Eve Teasing in University Campus: A Comparative Study between Public and Private University in Dhaka.
Violence against women has become one of the most visible and articulated social problems around the world. It is a critical human rights and serious development issue. It is a universal phenomenon but takes different forms in different forms in different socio-cultural and religious contexts. Eve teasing is one of the most serious forms of violence committed against women by men in more or less all over the world.
The concept of eve teasing vary among and within societies, depending on whether individuals are born and socialized as men or women in a specific socio economic class in a society, universal consensus exists on the key characteristics of definitions on eve teasing or sexual harassment. Generally speaking, definitions used in laws, codes, policies, court decisions and collective agreements throughout the world may differ in details, but contain the following key terms:
- Eve teasing is probably the most common act of public violence against women which includes various forms of harassment like making vulgar comments, making indecent proposals, making unwelcome comments, gestures with hands, legs, fingers or other organs, attempting to make physical contact etc.
- Many kinds of verbal, non-verbal, physical conduct or display of objects or pictures can also be considered as eve teasing.
- Comments about a woman’s looks or body.
- Conduct of a sexual nature and other conduct based on sex affecting the dignity of women and men, which is unwelcome, unreasonable, and offensive to the recipient.
- Conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile or humiliating for the recipient.
Eve teasing is a typical social crime. It is a traumatic experience which can leave deep psychological scars and has negative consequences for the greater community. Parents, who are concerned about their daughter’s honor or safety, sometimes keep them home from school or marry them off at an early age. While Bangladesh has declared sexual harassment illegal, state interventions have been inadequate in stopping it to date. It is a crime easy to commit, but difficult to prove, as eve-teasers often devise ingenious ways to attack women, even though many feminist writers term it as little rapes, and usually occur in public places, markets,in front of school, colleges, universities, streets, public transports and so on. In Bangladesh various reports and research findings show that at least several dozens of girls committed suicide in the last five years and they did so to get a respite from incessant teasing and bullying by males. (The Daily Star, May 8, 2008).
Eve teasing is a serious problem that not only dehumanizes those who are harassed, but also inevitably influences the effectiveness of activities and diminishes the quality of work life. It promotes distrust and hostility between those individuals who are the initiators and targets of eve teasing.
In Bangladesh eve teasing in both public and private university campus initiated by students is most common, it can also be perpetrated by teachers or other employees, and the victim can be a girl student, a female teacher, or other employees.Because of the strict patriarchal social system, it is almost daring for a woman to protest against teasing in the university campuses. That may further endanger her security, on the one hand, and there is possibility that she herself will be held responsible for the incident. In our society, it is usually the girl who is finally held responsible for such incidents.
In fact, within the patriarchal social fabric, eve teasing is a weapon to weaken, hurt or force women to consign to domestic affairs. It restricts women’s mobility in the public sphere, which contributes to their diminishing participation in outdoor activities.
There is increasing realization that eve teasing is a huge threat to women’s empowerment. Altogether, though apparently invisible, the cost of eve teasing in our national and individual life is huge. The picture of eve teasing in the university campus is quite upsetting. Women face different types of sexual harassment in every sphere of their lives. A number of incidents of sexual harassment in some renowned universities were reported in the country’s national newspapers.
1.1) Background of the Study:
Society in Bangladesh, leaving apart the few in center, in its broadest term is traditional. Patriarchy and religious fatwa (religious verdict by the headman of the village or a clergy) still have a great sway. The culture of male dominance pervades all over. Violence and crimes against women is a daily phenomenon. Daily newspapers everyday comes up with voluminous reports of crime against women. Violence and crime against women is wide spread and remains still a serious problem. It would be hard to find any arena where it has not made its mark. As such, eve teasing is very prevalent in the university campus and male students are the main perpetrators of this violence in the campus.
Eve teasing is a euphemism used in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan for public sexual harassment (Street harassment) or molestation of women by men, with eve being a reference to the biblical eve considered a problem related to delinquency in the youth a form of sexual aggression, and a growing menace throughout the Indian subcontinent; eve teasing ranges in severity from sexually suggestive remarks, inadvertent brushing in public places, catcalls, to outright groping, and sometimes with a coy suggestion of innocent fun, just as euphemism used to describe it in the region, making it appear innocuous and hence warrant no liability on the part of the perpetrator, that is why, many feminists and voluntary organizations have suggested that the expression ‘Eve Teasing’ be replaced by a more appropriate expression.
According to them, considering the semantic roots of the term in Indian English, eve-teasing refers to the temptress nature of eves, making teasing a norm rather than an aberration.Eve teasing in the university campus is unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that interferes with a student’s ability to learn, study, work or participate in educational activities. Eve teasing is also known as sexual harassment. It comes in all forms, and in all spheres of a woman’s life. For centuries the academy has been idealized as a liberal, democratic institution that fosters equality and enlightenment. Recently, however, critics have exposed some of the problems inherent in its organization and processes. Among the most vocal expressions of concern has surrounded the issue of women how they are treated and especially their vulnerability to eve teasing. During the last decade, numerous studies of the incidence and prevalence of eve teasing of university students have shed a new and disturbing light on academic life. Incidents in the university atmosphere first came to light in August 1992 when a male student of Jahangirnagar University sexually harassed a girl on the bus. On 31st December in 1999, a female student of Dhaka University named Badhan was harassed at TSC (Teacher and Students Center).
In April 2009, a male student harassed a female student in Dhaka University. The name of the accused is Shimanta.
On 21st February in 2010, a girl was harassed in Dhaka University campus by five male students. In the Rajshahi University, students of the Botany department enforced a strike on the campus demanding removal of Prof Nurul Aman for alleged sexual harassment of a female student of the department. (The Daily Star, May 8, 2006). The sociology students of Rajshahi University went out on demonstrations on the campus demanding punishment for and dismissal of a teacher of the department for his alleged sexual harassment of a female student of the department. (The New Age, May 10, 2006) BNWLA (Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association) recently disseminated studies on eve teasing and violence against women at Dhaka Press club on 25th May 2010. From the research published by BNWLA, it has been seen that 91 percent women have become the victim of eve teasing at some stage of life. Especially 87 percent girls between 10 to 18 years of age become victim of this kind of harassment, the data has been cited by the researcher Nazmun Zaman of BNWLA. From another publication of BNWLA named Violence against Women in Bangladesh, 2008-09, Advocate Soma Islam has presented data of different types of violence in the program.The chief guest, Author Selina Hossein said that, people should be concerned about their moral responsibilities and also encourage others to be responsible about their moral obligations to stop violence against women. The Executive Director of BNWLA, Advocate Salma Ali said that eve teasing is the first step of sexual harassment, so there is no reason for taking it lightly. Professor Shahin Islam, Department of Psychology, Dhaka University emphasized on the responsibilities of family to rare up children and providing them with psychological support.
In private university campus, this kind of violence is also occurring tremendously. There is increasing realization that eve teasing in educational institutions is a huge threat to women’s education as well as empowerment. In summary it can be said that Bangladeshi social norms place many limitations in the way of female students. The increasing politicization of the universities in recent years has led to campuses being dominated by male student cliques allied to whichever party is ruling at the time. This has further worsened the situation of female students, as a recent series of events at Jahangirnagar University, the second university of Dhaka, illustrates.
In this background, this study aims to look at the present situation of eve teasing in the public and private university campus.
1.2) Justification of the Study:
The present study is significant in the sense that it will shed light on this important issue like eve teasing for which no empirical studies has so far been done in Bangladesh. The study aims at harnessing both from male and female students their personal outlook and experience of eve teasing. It also likes to see how the faculty and the administrators account the violence on the campus on university.
There are some existing literature on eve teasing which are illustrated in the below:
According to Shahnaz Huda (1999) eve teasing or sexual harassment is widely prevalent in a variety of forms, and women in every sphere of life are to some extent, whether overtly or covertly, exposed to such persecution. But this issue has not, until recently been addressed with any great seriousness in Bangladesh. A small empirical investigation on sexual harassment was conducted on 78 randomly selected respondents. Respondents included government servants, students, NGO workers, and domestic servants. Approximately 53% answered in affirmative when they were asked whether they had been harassed. The types of harassment experienced were varied with teasing reported as being most common. Other types of harassing behavior included insinuating comments, sexual overtures and threats. According to Alamgir (2001), in case of higher educational institutions, such as universities, many students come from segregated educational systems and find it difficult to cope with the system of co-education. As a consequence, the novelty of being in close proximity with females encourages many inappropriate behavior patterns. In January 1999, a Professor of the Dhaka University was found guilty of sexual harassment. The incident published what many had privately known that harassment in a variety of forms is prevalent in educational institutions. In the larger scheme of things this indifference reflects our society’s attitude towards women.
Shampa (2003,) stated that, sexual harassment at public places is a new term to describe the age-old problem of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. In our society tragedies like Simi, Mahima, Indrani, Fahima, Rumi and many others continue because here perpetrators and culprits recklessly harass the young girls irrespective of the law enforcers which give them free field and impose restrictions and constraints upon the normal life of the girls that sometimes make them feel their lives unbearable. The facts that have been stated above are more or less similar for innumerable reported or unreported cases. The social status of the accused is very common, they are miscreants protected by the ruling power and influential people, dare to harass or rape the young girls or torture them psychologically. The Role of the law enforcers usually gives a free field to the criminals and encourages other such individuals to harass young girls that cause more violence against women. They showed that the causes of eve teasing vary from person to person and from situation to situation. Many of the causes are interrelated, and are linked to the culture and values in society and in companies, and to the roles, relative power and status of the men and women concerned.
Morgan (2004) argued that, in a number of important ways sexual harassment is more like than different forms of violence against women. It is a form of woman control. It is practiced in public workplaces and university campus even inside classrooms. It is common; yet talk of the experience is taboo. Women have been socialized to keep the details of their victimization private. Thus the pain that it brings often goes unnoticed, and the sufferings of its victims are greatly underestimated. Whereas 44% to 85% American women experience sexual harassment during their academic or working lives. The amount of risk a woman assumes varies according to the type of environment in which she performs her work or attends educational institutions. Gupta (2005) stated that, sexual harassment at public places is a new term to describe the age-old problem of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Concern with sexual harassment is relatively recent in Asia and the pacific but increasingly it is being recognized as a violation of human rights which seriously undermines equal opportunity and treatment of men and women. In India 20% to 60% face verbal harassment, 20% to 40% complain of unwanted flirtation and invitation of dates, pinching and so on. In the United Kingdom the actions of sexual harassment have been founded on claims of discrimination and largely confined to the law relating to employment. In United States, however effort is to find sexual harassment beyond discrimination. It is directly related to the modesty of a woman. In India according to a rough estimate out of total crimes committed against the woman in a year 10 percent are of sexual or gender harassment.
Jubayer and Kabir (2005) prepared a report on the issue of eve teasing. They argued that, in a number of important ways eve teasing is more like than different forms of violence against women. It is a form of woman control. It is practiced in public workplaces and university campus even inside classrooms. It is common; yet talk of the experience is taboo. Women have been socialized to keep the details of their victimization private. Thus the pain that it brings often goes unnoticed, and the sufferings of its victims are greatly underestimated. Ferdousi (2006) signified that in Bangladesh eve teasing has become one of the most visible and articulated social problems. In all public places women and girls are subjected to harass. Bangladesh is glaring example of this form of violence. Women of all ages are harassed in the public places- physically attractive or plain, sexily or soberly dressed. A woman’s high rank or status in the organisation, her age or her race, is no insurance or shield: a man may regard her as a special challenge. Eve teasing is thought to be a result of this patriarchal norm. Men are violent to women as a result of shared beliefs about their superiority over women and their innate right to dominate. The unquestioning acceptance of patriarchal gender ideology and gender relation allows and encourages eve teasing.
Ali (2006) stated that, eve teasing is one of the worst forms of abuse from which numerous women regardless of class, profession and age are suffering. She also said eve teasing had created social insecurity for guardians of young girls and paved the way for dropout from schools, eventually leading to early marriage. Though eve teasing is a punishable offence in the Bangladesh Penal Code, it is hard for a victim to prove it in court. Eve Teasing’ is addressing to emerging issues. It is a matter of grave concern in the free movement of Bangladeshi women.
These are just tips of the iceberg. A lot of harrowing stories went unheard. For there is a general tendency among women of all ages to suppress incidents of eve teasing. In Indian subcontinent, people generally have the habit of accusing the victim rather than the harasser (Malladi. S, 1985). One such accusation is that the victim has seduced the accused with her body or flimsy dress. If she did not wear this dress or would not have gone there, the accident could have been avoided. Even in Toronto, Canada, where the society is supposed to be much progressive than Bangladesh. Sophia Voumvaks and Rechard Ericson’s (1984:47) study of the press supports that notion. For it blames the harassed like “if the victim had taken care not to place herself in perilous circumstances she could have avoided victimization”. As such, it is apprehended that a lot of harassed did not their ordeal of harassment for the fear of social sanction and frowning.
Above discussions make it clear that some studies have been done about the eve teasing as well as its consequences. But it can be said that the comparative analysis on eve teasing and other related issues between public and private university has not done yet. So this research can give an idea about the experiences of eve teasing and its consequences faced by girls and women in public and private university. So it can be said it will be more rationale.
1.3) Objectives of the Study:
The major concern of this research is:
- To reveal the experiences and consequences of eve teasing faced by women in public and private university campus and also to compare the situation between these institutions.
In connection with its primary objectives, the secondary or other relevant objectives are:
- The study likes to see the causes of eve teasing that occur in the university campus,
- It likes to see whether eve teasing in campus is different from harassment elsewhere,
- It likes to understand the impact of eve teasing on women’s lives from different theoretical perspectives,
- Finally it likes to see whether universities have policy guidelines to address the problem in the campus and if not what it can do.
Since till now, in Bangladesh no such study has been undertaken, this renders a unique opportunity to venture into a sensitive but important field. As such, the paper aims at highlighting the problem faced by female students at the institutions of higher education. It likes to sensitize the issue given less importance by the policy makers and the university authorities. Its objective is to show to the community what kind of problem does the female students face in the universities. Violence against them on campus can ruin their career. Sexual violence in the campus can shatter the dream of our parents. The psychological, physical and financial bearing of such cases can be immense to the victim and the family. Hence it is time we have to give a serious look into the matter.
1.4) Research Questions:
The main question of this research is:
How do women in university campus experience eve teasing?
In connection with its main question, the sub-questions are:
- Who are the perpetrators or the harasser?
- How do girls and women cope with situation?
- How to overcome the problem?
This research has a broad focus on feminist methodology. Feminists argue that traditional theories have been applied in ways that make it difficult to understand women’s participation in social life. Traditional social science has begun its analyses only in men’s experiences. It has asked only the questions about social life that appears problematic from within the social experiences that are characteristics for men. On the contrary, feminist methodology reveals the questions that are asked and even more significantly those that are not asked and generates its problematic from the perspectives of women’s experiences. It also uses these experiences as a significant indicator of the reality against which hypotheses are tested. (Harding, Sandra: 1987, pp.3-7). Feminist methodology demands that we believe women’s account of our lives, our lived experiences. Once women knew that they would be believed, they started disclosing rape, battery, and incest. (Bart and Moran: 1993, p.231). This research studied women directly and collected data from their own voices. The respondents share their real life experience and as the researcher is a woman they have willingly told about relevant matters.
Selection of the Study Area:
As the study area of this research is university based, Dhaka University, Jagannath University, Jahangirnagar University, East West University and BRAC University are selected. A profile of the study area is briefly mentioned in the below:
The University of Dhaka (commonly referred to as Dhaka University or just DU) is the oldestand the largest public university in Bangladesh with more than 30,000 students and 1,600 teachers. The University of Dhaka was established in 1921. Academic activities started on July 1, 1921 with 3 faculties, 12 teaching departments, 60 teachers, 847 students and 3 residential halls. Today, there are 10 faculties, 52 departments, 9 institutes, 34 research centres, 1,545 teachers, about 30,000 students, 18 residential halls and 2 hostels.Two-thirds of the present faculty possesses degrees from universities in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. Many of them achieved international reputation for their scholarly works. Many also have the experience of teaching in well-known institutions of higher learning abroad.
Jagannath University is situated in the southern part of the city of Dhaka near the Buriganga. This prestigious educational establishment has a history of about 150 years, which started in 1858 when Dinanath Sen, Prabhaticharan Roy, Anathbandhu Mallik and Brajasundar Kaitra founded Dhaka Brahma School in 1858. The name Jagannath School was given by Kishorilal Chowdhury, the Zamindar of Baliadi who took over the school in 1872 and renamed it after his father’s name. In 1884, it was raised to a second grade college. Law was one of the first courses introduced in the college.
Jahangirnagar University established as a residential public university in 1970 has now 27 departments and four institutes, with more than ten thousand students, and almost five hundred academics devoted to teaching and research. The sprawling picturesque campus is situated 30 kilometres from the capital Dhaka, well linked with a national highway. The first parliament of Independent Bangladesh granted the university its Charter in 1973 under which the university is being operated.
East West University:
East West University is a private university located in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. It was established in 1996 by the Private University Act, 1992. Built around a centralized campus in Mohakhali, the university features a range of academic and extracurricular facilities – from a growing library visited by 2,200 users a day to 16 students clubs. Founded by eminent academic personality Dr. Mohammed Farashuddin, EWU offers a number of scholarship schemes, regular seminars that include discussions on subjects significant to national development, and a limited but diverse range of curriculum.
BRAC University is a private university located in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The University was established by BRAC in 2001 under The Private University Act 1992.<href=”#cite_note-0″> BRAC University had its first convocation in January, 2006. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, KCMG is the president of BRAC University.In line with BRAC’s continued support to education, the University has been established to provide a high quality of education to m eet the demands of the modern age. It is a not for profit institution accredited by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and approved by the Ministry of Education, Government of Bangladesh.
Secondary Sources of Data:
In order to understand the problem under the study better at the elementary stage of conceptualization of issues and variables, certain secondary sources were consulted. These sources included relevant books, articles, and reports. In addition to these sources, necessary material related to eve teasing was collected through websites. The collected relevant articles and web addresses have been given in the bibliography.
The Research Method:
The research has done through intersectional lens because it highlights various factors like gender, age, sexuality, language and masculine power.
In this research field data will collect through in-depth interview with the help of the questionnaire. Two different questionnaires will be prepared.
Simple random sampling methods were used to select the sample for the study. Using the sampling techniques, 20 interviews will be collected from the female students who are in new first year (10 from public university, 10 from private university). In this case, the methods that will be used for this study are the combination of in-depth interview and case study.
A formal questionnaire survey is usually deficient in many respects for an in-depth understanding of the complex issues like violence against women. In case of sensitive issues like violence, rapport building is a perfect way to collect information. For this reason we tried to do rapport building with the respondents.
Method of Data Analysis:
The research includes a qualitative analysis. The major characteristics of qualitative research are (a) an ample perspective viewing events, action, norms, values etc. from the point of view of the people who are being studied, (b) Contextualizing behavior, events, etc. within a holistic frame, (c) an inductive, open and flexible approach and (d) a definite concepts and theories reflexively in tandem with data collection during the research process. (Bryman: 1988, pp (61-68). Feminists have developed and experimented with qualitative, politically sensitive research style and experiences heard. From this perspective this research has used a qualitative approach and qualitative statistical form for data analysis.
From 20 in-depth interviews, we have tried to get a perspective of different experiences and events occurred on sexual harassment and eve teasing in University campus. In doing so I attempted to conceptualize the behavior of the harasser as well as the subjects under the broader and holistic socio-cultural framework vis-à-vis the patriarchal social system of Bangladesh. My research also conforms to other aspects of qualitative research that says to adopt an open and inductive approach. We tried to analyze experiences and cases of each of each interviewee and at the end of the report tried to validate or substantiate the findings with the prevailing theories of violence against women and sexual harassment.
Conception from Feminist Lens and Theoretical Framework:
This chapter presents several concepts and theories from feminist lens, which is relevant for the study.
The concept of agency is central to my study and I will draw on the work of Naila Kabeer and others. An important contribution has been made by Honwana (2008) who argued that people could exercise their agency in two ways; Strategies and Tactics. Whereby strategy as the calculation or manipulation of force relationships, which requires a defined physical or social space. In this space actor definitely has autonomy to generate relations with an exterior. On the other hand a tactic is a calculated action taken by someone who lacks autonomy and who is acting in the physical and social space , which is not their own .The significant characteristics of tactical agency, is – the place of a tactic is the space for other and it operates in isolated actions. Tactics are the art of the weak. Subordinated subjects must constantly manipulate events in order to turn them into opportunity. In this study I will explore the ways in which women exercise their agency within the household and the strategies and tactics that develop to challenge or compromise with power relations. Agency and freedom are particularly important goals for women those who, are often treated as passive dependents.
Power is a measure of an entity’s ability to control the environment around itself, including the behavior of other entities. The term authority is often used for power, perceived as legitimate by the social structure. There are many ways those theories of power can explain Eve Teasing individuals with strong needs for personal (control over others) or who have strong dominance needs coupled with hostile attitudes toward women have been found to be likely perpetrators of sexual violence (koss and Dinero, 1988; Koss et al, 1985; Malamuth, 1986; Also Cleveland and McNamara). Unbalanced power distributions in interpersonal relationships are also important in understanding Eve Teasing. Kipnis (1990) has shown how individuals with disproportionate power over others begin to view the others as weak, lazy and worthless and deserving to be treated at the whim and fancy of the power holders. Such processes may be used to explain why some people sexually harass women. Finally a discussion of power cannot ignore patriarchy. In our society as well as in many, men are accorded greater status and power simply because they are men. Growing up in a culture of privilege may create a sense of entitlement to sexually harass women. This perspective on power may help to explain why male students sexually harass students. Power is an important issue in the analysis of many feminist scholars who have written about sexual harassment. The National Council for Research on women (NCRW, 1991) stated the following fact about sexual harassment: “ Sexual Harassment is about power, not sex.”
The academy is, in many ways, a microcosm of the larger society. The differences that do exist, however, seem striking for their exaggeration of roles, roles created and legitimized by an institutional design that fosters power and status inequities ripe for exploitation. The formal academy was instated to educate men for the betterment of society (which was to be achieved by providing educational resources to an elite few whose social status targeted them as the future leaders). Men are teaching men. Women were intruders and their presence was strongly resisted. Today, most academic institutions educate women as well as men. However, the academy is still a male domain, dominated by men, for example, there are more male professors, males hold higher professorial ranks and more top administrative positions. Women’s very presence in the academy represents their movement out traditional spheres and into male turf and is resisted. Academic institutions are structured hierarchically. Students are at the bottom of the hierarchy. Officers (professors, provosts and deans) are at the top. In the middle sit the faculty with their own hierarchical markers. There is little mobility between these categorical ranks and some within them. Students usually remain students until they leave the institution and few faculties are promoted to college president. The professor’s recognition comes from peers, where “he” must be a “man” among men, receive acknowledgement from “his” peers for the quality of “his” work, and, as a result, move into leadership positions and reap the rewards.
Intersectionality is a sociological theory suggesting that and seeking to examine how various socially and culturally constructed categories of discrimination interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels, contributing to systematic social inequality. Intersectionality holds that the classical models of oppression within society, such as those based on race/ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, class, disability, or species do not act independently of one another; instead, these forms of oppression interrelate creating a system of oppression that reflects the “intersection” of multiple forms of discrimination. Intersectionality is an important paradigm for sociological and cultural studies, but there have been many challenges in utilizing it to its fullest capacity. Difficulties arise due to the many complexities involved in making “multidimensional conceptualizations”, that explain the way in which socially constructed categories of differentiation interact to create a social hierarchy. For example, intersectionality holds that knowing a woman lives in a sexist society is insufficient information to describe her experience; instead, it is also necessary to know her race, sexual orientation, class, etc., as well as her society’s attitude toward each of these memberships. The theory of intersectionality also suggests that discrete forms and expressions of oppression actually shape, and are shaped by, one another. Thus, in order to fully understand the racialization of oppressed groups, one must investigate the ways in which racializing structures, social processes, and social representations (or ideas purporting to represent groups and group members in society) are shaped by gender, class, sexuality, etc. While the theory began as an exploration of the oppression of women within society, today sociologists strive to apply it to all people and to many different intersections of group membership.
Maleness and masculinity is not the same thing. We commonly recognize a distinction between facts of biology and masculine identity. Simply being an adult male is not enough; one must in addition be a man, which means more than simply having a male body. Being a man in the fullest sense is a matter of the will, a choice to live in a certain way. A male can be praised for acting like a man, or blamed for not being manly.
Psychology and anthropology support the popular distinction between sex and gender. Sex is what the body is, that is, male or female. Gender is everything that is not limited to the body; it is a complex of behavior, mental qualities, and personality characteristics-everything we mean when we say that someone is masculine, a real man, a Mensch, or (more rarely), feminine, a real woman, a lady. Gender sometimes refers specifically to sexual behavior; that is, masculinity can mean the male desire for heterosexual intercourse, but I do not mean it in that restricted sense. Gender means, in a distinction that is becoming widely accepted, the wide range of qualities and behavior (including the sexual) that make up the realities we call masculine and feminine.
This study analyzes how social practices embodied in the intersection of gender, class and religion calls into question analyses that assume patriarchy as the regular dominant form of social ordering. By bringing the intersectional analysis as an approach, the research will focus on the intersection of class, gender, religion and generation all of which are power relations to define the experiences of women within the acknowledged gender category. The main purpose here is to highlight how these differences combine to create women as what Makkonen defined as ‘a minority within minority’ (2002:19).
There are many different theories as to the causes of violence against women. These include micro oriented theories such as: social learning theory, psychopathology, psychological and physiological explanations, resource theory, and exchange theory. In contrast to micro theories, macro or sociocultural theories focus on the social and cultural conditions that make violence a likely occurrence.
Here some theories on violence, briefly focused on rather than emphasizing any particular one. It is because violent behavior and causes of violence is a complex phenomenon that requires rigorous investigation. A person’s behavior depends on different aspects of his or her social life which is reinforced by multiple factors or issues at the same tome or different time. It is difficult to theorize people’s violent behavior under any set of standard principle. In my study also the findings (participants viewpoints) support this aspect. So it is important to cite a briefly description of all relevant theories to link it further with my findings.
Social Learning Theory is one of the most popular explanatory frameworks for violence against women., suggesting that individuals learn how to behave through both experience of and exposure to violence. Early work looking at the behavior of the offender using this perspective focused on the concept of modeling (Bandura,1973) When individuals observe or imitate behavior they learn what those around them consider appropriate. Social learning theory also used the concepts of classical and operant conditioning from the discpline of psychology. Classical conditioning suggests that learning occurs because of the association of a stimulas with a response. Operant conditioning suggests that learning occurs when a behavior is reinforced.
Besides social learning theory there is Psychological theories which focus on personality traits and mental characteristics of the offender. Personality traits include sudden bursts of anger, poor impulse control, and poor self esteem. Various theories suggest that psychopathology and other personality disorders are factors, and that abuse experienced as a child leads some people to be more violent as adults. Studies have found high incidence of psychopathy among abusers. (Jasinski, 2001).
In some relationships, violence arises out of a perceived need for Power and Control, a form of bullying and social learning of abuse. Abusers’effort to dominate their partners have been attributed to low self-esteem or feelings of inadequacy, unresolved childhood conflicts, the stress of poverty, hostility and resentment toward women (misogyny), hostility and resentment toward men (misandry), personality disorders, genetic tendencies and sociocultural influences, among other possible causative factors. Most authorities seem to agree that abusive personalities result from a combination of several factors, to varying degrees. Adam Dukes argues that all abuse relates to men’s capacity for, and their need to, devalue women and view them in negative ways.
The power wheel model is not intended to assign personal responsibility, enhance respect for mutual purpose or assist victims and perpetrators in resolving their differences. It is an informational tool designed to help individuals understand the dynamics of power operating in abusive situations and identify various methods of abuse.
The Feminist Perspective focuses primarily on the concept of patriarchy and the societal institutions that help maintain it. Feminist analyses of violence against women on the structure of relationships in a male dominated ( Patriarchal) culture, on power, and on gender. The main factor that contrubute to violence against women include the historically male dominated social structure and socialization practices teaching men and women gender-specific roles. Feminist explanations of violence also focus on the relationship between this cultural ideology of male dominance and structural forces that limit women’s access to resources. Violence against women threfore is a result of the subordinate position women occupy in the social structure and this subordination is the cultural legacy of the traditional family.
The Subculture of Violence perspective was originally developed to explain violent actions commited by young, lower-class, minority men. (Wolfgang,1958). This theoretical perspective suggests that certain groups in society may be more likely than other groups to accept the use of violence in specific situations. In this subcultures, violence is viewed as acceptable and is even encouraged. In particular, this framework argues that individuals who are part of the lower class are more likekly to subscribe to the use of violence than are individuals from higher social classes, because violence is a way of life for them. (Jasinski, 2001).
Stress may be increased when a person is living in a family situation, with increased pressures. Social stresses, due to inadequate finances or other such problems in a family may further increase tensions.Violence is not always caused by stress, but may be one way that some (but not all) people respond to stress. Families and couples in poverty may be more likely to experience domestic violence, due to increased stress and conflicts about finances and other aspects.Some speculate that poverty may hinder a man’s ability to live up to his idea of “successful manhood”, thus he fears losing honor and respect. Theory suggests that when he is unable to economically support his wife, and maintain control, he may turn to misogyny, substance abuse, and crime as ways to express masculinity. (Jasinski, 2001).
Alison Jaggar, a renowned feminist who identified Theory of Alienation and fragmentation under the rubrics of sexuality, motherhood and intellectuality. A woman has little or no say abuot when, where, how or whom her body will be used. Women’s body become an object for men. Jaggar said that women are alienated from their own sexuality because they are harassed in every spheres of their lives. A woman is made to feel so unsure of herself she hesitates to express her ideas in public, for fear her thoughts are not worth expressing. She scurries up and down the hallowed halls of academe frequently fearing she will be exposed as a pretender, not possessor, of knowledge. To the extent men set the terms of thought and discourse, suggested Jaggar, women are never at ease. Women must, stressed Jaggar, understand that within the structures of late-twentieth century capitalst patriarchy women’s oppression takes the form of women’s alienation from everything and everyone, especially themselves.( Tong, 1998).
There are many definitions of empowerment and as Malhotra and Schuler (2002) state- “There is a nexus of a few key, overlapping terms that are most often included in defining empowerment: options, choice, control, and power. Most often these are referring to women’s ability to make decisions and affect outcomes of importance to themselves and their families. Control over one’s own life and over resources is often stressed. Thus, there is frequent reference to some variant of the ability to “affect one’s own well being,” and “make strategic life choices.” For example, G. Sen (1993) defines empowerment as “altering relations of power…which constrain women’s options and autonomy and adversely affect health and well-being.” Batliwala’s (1994) definition is in terms of “how much influence people have over external actions that matter to their welfare.” Keller and Mb (1991, as cited in Rowlands 1995) describe it as “a process whereby women become able to organize themselves to increase their own self-reliance, to assert their independent right to make choices and to control resources which will assist in challenging and eliminating their own subordination’’. Cornwall (2007) defined Empowerment of women as about enabling them to gain “power”, exercise “agency” and make “choices’’, “Empowering women” turns “power” into a transferable commodity rather than a structural relation. “Agency” becomes self-assertion – taking control of one’s own life, making one’s own decisions – through self-actualization. Making “choices” says less about the capacity to determine the parameters of the possible than the possibility of selecting the options that development intervention makes available. Kabeer’s (2001) definition of empowerment is more useful and can be applied in Bangladesh. “The expansion in people’s ability to make strategic life choices in a context where this ability was previously denied to them.” The important aspects of this definition are that it sees empowerment as a process and also that women’s agency and choice is see in terms of real alternatives i.e. “that empowerment implies “choices made from the vantage point of real alternatives” and without “punishingly high costs.”(Malhotra and Schuler 2002) and it connects with the capability approach we use which seeks to highlight the ways in which capabilities can translate into functioning’s.
We think that this notion of “women’s empowerment” is a more political and trans-formatory idea for struggles that can challenge not only hegemony of patriarchy, but also the mediating structures of class, religion in Bangladesh that determined the nature of women’s position and condition in our society in a realistic way.
This chapter mainly explored the necessary theoretical framework, including their limitations. First the assumptions underlying that the conventional household theories do not hold true for Bangladeshi household. Where men and women are engaged in income generating activities and all members are frequently bearing the unequal gender power relations. Second, the household bargaining theories captured the existence of unequal power relations but do not relax the resource pooling by family members. The lives of women in and outside are shaped by socio-cultural and religion aspect which determines the path of bargaining power. The framework shows that middle class women as operating their agency within the vulnerability context and biased institutional setting that shapes their access to resources which together determine their intra-household power and position. Their agency, position and status are forcefully situated. The peculiar socio-cultural atmosphere mediates to women’s choice, access to capital and context.
Data Findings and Analysis:
This chapter focuses on the major findings identified from the research. The present study is mainly qualitative one. The findings of the study, which is based on small number respondents, indicate that eve teasing is an issue that was not dealt with much seriousness in the university until the recent past. From the major findings of this research it is clear that eve teasing is addressing to emerging issues. It is a matter of grave concern in the free movement of Bangladeshi women. It has become a serious issue resulting in terrible and sometimes horrifying consequences. Though eve teasing is considered as a public nuisance all over the world, in our country it has gradually become brutal form of sexual harassment often resulting in grievous hurt, abduction, acid throwing, rape murder and forced suicide. The major finding as well as analysis of this study are depicted in the below:
3.1) The perception of Eve Teasing provided by the Respondents:
One of the staring point of inquires of this study was to assess how respondents conceptualize or see eve teasing.
According to both students of public and private university, eve teasing implies:
- Unwelcome comments,
- Making indecent proposals,
- Gestures with hands, legs or fingers,
- Aimlessly laughing,
- Vulgar comments,
- Many kinds of verbal, non verbal physical conduct,
- Comments about a woman’s looks or body,
- References about dress or appearance,
- Conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile or humiliating for the women.
3.2) Eve Teasing as Experienced by the Respondents:
One of the respondents from Public University said that, “when I walked in my campus some male students said me Hijra (eunuch). At first I did not understand that they said me this rubbish comment. But a few days later I understood it.”
From the findings in Public University campus it reveals that:
- 45% of respondents face unwelcome or vulgar comments in the campus,
- 10% of respondents face gestures with hands, legs or fingers, many kinds of verbal, non-verbal physical conduct.
- 5% of respondents face unwelcome invitation to lunch in the campus,
- 5% of respondents face unwelcome song that indicates their beauty,
- 5% of respondents face different conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile or humiliating situation for them.
From the findings it is clear that, 75% of respondents answered that they face different types of eve teasing in the campus area, while 25% of respondents said that they did not face it.
Again it is found from the Private University campus that, only 5% of respondents face different types of eve teasing in their campus arena.
Case Study: 1
Eve teasing as experienced by the Respondents:
Name: Shampa (pseudo name)
Marital status: Unmarried
Shampa is a first year student of Jahangirnagar University. She faces teasing in the campus frequently. When she walks in the campus she faces some unwelcome comments. She said some male students are the perpetrators, may be they are the political leaders but she does not know them. When she faces it she does not protest it because of fear, or facing any danger again. She does not walk in alone now. Thus her mobility has restricted in the campus. She said those who teased women they have lower mentality, negative attitude towards women. Socialization process and male supremacy also encourage a man to tease a woman. She also mentions that her male classmates sometimes tease about her dress because she wears jeans pant and fatua (an informal dress like tee-shirt). She said it is necessary to change male students’ mentality to stop this forms of violence in the campus.
Case Study: 2
Eve teasing as experienced by the Respondents:
Name: Sonia (pseudo name)
Marital status: Unmarried
Sonia is studying in East West University. She thinks that eve teasing is a major problem in our society. She said eve teasing is not more pervasive in their campus. But one day she was gossiping with her friends. Suddenly some male students passed unwelcome comment about their body and appearance. Sonia asked them about the reason of saying this comment. But they said they did not tell them. They are talking themselves. After hearing it Sonia and her friends become embarrassed tremendously. Sonia said male domination and women’s subordination are basic tenets of social life in Bangladesh. This encourages eve teasing vastly. She said it is the males who are mainly responsible for eve teasing. So they should be sensitized at first to prevent eve teasing.
3.3) The Perpetrators of Eve Teasing as Identified by the Respondents:
It is found from Private University, one respondent said, “I think the perpetrators of eve teasing come of low status family. They are culturally, mentally blocked and to me though the world has changed a lot they have not changed much. Mentally they live in mediaeval ages physically though in 21st century. But again I wonder when I see those men of letters, men of reputation also being indicted for the offense.”
One respondent from Public University said that, “ to my mind, both educated and uneducated men who resort to eve teasing are of inferior quality. Only education does not enlighten men because the family he comes from, the culture he inherits all contributes to the making of man. As such I don’t wonder if educated men harass a woman. It is all the same whether he is educated or not.”
It is found from the research that, female students are harassed by their classmates, senior students or unknown persons. But now a days it has been widely ranged that female students have to put up with inappropriate behavior from male teachers. The respondents also said the perpetrators belonged to, the student wing of a political party. Irrespective of which party they belong to students who are cadres of political parties often harass them who are too frightened to report or talk about such harassment.
3.4) The Measures taken by the Respondents as well as Institutions:
Research findings reveal that 97% of respondents said from Public and Private University that they do not take any measures when they were teased in the campus. They ignore it because of fear, or getting bad reputation. They also remain silent.
A respondent from Dhaka University said that, “To the best of my knowledge Dhaka University has not any specific policy for addressing eve teasing”
From the interview it is clear that Public University is not interested for such policy to combat eve teasing. They think that eve teasing is an exceptional incident here. It is not a big issue here.
It is also found that in Private University, institutions took some measures against the culprits, such as dismissing them from institutions or dropping one or two semesters. But there are no specific strict laws to deal this kind of sexual harassment in the university campus in both sectors.
There is also an implicit acceptance for women being harassed. Many women do not protest because it would give ammunition in the hands of those who do not believe in challenging women’s traditional role in society and it is a good argument to support women’s segregated roles within the society.
And only 3% of respondents said that they protested it. But they have to face further harassment.
3.5) The Causes of Eve Teasing as Identified by the Respondents:
The maximum number of respondents from private university said that, “socialization process and family structures allow eve teasing, it is also a learned behavior, and even the media portrays eve-teasing”.
From the interviews in Public University the maximum number of respondents said that that, “patriarchal social system is the first and foremost cause of eve teasing”. And other causes behind it as identified by the respondents from both universities are given below:
- 90% of respondents said that patriarchal social system (male supremacy) allows and encourages eve teasing,
- 50% of respondents said socialization process and family structures allow eve teasing, they said it is also a learned behavior, even the media portrays eve-teasing as an acceptable mode of entertainment for young men,
- 40% of said negative attitude towards women, lack of morality, lower mentality,
- 4% of said lacks of strict laws also promote it.
From the study it can be said that respondents strongly feel that eve teasing is, above all, a manifestation of power relations. This viewpoint is supported by the Power and Control theory discussed earlier in this paper.
Women are much more likely to be victims of it precisely because they more often than men lack power, are in more vulnerable and insecure positions, patriarchy, lack self confidence, or have been socialized to suffer in silence. The problem of eve teasing relates to the roles, which are attributed to men and women in social and economic life, which, in turn, directly or indirectly, affects women’s positions in the society. From the study it reveals that socialization process also encourages eve teasing. In sociology the concept of socialization refers to the process where by individuals learn the culture of the particular society they live in. Again it can be said
The study findings also suggest that eve teasing is a learned behavior. This validates the Social Learning Theory that says, People learn from observin