By Karishma Gaur:
Hundreds of students from various colleges in Delhi took to the streets on Wednesday and protested the killing of Radhika. Radhika Tanwar 20, was a student of Ram Lal Anand College, South Campus. She was shot dead by a stalker on Tuesday morning (8/3/11). The man who allegedly stalked Radhika Tanwar and shot her dead in broad daylight near her college at Dhaula Kuan, has been identified now. (While a hunt has been launched for him, the police have detained two of his friends for harbouring and helping him escape.) The assailant, 25-year-old Ram Singh alias Vijay, hails from Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh. He earlier worked for a fabric unit and lived in Naraina village. He had allegedly harassed 20-year-old Radhika three and a half years ago and was beaten up by her friends and family.
In the past one month, Vijay had followed Radhika at least twice in an attempt to eliminate her. “He felt humiliated after being beaten up in public for harassing Radhika. He nurtured a deep grudge against her and would tell his friends that he would take revenge at the first opportunity.” said the police officials.
Vijay is being beaten up in public, whose fault is it? Surely not Radhika’s !! Then why did he had the deep grudge against her? Pestering a girl in public and demanding for emotional support is stupidity. What if his own sister was being stalked the same way, would Vijay be ever able to bear that? Guys stalk girls and then they expect a polite and intimate response.Â What is the girl’s fault if a guy is following her? She never asked him to come after her, moreover if a guy likes a girl then it is not necessary that the girl will like him back. Girls/women are not at all safe in such a society.
Radhika’s is the kind of story that makes women realize how vulnerable we really are. It makes us think twice about walking through a darkened parking lot, running a simple errand after dark, or jogging alone. We are targets everyday in ways we don’t even realize. Because of our gender, we must constantly think about how to be safe. Fear proscribes how and where we live, where we walk, where we park, where we sleep, eat and travel. As women, we know there are some things weÂ cannot or rather, should not do, some places we should not go. We’ve seen the movies, we’ve read the articles, we know the statistics. The media is our collective storyteller and the story it tells us over and over again is that there is no safe place not on the roads where we drive, on the streets where we walk, not even in the house where we live. We feel at risk because we are.
It’s even more terrifying especially when we hear stories from our own acquaintances about their experiences: stalking, sexual assaults, battering etc. This kind of behaviour with women is not justified. Gone are those days when women were treated inferior to men. Today’s women is self sufficient and doesn’t need men for anything. Still, she is the soft target for men when ever they want to take out anger or any kind of grudge. If the condition of the society is not improved then every now and then new Radhika or Aarushi or Jessica will die!
The society won’t take women’s fears seriously until men understand our vulnerability. Until men join women and say no to violence, whether it’s on the streets or in our homes, nothing is likely to change. As women, we can take all the precautions imaginable, but the ultimate answer lies within each man and woman and what we will or will not tolerate as individuals, as communities and as a nation to allow our daughters, our sisters, our mothers and all the women in our lives to live without fear.
Are you with us? Drop a comment below to voice yourself.