Bengaluru: Bengaluru was witness to a unique campaign on Tuesday when a group of college students hit the streets with a message-“Don’t stare us”. Holding placards, the girl students said that they feel very embarrassed when they are constantly stared and hence wanted to create awareness on the issue. Speaking on the occasion, Lisaa School of Design and Creo Valley School of Film and Television co-founder and director Avi Keswani said, “Recently, there was uproar about women’s safety and the frequent molestation cases across Bengaluru. Just as everyone pondered if any city is even safe for women, one can’t help but think about a much more subtle kind of sexual harassment that many people fail to talk about leave alone address it. There are several things on which one girl disagrees from other. But one thing, every single young girl agrees to unanimously be the feeling of being violated by continuous and ominous stares of mean on the streets, while waiting for a bus or a traffic signal, name the place and at least one girl has faced a creep staring at her like his eyes was fit with hi-tech x-rays.”
A girl student who was part of this “don’t stare me’ march said, “My well-meaning friends would definitely opine that ‘Maybe her dress was revealing’, ‘ maybe she was laughing loudly’ as they always so but I wonder what that man was staring at when I had wrapped myself in a thick jacket, thicker jeans, my face was covered like that of a Ninja, yet he stared and I began wondering if it was because my jeans was too tight. The sad part was I had already begun blaming my tight jeans (which by the way was not even skinny). The stares are everywhere. These staring creeps are so bold that even when we notice them staring and give them a glare back, they do not turn away their eyes but keep staring. The stares even vary, some men stare at one particular part of your body, some stare, turn away and again stare and some stare from top to bottom and again top as though they are scanning your bodies.”
Another student said, “I still feel shudders when I remember an incident in the Forum Mall. It is a pace I had least expected it. I was waiting for a friend to catch a movie. Two well dressed men stood close by and one of them kept glancing at me. The glance turns to a stare and even as a fiddled with my purse, tried to walk around, his stare followed me. I checked for my reflection for more than five times to see if there was something wrong and as I had followed his stare, I even adjusted my duapatta several times. It was so uncomfortable and violating that as soon as my friend joined me, who was also a girl, I quickly pulled her inside the mall to avoid the man’s stare. I regret it. I wish I had confronted him but how will I prove that he was actually staring at me? Unlike a physical form of molestation, this kind of harassment can’t be even proven but it makes you equally uncomfortable. When serious crime offenders who committed rape can go away scot free, how can we expect any action these kinds of harassers?” She wondered
Lisaa School of Design and Creo Valley School of Film and Television’s co-founder and director Girish Keswani said that the problem is that a few men who stare and glare think that they are entitled to do so. They have become so emboldened by the fact that their victims can’t do much. The sad state is apart from the victim blaming trend, people feel that staring is not much of a hassle. But this is a menace which takes away women’s public spaces from them. Women are conscious of the stairs and lose their confidence and simply can’t be themselves. “The staring is terrible in public spaces especially in public transport or roads. It may not be evident comparatively in office spaces or colleges because people meet you there every day. I don’t like it the way these men stare at girls. The first thought a girl gets is ‘Why are they staring at me, is there something wrong with me? That is the kind of power these creeps wield because of their stares. So, I suggest in public spaces the police must be deployed who can also understand that such situations exist and stop the discomfort.”
Avi Keswani added that their whole motto of organising the ”don’t stare campaign’ was to sensitise people and making the offenders realize that a woman is not a piece of meat or a show piece to be stared at but just another human being who needs her space and is out of home just the way he is to study or work or simply have a nice time. Seriously! Leave the women alone, staring maniacs!
Self Defence classes for girls
Self Defense has become necessary in today’s life in view of the present law and order situation. Lisaa School of Design and Creo Valley School of Film and television took a step ahead to introduce self defense program for students. The objective of the programme was to ensure safety of its girl students; to increase ability for defending themselves and to boost their confidence levels. This training also helped them to better mental balance, concentration, courage and physical fitness. During the self defence workshop on Tuesday, the girl students were taught on alert, identification, interception, intervention, threat destruction and threat neutralisation. The idea was not only to empower the women only through brute force but also to enlighten them at psychological levels. National awardee Abhishek Saha trained the girls in various self defence modules.