Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How to handle men???

Oh no I'm not at all an expert here and would be the last one to give any advice on this topic. ;) If you are a girl and came here to get some dating tips I am so sorry to have disappointed you..

Anyway I started this topic for a different reason. Someone came to my blog looking for "How to handle men neighbors while staying alone". Unfortunately she got only the thief story and some comments there. But it triggered a thought process in me. I have been staying alone for 2-3 years now and before that I was 'virtually' staying alone. In the sense my cousin used to work in evening shifts and reached home only by 3-4 am when I will be deep in sleep. Same way when I get up he would have snarled under the blanket and we never got a chance to meet. We used to communicate via notes on the almirah and meet only during weekends. If either of us had to travel on weekends even that won't happen. There have been times where,in spite of staying under the same roof, we have met face-to-face after a month or two and wondered stuff like u have gained/lost weight!!!

Sorry I am digressing.. Coming back to the point, at least in the place that I am currently staying, I feel so safe and secure especially because my landlord is very protective and filter out all the unnecessary and unwanted visitors who comes in different shapes and forms like door to door marketing / beggars / fund raisers etc. Also he make sure all the visitors I get are people whom I know well. But the problem is trouble always comes from the most unexpected sources rather than from complete strangers. These 'known' devils can come in any forms/shapes like say the middle aged 'friendly' neighbor (whose children are as old as you) who offers you a 'good time' if you accompany him alone to his farm house or may be even a close relative who is trying to make a pass at you..

And workplaces are not an easy place either. While some bosses like to conduct looong(3-5 hrs) one-to-one meetings every single day on the same subject for months together there are some others who always have a clarification just when you are about to leave and this will go on for hours. And once you somehow get out of the meeting, they will be too 'concerned' to offer a lift home. Then there are others who need a status update every hour and their proximity will be such that you will start doubting whether they have some hearing problem. I have also come across a cheapo boss who hacked into one of his subordinates machine and accessed all the private data and photos. And many a times we girls share our solos and girls only group snaps only within the girl's gang. And this guy intelligently accessed other girl's file shares from this machine and got access to those photos!! Problem here is most probably the targets will be the fresher/less experienced girls who won't have the courage to react to a person in power.

And then the roadside cameos. A friend has explained how she handled one here and this is just one sample. Have faced situations where people in cars/bikes offers you a lift and they gets so angry if you ignore them and just walk off. One of my friend was once dragged to a car that too in a busy street just in front of the office. Luckily she was saved by some passers by. Now if you thought it's only people using public transport who have this problem you are mistaken. If a girl is riding a vehicle, there are people who tries their best to throw them off balance or create a dent/scratch in the car and then they will blame the girl for improper driving. Once Me and a friend was coming back from Nagarhole and there was an Omni following us for almost an hour in the Mysore-Bangalore stretch. Although it was a four lane and they could have easily overtaken us, all the time they were behind us blinking the headlight. How much ever we slowed down for them to go in front they were coming in the side trying to be too close. It was just too irritating..

So the question here is how to handle these men?

1) It's easier to tackle the first category of known devils as they are mostly cowards just trying their luck on any random person. You don't even have to waste your words as just a sharp look will make then run for cover and they won't dare to show their face again.
2) Workplaces is more tougher coz it is difficult to ignore/avoid contact with your teammates/superiors whatever the case may be. But no point in suffering silently like most people tend to do. Instead it's better to react openly and if it still doesn't end there, don't hesitate to complain to higher officials/HR.
3) For me the absolute strangers are more difficult because we have no idea whether they are maniacs or mentally retarded or demeans. So as much as possible I try to get out of that situation/place. But yeh that's not a solution. I admire Sini's courage to react and confront them.

Whatever I described here are just a few samples that came to mind as I sat down to wrote this. I am sure every single girl will have one or other such similar stories to tell with varying severity. May be I should ask you how you handle/have handled such situations? The floor is all yours..

PS: Don't mistake that all men are like this. I have so many good male friends who are very understanding and supportive. But the problem is although the above said species are a minority(?), it really makes the girl very insecure and depressed..


--xh-- said...

to deal with the third kind of men, learn some martial arts - it will help u if u eve get into trouble, and it boosts your self confidence and morale a lot...
office is the most difficult place, but there is no point in suffering silently. some times, a tight slap or a couple of sharp words will make the wayward men realize where they actually stand.

!!!!ഗോപിക്കുട്ടന്‍!!Gopikuttan!!!! said...

Most of the time the problem is girls are not responding. The silence is always encouraging for those kind of people. I have seen men in buses enjoying the mild touches and many of my girls friends have told me about these things. The solution is the same, in a public place you have the option to respond to the person and can ask him to move away from you. And I have noticed one more thing that the men in ages of 40s and 50s are more involved in these kinda acts. Self protection is the best mean, learn and teach it from childhood. But in our traditional houses when a girl starts questioning or if she laughs louder she becomes a bad girl all in sudden. The out look should be changed

Anonymous said...

November 25. International Day for elimination of violence against women! :)

nilu said...

great post which any girl can relate to dhanya!

Anonymous said...

Really gr8 post Dhanya!!!
I think I am experienced with all the three categories of people mentioned by you.
For the first type of person, we generally dont entertain much neighbours, except for a 4 or 5 who are close...Else only a hai, bye relationship is there. Initially such people like marketing/beggars/fund raisers were sort of irritation. Now the solution we have at home is we have got done a grill after the portico which will be always locked other than the gate and the front door which will be opened always when at home:) We dont open this grill for anyone else other than whom we are interested, else will tell other person went with key, i dont have key :)

Then in office, its the most tensioned state, like whether should we raise the voice or not...If its our boss, whether it will affect our future or so.... we will be worried I know....But the better option is always to inform HR and make him either team changed or if no other way, we should change the team:) Dhanya.... I know how we handled this within our girl's gang.

In native and all, I have seen, most of the girls, silently tolerating the disturbances of these type of men in buses.... since they are brought up in a traditional family where they are not allowed to raise voice in public...most of the time they keep quite on this fear... I remember I have even raised voice for others in the buses.
In Bangalore, I have faced the problem of people/vehicles following in the back mainly during power cut time (around 7.00 PM also)...still dont know what was their such cases neighbours will help out.once i faced such situation, i start speaking to my neighbour on mobile and entered their house, as it was before reaching mine :) Dont know otherwise how to escape such situation when you are alone.

Anyway Dhanya, good initiative!

Usha said...

dhanya, I was in the middle of doing this tag on feminism. I take a break and take a stroll along my reader, only to bump into this post of urs.. n im like.. hey hey, i just wrote about it too!! :)

u bet every girl would have her share of bad experiences to recollect as well as shed some light on how they dealt with it.

growing up in Kerala, these 'njaramburogis' in buses were the biggest bane for most of the schoolgoing girls. I never had to take a bus to school then, but then I've heard many girls at school talking about it. I remember one of the nuns at school addressing it. She asked, "Have you ever taken your chappals off and hit them? Do that, and see how many people in the bus stand by you". I started using public transport much later, but by then, I knew how to harass men who were keen on harassing me. Trust me, its actually fun. The only case where you need to watch out is when there's a gang of them. In which case, it's best to avoid taking that bus and wait for the next, mebbe. Gosh.. the bus episodes took me some 10 years back the mem lane. Im sure this should work even in these days.

While driving, you tend to come across a lot of men who try to scare you to lose your balance or whatever. Best way is to make sure you are good at driving yourself , which naturally comes with practice.. by then, you would be able to sense the kind of jerks who do these tricks, which helps you being better prepared to scare them off balance / sideline them the moment they decide to intimidate you. The best way is to play in to their trick and swing ur scooter as though u've actually lost balance and are going to hit them bad!!

At office, things could get real bothersome as you'll have to deal with it tactfully. I guess you've mentioned the best way to deal with it. I was plain lucky enough to have never had that kind of issues from my teammates/superiors. touchwood!
but from experience, i know, when a girl stays alone, people kind of take it for granted that she's single and available and lonely n all that, and would be an easy prey.
another fact, if you have some good guy friends at office/ have quite some influential friends in other teams / have a good rapport with higher ups, then these hideous elements tend to stay off from you naturally, as most of them are pretty cowardly people who are desperately trying to get an ego boost by intimidating the helpless fresher girls.

Anonymous said...

"it really makes the girl very insecure and depressed.."

Tell me about it. I do not trust anyone because every stranger might turn out to be like that! Too bad when I consider there might be handful of good men out there after all. :P

Vadapoche said...

Hey Dhanya, its sad that there are people like this and from your point of view in a majority. I do know one thing that a street dog will bark and often we walk away but the moment we stand still and stare at the dog it slinks away with its tail between its legs. Some men are like street dogs (I hope my Melissa forgive mes, not insulting her) if you stand up to them they are unsure as to what to do next. But be warned that some can be dangerous, then i advise a pepper spray straight in the eyes and scoot!

PS Took your tag

Jeseem said...

what happened to girl's weapons, frown, fake engagement ring, pointed high heels and pepper spray.
more seriously,somehow guys misbehave with women in India. If it is smone in office, most big mncs have a very strict policy, so talking to your hr is best policy.
on the road, well it is best to drive 4-wheeler, if you can afford one.
On the good part, I do think the number of good guys are on the rise.

Dhanya said...

@ --xh-- : Yes I had thought of it long back but didn't materialize. Instead I used to carry a small penknife with me when in school n college!! In fact reacting to such situations is easier said than done :(

@ !!!!ഗോപിക്കുട്ടന്‍!!Gopikuttan!!!! : It's not that the girls doesn't want to respond. But most cases the affected girl will be in a totally devastated state that it's tough for her to respond.

@ Hari Krishnan : Oh I didn't know bout this. Good timing then ;)

@ nilu : Yeh Nilu. I was sure all girls could relate to it :(

@ Resma : Thank you Resma for taking the pain to pen down your thoughts..
Even I don't entertain neighbors and hardly speak to them. But since I'm staying here for years, whenever I see them face to face used to give a courtesy smile. Never expected someone to make such a pass to a person they are speaking for the first time in their life!!! So I guess he is a seasonal and pity his wife and kids.
And office superiors is tough. But we were quite smart in handling them right? ;)
In public, many a times girls don't respond because there won't be anyone to be in their side. That's a sad state in our society

@ usha : Cool you too have written about this? I'm waiting to read your post..
I'm also a rare user of buses in kerala as my school/college were all in walking distance from home. But I have had some bad experience during the b'lore-kerala bus travel!! One of the reasons why I always prefer train..You should be really courageous to harasses them back gal.. Hats off to you..
And yeh I guess your trick would work. But those days I was too naive that I was scared even to confront them when they had made damages to my vehicle intentionally. It would have been a different story now :)
Initially when my roommate used to complain about her nasty boss, I used to tell that my company is too good and there is no such species here. But that confidence didn't last for long.But I am happy that I have handled them effectively and also helped some others to come out of the pit..May be I should thank them for converting me from that timid and scared-to-raise-her-voice girl to this bolder self.. Everything has a good side.. Don't they :)

@ Sini : That's bad Sini.. Don't worry. There are only very few who are bad and all others are really good.. So give people benefit of doubt.. You will be in for a surprise :)

@ JollyRoger : Hey I don't think it is a majority but it's true that they are omnipresent! Yeh I fully agree to your analogy as Sini experienced exactly the same thing.. Pepper spray is a good idea too..

@ Jeseem : Have no idea as I haven't tried out any of those.. Yeh it can be assured that things will be dealt with once it reaches the HR. But reaching there is the problem..

Anonymous said...

Oh, don't expect things to get better immediately if you complain to the HR. In my last company when a girl went and talked the HR saying she is not comfortable of all the touching her manager seems to be doing, the HR actually said that is his nature. He doesn't mean bad and he just is so 'open' with everyone.

She was quite sorry about it later when he turned out to be much more open about his needs than that. :P I will give her that she accepted she made a huge mistake.

And I am hearing about another boss in a company who is on the rise in career ladder and with more and more women in the team even though many girls had filed a complaint about him. They were timid about it, yes, but they brought their concern to the HR's notice. I think the HR is waiting for him to actually hurt a woman or something before they take action!! And this is a big MNC with all the laws clearly defined!

ap said...

At times I do wonder its tough being born a woman,after my friends open their can of stories...And girls have to put up with this all around the world!!!!!

Santosh said...

Quality thoughts there.

Since we know many of these guys are real cowards & they get their strength from the girls who meekly accept the behavior. Clearly stating (not threaten - that may turn nasty) that this behavior is not acceptable & you clearly know the policies around that will make most of these kind back off - ofcourse that works only in your work environment where there is a policy binding.

Outside, making a big noise about the behavior may work - which will make them back off. Ongoing harassment is something that I have personally witnessed with some of my friends - especially if you dont have a big brother or chacha(cheriachan) somebody like that at home - Being a part of a larger circle of friends also helps! That helped for some of my friends.

Off the topic: I know a case in my organization where a girl filed a harassment case - where her manager called her up & knuckled her for messing up with a big delivery because she used to consecutively miss delivery deadlines & used to deliver real buggy code. Things get tricky here when somebody start misusing the policies & benefits to their advantage.

Santosh said...

Or even a handful of cops on the road like this one might also help! :)

Anonymous said...

nice post dhanya. i guess its mostly abt a strong word / look (like the sharp stare or a 'can u move away a bit') followed by ignoring or avoiding whichever suits the situation. hesitation or silence is only going to encourage such men. i can understand when u say that 'the affected girl will be in a devastated state', but its not gonna help if u keep silent. also, i dont think taking it to hr is a gud thing to do, since it can result in them becoming vengeful. most people will stop at the first signs of protest or a warning to take it up. besides, atleast for the urban girls, the laws are stringent enuf with strong IPC sections and harassment committies in all offices. it shud be taken up only with repeat offenders after atleast one warning

Anonymous said...

Hmm good read ... it is easy to say 'complain HR' ..!! But it is our career which ultimately gets screwed up .. So if you think job is important handle these BigB's personally ..

This is from my experience.

Anonymous said...

You have already echoed my answer - react, always and anywhere, react. I keep telling girl friends this - they tend to ignore seat-pushers in theaters and skin-prickers in buses. Instead choose to stay uncomfortably, convincing self that it must be something else, not the men. But I'd say, reaction, even turning back to look would do a lot for you. Just dont sit there taking it all - you were not created to be breathing stones.

Sreejith Panickar said...

Happy xmas and ny to you!

Dhanya said...

@ Sini : Yes I know this happens. But it helps when a bunch of people go and complain. They can't ignore then. In fact when I had to complain there was no one to support me although everyone was in a bad state. So after telling my concerns I told the management to get anonymous feedback from the entire team which incidently was all girls (He was too clever in selecting people for his team too). It was in that session that everyone opened up like never before and he was asked to resign.

@ ap : I am not sure of that.. I love to be born a woman inspite of all these. And ofcourse there are places where woman need not put up with these non-senses. Once I got lost and was roaming at 1 am in Germany with absolutely no clue of where I was and where to go. But the only fear that I had at that time was that I might freeze in the cold. But imagine the same here?

@ Santosh : The problem is it is easier to say but very difficult to follow when you are actually facing such a situation. Many a times after the incident is over I have felt I should have reacted properly or reacted in a different manner. But when you are in that situation nothing comes to your mind other than to get out of it asap.
And yes I understand that whenever there are policies there is a chance to misuse them as well. As I have mentioned in the prev comment taking feedback from different people really helps in such cases. Such persons will always have a history !!!

@ sandeep : Yeh I know being silent doesn't help. I hope everyone reacts and bring an end to this..

@ Roops : I know what you are talking about. It is good if you are capable of handling it personally. But many a times that's not the case and so will have to get help. If you have strong evidence HR will have to help you out.

@ Cris : Yes I know. Many a times I have also choosen to stay uncomfortably but I guess now I know how to handle it.. We mature with age u see :P

@ Sreejith Kumar : Yeh wishing you a very happy x-mas and New year 2009. Have a blast :)

Sadhana said...

Though I'm very late to comment on this I agree with all 3 categories u have mentioned.. But I have come across the 3rd category of ppl many a times traveling between mysore and blore.. I just raise my voice.. I cannot tolerate after certain limits. I dont even think of what might be the result of this.. Once I shout at them, the ppl around would definitely join me in some or the other way.. Somehow I cannot keep quiet at that moment...

Dhanya said...

@ Sadhana : Yes I know speaking up is the way against this and I think we all need to do that just like you..