Seated on a bus, clad between a Grey thinning haired man and a young man with tight blue jeans and red shirt, I started to feel uneasy even if the old man around. The young man would not stop staring at the top of my blouse and more so my bosom. I remember it had taken me one hour to find the right clothes for this journey. In the beginning, he would move his eyes from my shoes to the last tip of my hair and I thought the sweep through was done.
Next, on the menu, Ladies and gentlemen: the staring close up. Who knew that time could move so slow. I would stare at him too but he wouldn’t barge. He has been practising this longer than I have. The social etiquette was not on my side today. I felt completely naked even when I held my hands to my chest. This boy gave me a big smile like whatever you are trying to cover, I have already fed my memory enough to last me for a year.
Voyeurism is one of the biggest problem faced by women in Asia, more so India. Men will look at women and girls with complete admiration for more than two hours. You always get a feeling at the back of your mind that there is something wrong. They peep through windows, doors, key holes looking for nudity opportunities. I was the kind of person who would throw on any blouse and my bra but now I need more undergarments to cover up any area that is trying to protrude. I can’t show off what my mother gave me because I never know who will be watching me any moment. I once had a conversation with my lecturer about this voyeurism and the only answer I got was, that the natives are just curious. But they make me feel naked whatever I try to dress my body in, they will always undress me with their eyes. I started an experiment with my dress code; If I went out of my house and the neighbour was not looking at me in a weird way, that cloth would stay in my closet. Tight clothes, jeans and small blouses all out.
Just like this young man, the behaviour starts early and continues to childhood. The voyeurism does not end with the obsession to the female physical structure but to other activities that have led to Indian’s daughter being violated. By the way, this story is the reason why my closet is full of scarves and veils. I need to survive to see another day in my country. I have found means of avoiding such attention because I know the police will tell me, It was my fault because I wore flattering clothes. You don’t want stares and people following you home in the broad day. Believe me, I know how scared you will be for the rest of your life. You will keep checking the doors and windows several times in the night in order to get some safety.