Street harassment of women has become the most common form of violence whose criminality or rather severity is overlooked. While other crimes are stipulated by the law, there are no legal frameworks against harassment of women on the streets. As such, violence against women has now spilt to public areas.
Women are no longer safe to walk alone in public spaces because they are most likely going to come across ‘street bashers’ who carelessly spit disgusting words or tamper with their bodies in broad daylight without shame. When women are treated without respect in the public arena it becomes terrifying to think of the reality of what they are subjected to in private spaces.
On the streets, women’s sexuality has become an object of ridicule in which the opposite sex freely satisfies its eyes and sexual appetites by passing obscene judgments with no remorse. The venomous words uttered against women are capable of stripping them naked even though they are dressed.
It is frustrating to note how women how women divert their routes or avoid walking in certain areas because they cannot bear the provocation. These public spaces are supposed to provide some form of safety and security but have now become havens for women’s torture. The streets have been turned into places where women are robbed of their bodily autonomy, stripped naked, objectified and abused in broad daylight with no consequences meted to their abusers.
When it becomes an unquestionable norm that men openly abuse women on the streets and find some twisted pleasure and bravado from the act, it can be no wonder what happens in the privacy of their homes and hence, violence against women will continue.
The street harassment of women continues to be treated like child’s play, yet it is so real and negatively impacts on their wellbeing. As a society, we continue to socialise our young boys with a misguided idea of what manhood is and street bashing of females is an extension of unchallenged “male privilege”.
It is surprising how the ‘male ego’ legitimises its control over women by always wanting to have a final say about a female’s dressing and movement even decades after the ink on the legitimacy of women’s right has dried.
A woman is still judged and abused merely by her choice of dress and not the validity oof her intellect and even if she wears what they deem decent they still find something indecent to say in order to satisfy their ego.
There can be no justification for harassing women, we must wake up as a society to the realisation that we are breeding men who lack moral values and respect for the opposite sex and this has destructive consequences on our social structures.