By: Wara Fatima
Women’s safety is considered to be a debatable topic. I say this, in regards of what women may have, could have or have already undergone in terms of safety problems in our country. How many of us ‘women’, feel free and safe to roam around the streets of our country without any fear of being jeered at or having to face harassment be it night or day. ‘Thomson Reuters’ Global study indicates that India is the “Fourth most dangerous country” for women. A country that celebrates and worships women in various forms is unable to make its cities, towns villages and even their homes a safe haven or place for women to live in peacefully. The amount of violence against women is increasing day by day is disheartening but it is a blatant truth.
Women were previously restricted to the four walls of their houses but after globalisation they have got the chances and opportunities to stand equally in all sectors of life with their male counterparts. And this is a good sign to indicate that the patriarchal mindset of our society has changed to some extent but not yet to the extent it is supposed to be. People still treat the male as superior than the female and still always try to dominate and oppress the women populace.
When we turn the pages of newspaper, we come across at least 4 or 5 articles about woman harassment every day. So, how can this gender feel safe? Safety of women is alarmingly vital issue whether at home, outside the home or at working place. According to the statistics of National Crime Records Bureau, 3,59,849 cases were reported against women in 2017. According to the state wise data, Uttar Pradesh has the highest incidence with 56,011 cases of crime against women. Every 9 minutes, a case of cruelty like rape, dowry death, sexual harassment, acid attack, female infanticides , domestic violence and kidnapping is committed . ‘Cruelty by husband or his relatives’ cases account for 27.9 per cent of the crimes against women. A total of 32,559 rape cases were reported in 2017 in India.
However, as many of the women related crimes such as rape and molestation include a rather ‘severe’ form of social stigma, a social pressure and after-shame because of which many women do not come out and report about these matters to the police and no complaints were filed. Thus, societal norms and mentality are one of the main reasons of women being silent about their traumatic experience.
In order to improve the conditions, safety and security of women in India, we need to improve or change the mindset of people towards their women folk. It’s very important to teach and educate our sons, our friends and their sons as how to behave with their mothers, sisters, wives etc. Just like they say, charity begins at home, thus, safety also begins at home. We need to teach our sons to help provide a safe environment for women; to keep a check on our sons just as much as you do on our daughters. From family to educational institutions, men should be taught about respecting females. In the legal arena, there should be fast-track courts to hear the cases and strict laws such as “Capital Punishment” for crimes like rapes and acid throwing to solve the problem of women safety in India.
And just like any good change takes time to be implemented, even this change will take some time. So until then, for women, mental strength will have to be more important than physical power, so as to develop a strong will to resist male advances. As a noted female activist, Malala Yousafzai said, “If 10 men stare at me in the market I just stare back at them and they wilt away”. So, know your Rights as a Woman , know vulnerable points of the male anatomy and in case you have to use force, these include mainly groin, throat, eyes and knees. Try to stay in your car and in safe places at night – or try to be with a group , and always keep pepper spray! If you suspect suspicious behaviour, make noise and scream and dial 100 or Women Helpline Number – 181.
On an ending note, woman, speak your mind.