I've always been a massive propagator of the ignoring atrocities movement. If someone were to call out "Hey baaayebee" at me, I ignore and walk. If a random man waves at me from a car, I look at him as if he were invisible and move on. My theory in life has been that these men are not worthy of my attention, effort, resources or cognitive reasoning and hence, I ignore.
A small, but significant incident has shattered the passivity within me and proven if my society needs to change, I need to be the one to start doing it.
My friend and I were followed by a man in his car today. The distance was barely a kilometer, the locality was one of the fanciest in the city and it was a scorching and crowded afternoon. I hate the fact that I need to justify the wheres/whats/whys of the incident, because I know questions like Was it late in the evening? Were you out in a secluded area? Were you both girls? Was it a shady locality? crop up every time someone mentions a story like this (and I know, everyone has a story like this).
We could have ignored it. We would have ignored it, had it not been for the fact that today, the country is finally waking up to fight against such antics. Keeping the arrogance of not wanting to deal with such men aside, we reported it. We got the man thrown out of the restaurant and ensured that his car details were submitted to the nearest police station.
How is this helping change anything? We have lengthy discussions about changing 'mindsets' and teaching our children to respect women and inculcate equality in society. I'm sorry, but my children (and those of my generation) are not going to begin respecting women for at least another fifteen years. If we are going to start bringing about change in mindsets starting with our children, we are going to skip an entire generation. A generation of rapes, abuse, domestic violence and honour killings. All because we think we can only bring about the change in our own families....which haven't even come into existence yet.
If I want a safer society, I need to build it myself. Today's eve-teaser is tomorrow's rapist. Stopping him by stepping up and taking action might prevent many other girls from being followed in the future. I used to think that acting against eve-teasing can get me into trouble, giving me sleepless nights. On the contrary, today I'll sleep peacefully, knowing that I've done my bit, albeit a small one, in trying to change my own society.