When you have an argument with your partner, make sure you watch your volume and tone of voice. You won’t think you’re yelling, but your partner might.
Love and Sex Info
“I’ve never felt so guilty in my life,” says Anmol. He’s been with his girlfriend for two years but lately he’s found himself fantasising about her best friend.
“I don’t want to mess up my relationship over something like this but I really don't know how to get her friend out of my mind,” says Anmol. “I’m turned on every time I’m around her.”
Last weekend I hiked to some mountains just outside Bombay. It was pleasant, except that I felt harassed by a male co-hiker.
And to my utter surprise, I stayed quiet and avoided confrontation. Whatever happened to the won’t-take-bullshit rebel/feminist inside me?
It was a group of 25, of whom I knew about five very well. One of the reasons I like hiking in big groups is because it lets me meet new people, who share my interests.
In a largish group like that, trust is essential on various levels. You want to feel secure leaving your belongings with others, you want to trust others with helping you out when you need them, you want to feel safe in their company.
Goes without saying, you don’t want to spend a weekend in the outdoors around someone who sexually harasses you. Well, I wasn’t that lucky.
After the ascent on the first evening, we unpacked and set up camp. Dinner was followed by campfire. Conversations around were lively – some singing and dancing, a lot of merriment.
But soon, I began feeling uncomfortable around a much older male co-hiker (the harasser). He kept putting his hands around me and I kept brushing him away. I maintained distance but remained polite.
“He’s drunk,” someone told me. Well, that was no valid excuse. But I took responsibility for diffusing the situation – I moved farther from the harasser and mingled with other campers.
Soon, he began making drunken gestures across the bonfire asking me to sit beside him. I avoided eye-contact and ignored him.
A couple of hours later, I heard another female co-hiker complain of the harasser’s misconduct. “He tried touching me. I was sitting next to him and he tried sliding his hands under me,” she told me.
She added, “I can’t handle this. I don’t want to create a scene here because it’s been a nice evening so far. If it wasn’t that, I would slap him.”
I was furious. I asked her why she didn’t let him know that she was uncomfortable. “It’s best you tell him because then he might stop, you know? Complaining to the rest of us doesn’t really matter,” I told her.
And I made a conscious note that the same rule applied to me. If the harasser misbehaved again with me, I wouldn’t stay quiet.
An hour later, I decided to sleep. Made my bed at the campsite where a few other campers were asleep. I did a quick mental check:
“Is the harasser around? No, he’s asleep at the other end. Phew.”
Relieved, I went to sleep. A few minutes later, I was woken up by some movement close to me. I turned around to find the harasser in his sleeping bag lying less than a foot away.
Sheesh! It was one of the most uncomfortable, creepy feelings I’ve had in a while. He hadn’t spoken a word, he hadn’t touched me. At least, not yet. And I wasn’t going to hang around for any of that. Not knowing what to say myself, I hurriedly woke up and sprinted towards a couple of friends.
Soon, I found another quiet corner to sleep. A friend volunteered to stay guard around me. After the initial recovery from the incident, I spent the night wondering why I had run away, why I hadn’t confronted the harasser.
I had advised the other woman who was harassed by him to speak up – the same evening against the same harasser – but hadn’t spoken up myself. What was wrong with me?
I know the rules of harassment very well. The harasser capitalises on the harassed’s feeling of being powerless. And in his eyes, I turned out to be just that – powerless.
In reality though, I wasn’t powerless. I wasn’t alone. I could have put the harasser in his place. I could easily have gathered support from the other hikers, if necessary. But I opted out. Why?
“Sometimes you find it more important to get out of a situation than deal with it,” a friend of mine said.
Sure, I thought. A week later I still wonder how things would have been had I ‘dealt’ with the situation instead of cowering out of it.
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