From the Nirbhaya incident that took place in the national capital on December 16, 2012, to brutal rape and murder of Dr. Priyanka Reddy– nothing seems to have changed in nearly a decade. The 26-year-old veterinarian’s case has shocked the nation to its core, making women’s safety the most immediate social concern.
In a country where a LOT of women go to work in high-rise offices every day, people are now spilling into the streets to protest against the gruesome rapes of toddlers, teenagers, and women and to demand safety for women. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the rate of crime against women has increased by 44% between 2011 to 2015.
An elderly protester was heard asking, “Why should a woman stay at home after 7 PM, why not the man? Let us make it an institutionalised thing. Let all men come home at 7 PM and lock themselves behind the doors. The women will be safe.”
This is the voice of the women of India.
"I don't want man to sareguard me. I want to say, 'you are the cause of the problem. You stay behind. Let the world be free.'"
How long can we continue ignoring her? pic.twitter.com/o0rGlq9QbS
— نتاشا Natasha (@nuts2406) December 1, 2019
But, is that really a solution? Will that stop incidents like minors and school-going girls getting raped in broad daylight?
In yet another incident in Rajasthan, a six-year-old was allegedly raped and strangled to death with her school belt. So basically, no time of the day or place (streets, buses, schools, offices and parks, and even police stations and hospitals) is safe for us women and little girls.
A trauma therapist, Ruchita (@roohcheetah) took to Twitter to share an incident that took place on the streets of Mumbai while she was heading home late at night. It is sad, infuriating and relatable at the same time. She wrote, “3.20 am. I’m taking an auto from Khar West. The driver scans me like he’s checking me out. My friend urges me to send my live location to her. I take the auto and he continues to stare at me from the rearview mirror. You know that stare, the creepy one.” In her Twitter thread, she gave a minute-by-minute timeline of how unsafe she felt.
Throughout her ride, she felt like dialing 100 multiple times.
Her narration triggered a slew of replies with women from across the country, sharing similar incidents of how they felt harassed and targeted.
I’ve felt this. I know this feeling. Last night I was out for dinner and couldn’t find an auto. Trust me I almost cried standing there. Nobody can understand how scary it is. When you find men staring. That gaze, that sense of insecurity ‘what if they abduct me and rape me?
— K. (@Mephobiac) December 1, 2019
Ruchita, I can totally relate. I’ve felt this too. Not once, but thrice in Delhi.
— Aditi Patwardhan 🇮🇳 (@AditiIndiaFirst) December 1, 2019
I can sooooo relate to this! This has happened to all of us at some time.
My sister had to once jump out of the auto in Ghatkopar because the driver tried to molest her in a secluded road! She couldn't eat for two days.
— Totapari (@CoffeeNChirps) December 1, 2019
In Mumbai you can at least think of taking an auto at 3:20am. In Delhi it's unthinkable! I have just ended up staying at friends' places/airports/railway stations till morning rather than venture out at night 😞
— Kaushiki Sanyal (@kaushu) December 2, 2019
I literally hv avoided two of the situations from getting into such trouble! it's so sick that we have to go through with this feeling while travelling all the time..Yes I am girl and I have to be alert ALL THE FUCKING TIME!! SAFETY KIDHAR HAI…KAHA HAI???
— Mohini Kambli (@nimbu_mirchee) December 1, 2019
And we can relate to what actor and activist, Saloni Chopra had to say. The actor took to Instagram to share her anger and it does hit a road with all of us. She wrote, “It was Jyoti Singh, not Nirbhaya. You don’t know if she was fearless. She wasn’t fucking volunteering. Before people come up with a brave name for [the victim’s] life lost amongst the other women we have lost in the last 7 years, let me remind you, that no one – none of us, want to be India’s daughters. You wouldn’t want your daughter to be India’s daughter”.
She rightly emphasised the importance of educating men and teaching them how to respect women and their bodies. “Our men are deprived of sex and taught nothing about respecting the opposite sex REGARDLESS OF WHERE SHE IS AND WHAT SHE IS WEARING. We don’t want to talk about that… from the richest of families to the poorer ones, no one wants to talk about how our ‘culture & tradition’ suffocates & erases a woman’s identity & teaches men nothing about the opposite sex,” she wrote.
According to a survey conducted by The Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2018, India was declared as the most dangerous country in the world to be a woman because of the high risk of sexual violence and assault. Rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India. Our country recorded 106 rapes per day in 2016 – a mammoth increase in crime against women despite the toughening of laws.
Safety is our BASIC right. But, WHERE ARE WE REALLY SAFE? Can we walk on the streets alone? Will there be a day when we won’t be scared to let our children play in parks? When is this fear going to end? How many Nirbhayas and Reddys do we need to stop this? Not just Beti padhao, Beti bachao, we need campaigns like Bete padhao, Beti ki izzat karna sikhao! We want freedom that can help us become the women we want to become.
Featured Image: Shutterstock
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