I was originally planning to write a post about how fun it is to celebrate Chinese New Year in Yangon and post some pretty pictures. I am having a lovely time here but I know my writing can often be negative. Unfortunately, a bunch of men decided to be disgusting today, so I shall have to continue to be negative.
While my sister and I were trying to have a good time at the Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown in Yangon, a bunch of perverts decided to ruin our night.
Pervert 1 – As we were standing in a crowd of people waiting for a lion dance performance to start, we noticed that the man in front of us was taking a lot of pictures and videos. Since the dancing hadn’t started yet, we thought it was strange and glanced over. We quickly realized that he was taking pictures and videos of a young woman standing across the street from us. She looked like she was just a teenager and he was clearly in his 40s, if not older. We wanted to stop him. However, we are two young women out at night and the people around us were 90% men. It didn’t seem safe for us to say anything directly to him. We recorded a video of him doing this, was did not feel safe doing anything else. Many other men in the crowd saw what he was doing but no one else did anything so we didn’t feel like they would help us if the man got violent.
Pervert 2 – When the lion dancing started, the crowd was asked to move back, so the dancers wouldn’t hit us. I felt someone touching my thigh and butt. At first, I assumed it was unintentional because it was very crowded. But the hand kept touching me even after the crowds stopped moving and even started rubbing my leg in circles. So, I reached down, grabbed one of his fingers, and twisted it as hard as I could. An old man standing near me, probably over 50 years old, yelled out and quickly moved away. I hope I broke his finger.
Pervert 3 – As my sister and I were walking home from the festivities, I noticed another man who was standing near us during the lion dance was walking behind us. Maybe I was being paranoid, but I told my sister to turn right. He turned right. Maybe it is a coincidence, so we turned right again. He turned right again. Now we are almost sure he is following us. We turned right again. Going almost a full circle. He is still behind us. He catches up to us and tried to talk to us. We walk faster. He continues to follow us. We run into a crowd and finally lose him. But the whole way home, we kept looking back over shoulders.
If you look around Yangon, and most other parts of Myanmar, something you will notice is that the vast majority of people who are out at night are men. Myanmar people believe that it is not safe for women, so many families do not want or allow the women in their families to travel freely at night. They are scared that the women will be robbed, raped, murdered, or all three. Most families don’t worry about their men so much.
But they should. Because clearly someone is doing the robbing, raping, and murdering, and if it is not the women, then it must be the men. Rather than keep women home at night out of fear, it would be much more effective to force men to stay at home until they can learn to control their actions.