Safety for women – A myth?!

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Do you know how it feels to walk on the road by yourself, consciously aware that there are dirty eyes on you scanning your body from head to toe the entire time?! If you do, then I can guarantee that you’re a woman and if you don’t, I can almost certainly guarantee that you’re a man. Girls are taught from the time they’re born that they’re equal to boys and apart from having a couple of physical differences, they’re almost identical. It’s high time we started educating ourselves and our children that sadly, it’s never the case.

Safety for women is a myth. A woman is not safe anywhere. A girl, from the moment she steps foot into this little world is unaware of pedophiles and rapists who will change her sweet little innocent life forever. How do you teach a 6 yr old to protect herself from rapists and pedophiles?! How do we protect a 10 yr old from that pervert on the bus?! How long can we protect and be protected by boys and men?! What is the way out?! Is there a way out?! Does anyone have the answers to these questions?!

I had blogged about the insecurities of being born a girl once, and a man had commented saying that instead of cribbing about what happened to us, we should learn self defence. That man, obviously has never had a daughter and his wife must have been spared the evils of the world when she was growing up. Fortunate for him and his family. It’s so easy for people to give solutions to problems which are still hypothetical for themselves but not as easy for those who live with the trauma that follows an incident.

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My college hostel in Surat was located right opposite the Police Station of that particular area and when parents came to drop their children off, always left with a sense of security. Would you believe me if I told you that particular road has more exhibitionists and perverts than any other part of that area?! I’ve related incidents that have happened to me, my friends and fellow hostel mates to the boys in my college and they laughed in my face, telling me that I must have imagined it happening to me because Surat is the safest city for women. Was my imagination so fierce and wild that I remembered the tears on those girls’ cheeks as they related in broken words how men on bikes touched them inappropriately?! Were the imaginations of all the hostel girls so strong and powerful that they shared similar incidents?! It’s happened to me too and trust me when I tell you that the first time it happens to you, you just curl up into a ball, shut yourself from the world and cry yourself to sleep. You play that situation over and over again in your head, each time devising a different way as to how you could’ve reacted like taking a stone and throwing it at the moving bike or running after him but to no avail. It happens in a couple of seconds and by the time your mind switches back and realizes what just happened, the biker has already sped away. I’ve personally counselled juniors in the hostel as they cried the first time it happened to them and advised them to always travel in pairs, just like my seniors advised me when I related what had happened.

Recently, I was travelling from Delhi to Bangalore by 3 tier AC alone and I found a man staring at me inappropriately at me for some time. I pulled the curtains together and settled to sleep and for some reason couldn’t sleep. As the night progressed and the fellow passengers slowly fell asleep and the lights dimmed out; I catch this man peering into the curtains. I pulled open the curtains immediately and yelled out asking him what he wanted. My fellow passengers woke up and he ran off. I was sure that he was from our coupe’ and he eventually had to return so I waited till he came back and like clockwork, the man came back. I confronted him and he apologized; as I kept on yelling at him, he raised his voice and said, “Maine sorry bol diya na; maine sister bana diya apko…” Translated – “I said sorry no; I’ve made you my sister” He said this and got up to his berth and went to sleep. I was dumbfounded and slowly I realized why parents don’t let their daughters travel in trains alone and why I should never travel in trains without pepper spray.

All of these instances which I narrated above are not half as traumatic as that 23 yr old Medical student fighting for her life after she was gang raped by 5 men on a bus in Delhi or the 6 yr old who was raped by men in Pakistan or that foreigner who was gang raped by villagers in Auroville, Pondicherry. There will come a time when women will go extinct because female infanticide will be back in practice. Can we blame the parents for wanting to kill off their female infants?! I’m not even married yet and I’m hoping and praying that I don’t have a girl child when the time comes because I will not be able to protect her as much as I want. There will always be that moment when she will also realize the truth that she is indeed CURSED to be born a girl. Is this the world that we were scared was going to end?! I think the world has already ended and we’re already in HELL!!

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6 thoughts on “Safety for women – A myth?!

  1. negatimus

    It is indeed sad to see how the poles mistreat the holes (excuse the pun). But sadly with society creating this looking glass through which generation after of generation of men are forced to stare through, a rift has been created – one that does not discriminate about age, just gender. So until society as a whole is allowed a paradigm shift, such wistful thoughts on gender equality in society will be but a mere whisper amidst an irate mob of men clamoring for a piece of the sacrificial lamb.

    So even though I admire your stance and wish that men all over were gentlemen who treated the fairer sex with respect, I would love for you to realize that the realities are so far from those utopian thoughts. I cringe at the thoughts of your pretty glass castle cracking and most of all about the reaction when the two worlds collide.

    Lastly, I am terribly disappointed that you never bothered to talk about the incident on the train until soo long. And more so, that you didn’t give him the verbal bashing he deserved.

    But thinking aloud now, the best idea for a girl travelling alone would be to carry a bunch of “rakhis” with her to convert random ogling men into protective brothers. Now that would indeed be an idea worth testing out dontcha think ??

    • My so called glass castle shattered all those many years ago in Surat and I’ve learnt to live with perverts in a different light. On a lighter note, yes tying rakhis would be wroth testing out but on a more serious note, where have all the knights in shining armor gone?! As a matter of fact, I did yell out abuses which is when he made me his sister. My fellow passengers however just turned off the lights and went to sleep. So much for justice and love for thy neighbor.

      • negatimus

        And the third paragraph … why did you not bother informing people !!

        As for the knights in shining armor .. the suits have rusted leaving their amours aflame !! :) … but surely a feminist such as yourself would have no need for such a knight … and im sure when there was actually a need they would have come around given u a spanking and rode of on their bicycles !!

  2. The Primitive man picked upon anybody he could pick up as along as he knew he could get away with it. The food chain works in a particular manner.

    Statistics might tell you, women get raped more. Men get attacked/mugged too. Now, I don’t have the stats to put those up against you. There is a little a man can do if it is 1 on 5. Chances are men would not admit to being beaten up lest their pride be hurt, women would not admit to being felt up/abused lest their morality be questioned To emotionally deal with the consequences of a rape victim can’t be processed by me or anyone who has not been in that position.

    I think, there is huge divide between the perceptions of men about women, and also women about women.(Not that men are all knowing, coz this act is more likely to be done by man) Assumptions taken
    – Man is uneducated, views women just as his demographic does. I mean, treats women just as his demographic. There is a difference.
    – Sexist argument , Woman is easy if she is……. every loony has their own list.
    – Revenge rape – It’s ironic, people on social media are going on and on about a retribution that fits the crime, but it is the same philosophy or certainly the very same emotion which induces the very thought of rape/acid/stabbings in the culprits mind.
    Everyone has their own equation of justice. If we all act on things we were wronged upon or things WE THINK we were wronged upon, they might be very few people alive today or too many court cases.

    You know how the state governments of india have various notices for foreigners not to kiss publicly or exchange embraces for too long? Maybe we should have educational seminars about which behaviour is not acceptable to do towards women, no girls. I would think it starts early, not that boys are taught at home to tease girls. Public shaming works coz this is act of cowardice but it also has it’s drawbacks.

    Would you think the same ‘I better teach this bitch’ a lesson logic would not have been applied to you if had mouthed to him alone or 2 or more guys and you weren’t in a space crowded with people?

    Were does this logic come from? I would believe this thought is prevalent where men and women aren’t given the same respect, they might be treated nicely but its the MAN’S voice that commands more weight. How dare a woman speak down to him. I would think, it’s the very same demographic that needs to be educated women and men carry the same weight, even if in theory but atleast it won’t be shock a brutal shock to his system and he does not see the need to wound his perceived ego fall. By doing something silly which will ruin his and her life for a very long time.

    • All this what you’ve talked about, educating kids at an early age and the fact that women and men carry the same weight is all nice to hear. Let’s see it happen. Till then, I’m going to still cower away when attacked or attempt to feebly protect myself with throwing stones at him or whatever it is that my hand picks up at that moment. When you’ve been on the receiving end of such trauma, you realize that nobody can really help you even if you complain cos’ sadly once it’s done, it’s done!! You can avoid it, yes but for how long?! The country gets attacked by terrorists with so much protection and I’m wondering whether or not I’ll get attacked by a man on the road any minute… Let’s not preach self defence to women who know that when faced with 5 men, the little amount of kicking and punching is going to be hurting them and not really saving them!

      • Yes, it’s all good in theory less in practice. I tend to think, issues are best solved at their genesis.

        That’s just a silly remark to bring into this conversation. How does a country being attacked by ‘who you claim’ to be terrorists have anything to do with rape. If your point is safety. There are over 1.5 billion people in India. Assuming 48% are women, Assuming 10% are infants(1-7) and 20-25% above 60 years old. You have 65-70% women in india or 468 million women in india that can be “attacked by 768 Million man on the road any minute”
        How many do get attacked, or how report attacks what are the numbers? Im asking because I don’t know
        If I ever to take the safety angle combined with the terrorist connection you have to realize there are people out here to protect us just as there are people out there who sole intention to hurt us and get even with us for all misgivings they think we have caused to them.

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