Eve teasing has become a social menace not only in Bangladesh but also in other South Asian countries like India, Pakistan and Nepal. In fact, it is a global phenomenon. Girls are bullied, taunted, harassed and physically assaulted almost in all countries of the world. This is a problem that comes under juvenile delinquency.
The term 'Eve' is referred to the biblical Eve, the first woman
There are different aspects of eve teasing. The psychological effect of eve teasing remains an everlasting issue in most people's lives. In many cases it shatters great dreams and destroys a girl's life. Its socio-cultural impact is also very grave.
Many psychologists believe that sex, love or fun is not the only motive that men indulge in this behaviour. Eve teasing is closely related to the patriarchal mindset of the male. Men are raised to believe that they are more powerful physically and emotionally than women. They feel that by teasing girls, they are not doing any wrong but just fun.
Women, on the other hand, are made to feel vulnerable and are physically weak compared to men. Teachers of psychology and social scientists believe eve teasing to be a result of the frustrations suffered by a majority of youth. Disappointed by the harsh treatment that they receive from parents and teachers they yearn for an outlet to vent their aggression and depression.
Besides, many who do not inherit good values tend to indulge in acts of sexual harassment. Eve teasing can be seen as a process for boys on their way to becoming men. Considering that sex is not the only motive some experts conclude that the psychodynamics of eve teasing is closely linked to the issue of masculinity and the masculine agenda. At the risk of over simplifying a complex phenomenon the construct of masculinity is usually equated with patriarchy.
Gender segregation from childhood, irregular parental relationships as well as the representation of man- woman relationship in literature and popular cinema, all serve the patriarchal model of masculinity in the mind of the growing male child. A country like Bangladesh where the mother is generally deified, the growing male child does not learn to respect the members of his mother's gender. Whereas women are used to live under male domination, so he moves into the adversarial position. Something during adolescence he focuses instinctively not just on how he can express himself sexually, but also on how he can claim his patriarchal right.
Eve teasing is a traumatic experience for women. It can leave deep psychological scars which can be hard to heal. Eve teasing has resulted into many unfortunate events in the lives of women in our society. Sometimes, it has made parents confining their daughters at home and not sending them to school or even marrying them off at an early age.
Ironically, teasing has dangerous consequences for women as it deprives them of their freedom, nutrition and education. The victims of eve teasing feel helplessness, anger and frustration at not being able to do anything about their being humiliated either in the public or in private.
Incidents of eve teasing can permanently damage the psyche of the victims. It makes them susceptible about everything in life. They find it hard to trust people. They no longer feel inclined to trust their male friends. Sexual harassment or other forms of molestations also impact personal and academic development of women. The experience leaves them bitter for the rest of their lives. Different newspapers and websites keep publishing accounts of disgust, insult and scare experienced by women. No one can explain the truth of eve teasing and sexual harassment better than the female who has gone through it.
Paradoxically, it is women who often blame themselves for having invited harassment. Instead of fighting back, many women tend to believe that it is their fault that they face such situations.
Md Nazmul Haq, Professor of Educational Psychology and Guidance of Dhaka University said that the solution of eve teasing problem is not psychological treatment but social treatment. We have to mend up our society by infusing more civilised norms, preaching through education and collective exercise in practical life.
There is no harm in making society open but it has to be protected with strict legislation. Community-campaign against the socio-psychological menace will also help.