WOMEN'S SAFETY IN INDIA: A CRUMBLING ILLUSION

I was 12 years old when I was first sexually assaulted. I was walking down the street and a man on a bike came and slapped my chest. I came home crying and told my mother about it. She told me, "I was dreading the day you would face this…"

 

Every single day single women, young girls, mothers and women from all walks of life are being assaulted, molested, and violated. The streets, public transport, public spaces in particular have become the territory of the hunters. While the ones already hunted down weep in silence or in disdain, the rest fight their way to a basic life with dignity.

There is an unspoken war on the streets. Young school and college going girls use books to shield themselves, other women wear full-covered attire to protect their bodies, and others avoid the mere glance of the roving gaze.

One look at the official statistics and there's cause for concern:

  • Officials from NGOs working with women state almost every single day, a young girl is being trafficked (sold) into flesh trade. Most of the times, her parents sell her off.
  • Officials from Stop Acid Attacks say there are reported cases of acid attacks on the streets two or three times a week.
  • Every 20 minutes a woman is raped in India.

Is 2014 going to be any different for women in India?

We don't need to look at statistics to confront the horrid truth. News stories of women from all over India being raped, beaten, killed are flashed across us day after day – and we all are aware of it. The fatal Nirbhaya gang-rape saw an outpouring on the streets of Delhi – protests decrying the fragile status of women in India. Candle light marches, editorials examining the patriarchal and sexist traditions of our country, an awakening on social media – even conversations on streets revolve around the night they cannot forget: the night that took Nirbhaya.

Push the Pin and reclaim your right to safety

On Push the Pin site, an application that is compiling a nation-wide database of problems addressing women’s issues – there's been a flurry of activity.

The data is speaking for itself. It is confirming that everyday women are dealing with harassment from mild to extreme forms on our streets. How long will this menace go on for? What are we supposed to do about it?

With limited options in our hands, and with time fast flying us by, the onus is on us to wake up and do whatever it takes. 49% of India’s registered voters are women, and the Power of 49 together needs to demand a tougher India, yet an India that is sensitive to women. Women’s issues need to be pushed in every lobby until the leaders have no choice but to yield and take a hold on the crisis that looms across every street and every corner of India today.

Push the Pins now on issues that matter to you, we will make sure your voice is heard by those that matter.

This is the time we own up to ourselves. We stand by each other. Tall and proud. Brave and unfazed. This is the time we own up to India. No more Harassment. We want what we deserve - for us and for our daughters – a safer India for women.

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