Bangladesh: Meat and entitlement: a woman without a husband

The continual stares expressing rape, disdain, meat, and entitlement wear me down.

It is relentless.

Women are taught that we cause and invite revolting and socially accepted harassment.

Anger, disgust, helplessness.

And more anger.

The blatant shamelessness of the leering, catcalling, feral cat noises, creepy guttural sounds, following, curb-crawling in rickshaws or cars, groping and general vileness horrifies me.

Men and boys from all facets of society practice this loathsome national sport. Not all men do this: most will pass by with a curious glance. But enough do for this to occur over and over during a day.

The man in the lift today: staring, staring, staring, up and down.

The teenager who turns around on the escalator to leer and stare at my shrouded chest for the entire ride. Angrily I make eye contact. He has no dignity of self-consciousness. He continues to ogle. My anger, my violation, means nothing to him.

The man on the street who pulls his lungy up when he sees me, and masturbates. Vigorously.

Why should I feel pathetically grateful when the occasional stranger steps in to shield me from the horror of being a woman in Bangladesh? Why should I have to ask a male friend to wait with me for the car? Why do I need to wear these clothes, wrapped up in the heat?

I’m a sexualised piece of meat, irrespective of what I wear, or how I conduct myself. I am nothing more than a uterus that some man has let out of his house.

Nothing more.

The urge to follow the lead of so many women and girls here, and throw a big black sheet over my head is palpable. Just have my eyes exposed. Just make it stop.

I am at a loss at to how to react. Making angry eye-contact either has no effect, or encourages the behaviour. Telling someone to stop only excites. Any reaction is seen as interaction, and the harassment increases.

I don’t make eye contact, and avoid looking at people’s faces now. I don’t want to see the leers.

No man can possibly understand the mental toil it takes to be a woman in Dhaka. I will never get used to this. This will never be ok.

I should not have to accept this to be able to survive.


Bam! This link will land new stories from a Very Small Animal in your inbox:


This post was later published across the Guardian newspapers, and syndicated in Bangladesh:

Screenshot 2017-12-09 16.12.10