‘It’s scary and disgusting,’ started the news report, and just in case that didn’t make you spill the morning tea and make you rush into your daughter’s room to see whether she’s okay, it added, “— and it can happen to you in any city.” An employee working in a sports apparel store in Mumbai taking a picture of a lady changing in a trial room can, indeed, happen in any city.
The logic is impeccable. Any city can have a sports apparel store. And if there is a sports apparel store, there has to be an employee. And among the many decent ones that criss-cross shop floors in all the cities there is bound to be a few rotten apples. Rotten apples when empowered with mobile phone cameras can obviously strike terror in the hearts of women. The fact that the Mumbai episode reported on Thursday is definitely only one of millions of half-naked women caught on camera by voyeuristic folks everywhere is bound to get people all over, Home Minister Shivraj Patil downwards, working overtime to crush this menace.
The closest I came to a similar episode of this nature was in high school where, alas, I was not the victim. Thankfully, the mobile phone was still a twinkle in some lazy engineer’s eye. But the impulse on the part of some men to take advantage of women changing can only be tackled if it is undertaken on a war footing. And the buck really doesn’t stop with the shop owners. It has to be a State issue, where the government needs to ensure that all trial rooms of clothes stores, lavatories and hostels across India have opaque roofs and a solid lock system.
It is one thing to wake up to this new breed of voyeurs and quite another to do something about it. My humble suggestion as someone who thinks through things very seriously is that cameras be installed in all places where women need to undress. That way, we will alway be able to nab those sickos.