18.4.08

Ongoing project: Blank Noise Action Heroes

This time, squeeze them properly. Put your hands inside my T-shirt and squeeze.
Blank Noise Action Hero
Janet

Blank Noise Action Heroes

http://blanknoiseactionheroes.blogspot.com archives your inspiring, brave, spontaneous, and even humorous stories of resistance. Write to us how you dealt with being sexually intimidated/ attacked/ violated/ or 'teased' in public. What worked for you? How did you 'deal with it'? How were you an Action Hero?


Share your story now. You can participate if you have a story to share. If you experienced it or witnessed it, or even heard about it! Find out from mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, strangers, colleagues.

You may find this submission form useful to submit your story or you could even email us your story at blurtblanknoise@gmail.com- subject titled Action Hero Online.

9 comments:

  1. A question to Jasmeen.

    I went through the blog on Action Heroes. There are many of them listed there. Among so many of them, what made you pick Janet's case in particular and put it up here, in bold and large fonts?

    Further, this Action Heroes initiative is good, for not just inspiring other women. It also provides data, which can give some useful insights.

    For each of these, collect data such as time, place, type of attack, no. of persons who attacked, was the place lonely or not, what was the response, how did the attackers respond, as in, if they withdrew immediately or not, and how the woman felt when she was being attacked, and how she felt after shooing off the attackers. More data fields can be created...

    Some of these fields are quite generic, and so, the responses will have to be categorized.

    What do we do with this data? At least, what I have in mind is this: You can try to understand what action yields best results.

    A survey can be probably done as well to get more data.

    What are your thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  2. coffee boy12:56 am

    This is probably one of the worst things to say to an eve-teaser. Overall, it sounded more like a soft porn story. Janet's idea would encourage most eve-teasers.

    ReplyDelete
  3. coffee boy- im not sure if i could agree with you. in this case it was the best thing that happened- he was shocked and taken aback. she was the one in control.

    however none of the action hero stories are there to be cut copied and pasted - the contexts are different. each person's reason for being proactive is different. each person comes in with a different way of dealing with it- because she has had a unique past, unique experiences shaped by her environment.

    every 'body' has a story.

    The stories are archived there to share and inspire readers. its not a list of 'dos' and 'dont's'- and not meant to be seen that way either

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Ignoramus said...

    and Jasmeen replied:

    yes many people have built the blanknoiseactionheroes blog. Each story is inspiring it in own way.

    Janet's was one the most recent ones.

    it is in bold- because of the simple reason - to bring people to the blanknoiseactionheroes blog and
    then hope that each visitor will participate.

    I have also been thinking of what to do with 'data'/ information' or testiomonials.

    I believe that testimonials should be dispersed through a range of media. That is what blank noise has been doing mostly- the blogathon text was translated into letters and dispersed on the streets of different cities with different street actions. the blogathon text was converted to reports and stencilled on street pavements-' night action plan'. Rehaan engineer collaborated with teh blogathon text and made an audio peice that was woven into a performance.
    People's I wish statements in March 2007 were shared on Radio Indigo in Bangalore
    there are several options...ways to work with information- or what i see as testimonials of many people .
    The scale , choice of medium are both extremely important decisions.
    your ideas are most welcome!

    ReplyDelete
  5. coffee boy4:16 am

    Hi Jasmeen,

    Notwithstanding its success in this particular case, Janet's strategy is fraught with the danger of backfiring, apart from also reinforcing the flawed idea that women like to get eve-teased. Please note that I am not finding fault with her. She could have done this either in the heat of the moment or out of complete vexation. I am merely cautioning other women of the dangers of adopting a "similar" (not necessarily cut and paste) strategy.

    Your comments on the reasons for posting these stories are well taken. Let me clarify that I was NOT trying to suggest that this particular story should not have been posted.

    ReplyDelete
  6. hello coffee boy. yes the strategy was hers and hers alone. it may backfire in some cases but then a pepper spray might be sprayed on the person carrying it and it is possible for any strategy to be reversed. each person here is sharing a story that made them feel brave - be an Action Hero. I understand your concern about adopting a 'similar' strategy- and im sure that site visitors that read the range of experiences that have been narrated will clearly understand that there is no one fixed formula. that every situation has been different. every reaction has been different.

    i didnt think you meant that the story should not have been posted...nope.. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is probably one of the worst things to say to an eve-teaser. Overall, it sounded more like a soft porn story.

    Hehe.. do you think Janet would have said it like Silk Smitha would have? If you don't know who silk smitha is, ask a south indian movie buff!

    Simple.. her tone would have conveyed her disgust. And her words conveyed something else. In such cases, the tone makes greater impact. Imagine someone thanking you with a grumpy voice.. would you feel that the person really thanked you?

    Jasmeen..

    Janet's was one the most recent ones.

    I am not convinced that this is the reason. Let me be honest here. You know there is a different reason. Let me tell you why I think this is not the reason.

    Firstly, Janet's story was posted on that blog on 3rd April, and after that there have been posts on
    6th, 8th and 17th April. The blog here itself was posted on 17th April. Thus, when this post was made, and you just wanted to pick the recent ones, you could have picked from any of the 5 stories after Janet's. So, recency isn't a strong factor.

    The truth is, Janet's response was something different. Very different from how most react. And there is something about that response, which has actually made it worthy of being here. I personally liked Janet's response, because it actually displays more courage than the usual responses. And I strongly believe that such a display of courage is more effective in discouraging eve-teasers, than overt display of disgust, insult and embarrassment. There is a reason for me to believe in it strongly, which I shall come to later.

    Before that...

    I agree that each case is unique, and each response, is what the victim could best do at that point in time. However, I disagree when you say that this is not to generate a list of do's and don'ts.

    As I said earlier, sharing experience can not only inspire others, but can lead you to figure out which reactions work better? Mind you, the reaction of the eve-teaser to your reaction IS NOT INDEPENDENT of your reaction itself. And you know it the best.

    When you keep quiet, you know you are giving him no incentive to stop doing what he does. That is precisely why you are encouraging people to react, aren't you? So, you know pretty well that keeping quiet doesn't work. But, if you remove your chappal and beat him, you know he will stop. Because, he got humiliated. So, there is no doubt that your reaction influences his reaction.

    Now, let's evaluate this particular reaction for what it is worth, rather than worrying about the potential risks at this point in time. I agree there are risks, but let's keep them aside for the moment, for the simple reason that if you don't, you may fail to understand its positive side.

    One of the strongly held conventional ideas is that eve-teasers are sexually provoked by the women, and it is the uncontrolled male libido that leads to this kind of a behavior. But you and I know it is not entirely true. Many social psychologists have said that it is the male's way of reinforcing his superiority, by making the woman feel ashamed and insulted. The pleasure an eve-teaser gets by doing these is not sexual, but psychological.

    If that is true, think of what would go through the mind of an eve-teaser when he hears from his "prey" something like what Janet said. It clearly communicates the message that you are not going to let him shame you by those dirty tricks. At the same time, your tone would show your anger, achieving the same result as a chappal hitting would. In effect, you not only are taking away any incentive for him to do that, but also are telling him through non-verbal communication that if he actually does it again, he will be thrashed.

    At this point, if you agree with this reasoning, you may still wonder, is it worth the risk? Let's go a little further...

    One of the things I read in many testimonials is that women very well know that whatever their response is, there is an element of risk. If you keep quiet, the risk is you will get harassed. If you react angrily with chappal in hand, you believe that he may come the next day with a larger gang and harm you even more (this fear was expressed in more than one story). So, clearly, even other ways of reacting have their own risks.

    Now, what are the risks here? The worst case scenario is he will actually put his hand into the tee-shirt and squeeze. But, if you really followed my earlier line of reasoning (based on motivation), do you really think he would do that? Remember, he doesn't have the incentive to do so for two reasons: 1. You are not going to get ashamed, and 2. You are going to thrash him if he really tried doing it. And there is one more reason why he won't do that. Because, your reaction would be something he never expected, and the first thing that a criminal does when he encounters the unexpected is to back off, unless he is bent upon finishing his crime. Eve-teasers aren't bent upon doing what they set out to do, because they know very well that they are doing a shitty thing.

    Just sit back and think about this. If you find sense in it, I really urge some of your more courageous and adventurous girls to try this method the next time, and gauge the reaction from the eve-teaser. Take it as an experiment, and track it to see the effectiveness, before you actually start recommending it.

    And most importantly, in this reaction, you are showing hate against the act, and not the person. This, has a very powerful influence on people's minds. This is what Gandhigiri is about. Condemn the act, not the person who does the act. That very thing can transform the individual. Modern world goes "eye for an eye", and has forgotten the power of love.

    What I say, I agree is highly idealistic, and sounds unreal. It is for this reason alone that this method is not applicable to everyone. Not because it won't work, but because you need extraordinary courage to actually react that way. You know very well that in the heat of the moment, your reaction is spontaneous. You have no time to think. But, if you can train your mind to react in this fashion, believe me, something magical will happen. This reaction doesn't come naturally to most, because, their mind is not trained for it. This entire method is dependent on the power of the mind, and the strong will of the person. Women usually are strong willed, but they have necessarily not realised the power of the mind. You must try doing that, and then see, how things change.

    Anyone who has read about Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale, Gandhi, Jesus and Buddha know and understand the power of love, the power of forgiveness, and the power of the mind. These people became great, because their steely character stood out from the rest. They were effective in touching the soft side of the criminal to transform him into a human being. And they became the heroes which the world adores, because they could rise above their limitations as a human being to do something extraordinary.. nay.. something supernatural.

    And if you must really create a ground-shaking impact on society to root out this evil, one of you has to become a hero of that kind and inspire others. Janet is that hero. I am sure she herself doesn't know the hidden things in her reaction. For her, it would have felt like another normal incident, where she reacted a little differently, for a reason she herself doesn't know. She may herself not react this way the next time... but I want her to read this piece of essay, and see if it makes sense to her.

    Nice fanciful story na? Let's get back to earth, and see what is "practical". :)

    Finally, just to address one more thing that coffee boy raised. Does it actually reinforce the notion that girls enjoy this kind of a thing?

    No. Everyone, more so the eve-teasers, know very very well that women don't enjoy it. Everyone very well knows that this is a plain lie. This is just an argument given to defend the act, and this is also known to everyone.

    People won't start taking this flawed argument seriously just because a few women among a millions take this Road Less Travelled. Even if some day in the future, more people will actually believe that this stupid argument is true, that some day will be so far away that before that time, the power of love would have worked its magic, that there simply wouldn't be enough eve-teasers around.

    Man.. I love myself.. I can write so much!! :D

    ReplyDelete
  8. sorry that i got carried away with my idealism. I don't expect anyone to believe in it. I would be more than happy if the practical reasoning given there is considered, leaving out all the other fanciful thoughts.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  9. @ Jasmeen

    Yes, every strategy has risks, but I personally felt that the risks involved here are higher.

    @ Ignoramus

    "Simple.. her tone would have conveyed her disgust. And her words conveyed something else."

    Which might result in confusion, rather than "getting the message across".

    "The worst case scenario is ..."

    Yes, that is the worst case scenario. Another probable scenario is that he might first ask the girl if she really means what she is saying (especially, since she also caught his hands) - another result of confusion, rather than getting the message across.

    "Everyone, more so the eve-teasers, know very very well that women don't enjoy it."

    Don't be so sure. It depends on the eve-teaser.

    "If you find sense in it, I really urge some of your more courageous and adventurous girls to try this method the next time, and gauge the reaction from the eve-teaser. Take it as an experiment......"

    I am planning another experiment. I will jump from the first floor and see if I break my bones. If not, I will jump from the second floor, third floor ... It is easy to suggest experiments as long as one doesn't have to bear the risks.

    "Condemn the act, not the person who does the act."

    Next time X murders Y, let us not send X into jail. Instead, let us take the "act of murder" and throw it into jail.

    ReplyDelete