WOMEN'S SAFETY: IN YOUR WORDS
It is an accepted fact that brutal crimes against women are occurring in India daily. Now many Indians do not deny, or shy away from conversations relating to eve-teasing, sexual assaults or rape.
Even the common man's conversation on the streets often steer towards the escalated and horrendous attacks on women.
An overbearing concern each of us has towards the women in our families has lent a sense of urgency to our dialogue on the critical and pressing issue of women's safety.
Jaagore recently threw this question open to our audiences.
What should women do in the wake of continuous attacks on women?
We asked them one piece of advice they would give to women to be safe in their cities.
Many women, and even a larger number of men participated in this survey.
Many replies predictably lay restrictions on women. Let's take a look at some of them:
Women's safety – Can'ts
For a long time, we have been asking our women to "cover themselves up", to "stay in their limits" or "ignore" cases of harassment. It's now reached a tipping point and these age-old methods are proving to be ineffective.
An important point to remember is that many assaults on women are rooted in power play. Experts have often stated that all acts of aggression towards women are tools to assert power over a woman, be it rape, molestation or even 'eve-teasing'.
It makes sense then, to take that power back, instead of validating and legitimizing violence by towing the line and "staying within a limit". Is it really practical to 'look down when you walk', 'stay home after dark' or always be 'covered from head to toe'?
Then there were other practical and thoughtful words of advice that can actually make sense and can be imbibed.
What Women Can do to be safe
These are some quick-fixes that women can keep handy. While a change in society and intervention by authorities will take time, it's best to stay alert and prepared by ourselves.
Many others were quick to point out that all of these suggestions only make sense when we introspect and confront our own attitudes that have made our societies unsafe for women.
Should we be advising women or addressing the culprits?
Indeed, as a society if we can work together and take responsibilities for the stark reality we live in today, things will change.
Acceptance is half the battle won. Raising our voice has to be the next step. Let's keep the pressure alive and let's vow to end this despairing situation so women can walk free and in a civil and crime-free India.
If you have seen any instances of crimes against women or street harassment, push the pin here.
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