Well timed, ahead of International Women's Day is a blogathon initiative by Blank Noise Project. The organisers say that one doesn't have to run anywhere - except to their computers on the chosen day - in this case March 7 and post messages or their thoughts on street harassment and eve-teasing.

The project which is the initiative of Jasmeen Patheja began as a real world reaction to street sexual harassment and involves a clothes collection drive, old clothes that are part of a relief effort. Except the victims are not quake or tsunami survivors, but women, who endure the daily trauma of being checked out, stared at, whistled at, brushed against, teased and just plain abused.

Why clothes? Simply because more often than not, in cases of eve teasing or street harassment, women are questioned about the way they were dressed and end up questioning themselves whether they did after all, invite trouble.

An interview with Patheja on an Indian website, www.indiatogether.org, says peer reaction is most alarming when it comes to the issue. The casual attitude towards the issue and dealing with it as a normal part of one's life is widely prevalent, however it is the total denial in some cases that manifests itself in the form of: "How come this happens only to you?" that is horrifying.

Such instances of street sexual abuse are further belittled by the term eve-teasing that almost makes it seem as an acceptable act indulged in by bored roadside Romeos. An act that women are taught to ignore. But endure.

However, they can be stretched too far as was the case of a young college-going Sarika Shah from Madras, who was "eve-teased", man-handled and died of fatal injuries in 1998. Her story was particularly chilling because it took place in broad daylight, near her college. Oh, and on her birthday.

Or the case of another young girl, who was assaulted in a cinema complex in 2002, because she took offence to lewd comments directed at her by a group of college boys. Points to be noted are the fact that bystanders did nothing and the guilty were educated individuals from "respectable" families.

Blank Noise Project's blogathon effort is a time to tell our women that we don't have to ignore. Nor do we have to endure it. But, it's also more critical at this time, to tell our men that they can not. Should not. And better not.