find expression in Eve-teasing.
Eve teasing makes the life of the young girls miserable. In a crowded bus, they are pinched, nudged, pushed and insulted. While walking on the road they are chased and commuted upon. The young lads whistle and call them after the film heroines. They not only stare at them wistfully but also pass obscene remarks on them. They have to tolerate all this patiently because their resentment may provoke the physical assault. No person, however, insensitive he or she may be, can tolerate all this. On the other hand, the persecutors derive vicious pleasure in seeing them embarrassed.
Sexual harassment verbal, physical, or visual sexual attention, intimidation, or coercion that is unwelcome and unwanted and often has a negative impact on the psychosocial health of the victim. But it is a crime which is not taken so seriously by the police or the authorities in a democratic state, if the weaker people are not protected, they can never become fearless citizens. If moral crimes are committed without feeling the twitches of conscience, society will degenerate.
While the term eve-teasing is not used in Indian Penal Code, it does prohibit eve-teasing like behaviours in Section – 294 prohibited making a girl or woman the target of obscene gestures, remarks, songs, or recitation punishable by up to three months in prison. Women are afraid to bring complaints to the notice of the police because the Eve teasers are not dealt with severely. But police action alone cannot be enough. People’s conscience must be aroused and they should be prepared to take up this problem at the social level. Women should be respected – this is what Indian culture demands.