My wife and our daughter, aged 12, walk home every afternoon. They enjoy their walks, but they’ve been harassed by all sorts of men including commuters, taxi drivers and even school students, in uniform, younger than our son.
The eve-teasing is offensive and hurtful. Yet, they’ve continued to walk, even if they have to suffer sexual harassment, hoping that, sooner or later, we, men, will learn to respect our women, and permit them the freedom and simple pleasure of walking home from school or work.
During their walk today, they met the procession of vehicles carrying effigies and other remnants from the Jana Chidey prayer ceremonies. The men yelled catcalls at them; then they threw some remnants at them; and when my wife protested, they bombarded them with even heavier remains from the prayer ceremonies.
And who were the perpetrators? A couple of monks, in robes. And four policemen, in uniform.
My wife and daughter were harassed by monks, whose mission it is to spread the dharma, and by policemen, whose job it is to protect our citizens.
So they’ve decided to stop walking. They’ve given up. They’ve realized that eve-teasing in Thimphu is not just offensive and hurtful – it’s dangerous. They’ve decided, wisely, that, even in the middle of the day, Thimphu’s roads are not safe for women.