By Kaumudi Tiwari:
Dilwaalo ki dilli – the city of life, enthusiasm, liberty and joy. Delhi also happens to be the city of road rage, violent flash mobs, eve-teasing, molestation, rape and murder. Such are the two sides of the city which with much pride holds the tag of the Indian Capital. Another tag, something which stings a Delhiites’ pride, is of the “most unsafe Indian city for women”.
In a report brought out by the newspaper Indian Express, Delhi was named the “rape capital of India”. A few days back when the world was busy in welcoming 2012, one girl was traumatized by a flash mob of around 20-25 men in the Gurgaon area, adjacent to Delhi. This mob of “stags” decided to vent out its anger for being denied entry in a pub by troubling the lady and thus showcasing, what they think is their “masculinity”, and what I believe is their cheapness. And that was not the end. That mob had the audacity to claim that they had been lathi-charged by the police for no rhyme or reason! To add cherry on the cake we have our high ranking ministers and officials preaching and advocating dress codes for women so that women do not “entice” men. The argument put up by such people is very simple- You dress ‘immodestly’, you get raped, blame yourself. You are the one who has to maintain the “maryada”. The man? Oh he’ll be “naturally” tempted to rape you if you don’t dress ‘nicely’. Not his fault!
It is pathetic that no one asks the man to keep his hands off the lady!
To make it very clear, NO GIRL/WOMEN dresses herself with the hope that she’ll be assaulted. Women dress according to what they can carry and in what makes them happy and confident about themselves. The way they dress is the most preposterous excuse for justifying what they endure.
Besides the male chauvinistic attitude of our society, another thing working as a catalyst in the deteriorating standards of women safetyÂ is the “damsel in distress” image that the women tend to carry with themselves. Wake up ladies! Till the time you are not ready to handle the creeps who assault you, no one will take notice. Self-defence is the need of the hour.Â Women need to become the ‘damsels who can give distress’. Be smart and alert. Pick up a pepper spray and keep it handy. The beautiful heels which you use enhance your looks, learn how to fling them and hit a pervert. And most importantly be ready to smartly tackle situations. I know it is easier said than done. But by the way Delhi is treating its women, one can be sure that it is women who will have to pro-actively work towards their safety.
Today women safety is, in my opinion, the biggest challenge that Delhi needs to tackle. And the first step in this direction has to be a paradigmatic shift in people’s psychology. By ‘people’ I mean men and women BOTH. Imposing curfews on women for keeping them safe is a helpless act people resort to because of their fear, but it is definitely not the solution. Clothes are not the solution or reason for sexual assaults. Women get attacked even when they are dressed in the “socially-approved” manner. Chain/bag snatching, eve-teasing, molestation, etc. are problems which need administrative intervention and conviction to be resolved.
Image Courtesy – Delhi Slut Walk 2011