One morning, you see a teenage girl dressed in a school uniform walk out of your apartment complex. She crosses the road and stands there. Three young men, looking like college students, are standing a few feet away from her, having a conversation punctuated by loud laughter. A few minutes later, a school bus appears. As soon as the girl boards the bus, the young men walk away.
During the next few days, you observe the same scene. The young men, who are strangers to you, reach the spot a few minutes before the girl and leave as soon as she boards the bus. You can make out that the young girl is quite uncomfortable while she stands waiting for her bus. You realise that this is a sexual harassment routine.
Which of the following are you most likely to do?
a. Speak to the girl and her parents, tell them that they should do something about this, and genuinely offer to help in whatever way you can.
b. Speak to the girl and her parents, tell them that they should do something about this, but diplomatically avoid get involved yourself.
c. Report the matter to the girl’s parents by writing an anonymous letter to them.
d. Do nothing.
Please answer the above question for the following scenarios:
1. You are the girl’s sibling/parent.
2. You are the girl’s cousin/uncle/aunt.
3. Your family and the girl’s family are good friends.
4. Your family and the girl’s family are acquainted, but not particularly close. Your son/daughter is the girl’s friend. (Or you are a college student and the girl is your friend.)
5. Your family and the girl’s family are acquainted, but not particularly close. The girl is your son’s/daughter’s acquaintance, but not really a friend. (Or you are a college student; the girl is an acquaintance, but not really a friend.)
6. The family shifted to your apartment complex recently. You have not yet had an opportunity to get to know them.
7. The family shifted to your apartment complex recently. You tried to get to know them, but they appeared stand-offish.
Ideally, your answer should be ‘a’ for all 7 scenarios.
What is your actual answer for each of the 7 scenarios? Are all 7 answers the same? If not, why not?
Please send me your answers for all 7 scenarios. If you do not want your answers to be known to others, please use a pseudonym.
Do you believe that this exercise is a waste of time, that crimes against women are because of the government, politicians, policemen, poverty, illiteracy, misogynists, patriarchal mindset, etc. and that we all can do nothing about it other than raving and ranting?
Or do you believe that we can, individually and collectively, work towards eradicating or reducing this social menace?
Other posts on Humanism and Sexual Harassment:
Thwarting sexual harassers, Reducing sexual harassment
If a woman tells you she has been raped …