When was the last time you went out without the burden of being a woman in your city? Haven't you truly wished that you should be born as a man in your next birth- a man, who could walk freely on the moonlit roads or amid the sun-kissed fields and not a woman, who detests strolling on those very shiny roads and wandering around the inviting green fields? That's because the roads and the fields don't tempt you anymore, for you are not a man, in fact when was it safe enough for an Indian woman to roam all around, all unwitting of the dangers that lie ahead?
Women are stalked, molested, raped and even murdered to dozens everyday and reading these crime stories in the morning newspapers, talking about them during lunch hours, joining "Justice for..." communities on FB and then, eventually forgetting about them is not the solution, is it? Do you feel safe? No, you certainly don't. What makes
you think it can't happen to you then? You're struggling for an answer and so is every woman- only to know what exactly she's supposed to do to feel secure as a woman living in an unsafe city. We tried finding out some mantras for the safe survival of women in cities and here's what what we learnt:
"The only thing I swear by to the hilt is the fact that each woman needs to be aware of what's happening around her. You've got someone troubling you, someone who might be a possible threat or even a weirdo who's texting you, don't just sit on it. Act upon it. If there's something that's making you lose your peace then, you gotta rid yourself of that and that too at the earliest. Sleeping over it can be injurious to a woman's health and then, if she's ignorant, she can't protect herself in a city setting where, people are waiting to pounce upon her any minute," says Shalini Jha, a 26 year old Human Resource executive.
Being prepared helps
Pooja Gandhi, a 30 year old accounts executive thinks there's nothing wrong in being a little prepared for a situation like this. "I had a very bad experience around two years back. I was returning from office in the evening and couldn't get a cab or an auto, so had to board a bus till a point. Five minutes into the journey and I had this grave looking sitting next to me. There was something that made me feel uneasy and I decided to get down at the next stop that had an auto rickshaw stand next to it. As soon as I got down, I realised that the guy sitting next to me in the bus had also got down and was apparently following me. I started to walk fast, saw an auto and stopped it too and as I was about to board it, this guy came to me and said, "Kahaan tak ja rahin hain?
Humein bhi wahin pe utaar dijiyega" (Till where are you going? Drop me there itself). Jeez, that was enough and I took my deodorant out of my purse and sprayed the entire contents of the bottle on this chap's face. He was taken aback and by the time he could do something about it, my auto driver drove me out of the situation. Had it not been for that deo and the driver's presence of mind, I would've landed in some big trouble that night. And, since that day, I don't move out of my house without my pepper spray and Swiss knife. Well, what's the harm in being prepared. I'd ask every woman to carry some makeshift weapon (read pepper spray, deo, Swiss knife, nail filer etc.) that can be used in a forbidden situation that strikes without a warning," says Pooja.
Emergency numbers are indispensable
Neera Bajwa, a 19 year old headstrong college student doesn't believe in taking chances. Her phone's address book has every possible number, a woman living in an unsafe city would want to have. So, from the PCR van's number to the women's cell number, this lady has got it all. "The first thing I did after joining college was procuring all the important numbers that a woman would need to call on during an emergency. I don't feel safe in this city or anywhere for that matter. One can't afford to push oneself towards anything thing that seems risky. No one really cares in this world. People are so self absorbed that they'd not even come to help an accident victim lying on the road, leave alone helping a woman! It's time we take control of the situation, for self help is the greatest help. A woman sitting in India can't be waiting for something untoward to be happening to her before she prepares her protection plan. It's high time!," says Neera.
Family support counts
Feel unsafe? Don't think every woman feels unsafe and don't just get used to this feeling of insecurity suggests, Parul Mathur, a 28 year old travel agent, "You can't wait to be shot down on your way to college, can you? One needs to confide in family. I don't understand why women have stopped doing that. It's so easy to deal with these safety issues collectively rather than facing them all alone. I've always been discussing anything and everything that bothers me with mum-dad on a daily basis so, discussing a stalker's phone call is as much a part of our conversation over dinner table as my fights with my boyfriend are. I'd suggest- any woman, who's experiencing a threat from any person in the society, should let her family know about it and then fight out the situation with her family standing by her, in all support."
Hmm, so ladies, hope you'll keep in mind, what these young women have suggested. So, until we meet next time, be safe!