refuse to pack chili powder in my handbag each time I step out of the house. I will not advise any girl to master martial arts or acquire cans of pepper spray- ‘just in case’. I will encourage them to wear what they want. And I certainly won’t be looking over my shoulder constantly when I leave home. This is no way to live. This is no way to deal with a crisis. We are making an even bigger mess of an already horrific reality by running scared, by hiding. The streets, stations, metros, subways, buses, autos, trains belong to woman as much as they do to men. The moment to go ahead and change the rules of this dastardly game is now.
One can only hope this case won’t become another played up tragedy that goes nowhere once something ‘more important’ hits the headlines. But what can be more important than the lives of our woman? Or am I asking a stupid question? We know the answer. A female fetus is not safe in a mother’s womb. And we are discussing the safety of women who are ‘allowed to live’? There is no room for self-pity. This is the time to demand real change.
The solution lies in our hands. And those hands need not reach for chili powder. If we adopt defensive strategies to ‘protect’ we are admitting to weakness and anticipating defeat. How many women in scary circumstances will have the physical strength and presence of mind to reach for those chilies?
The onus of staying safe was never on us. Let’s not foolishly take it on ourselves at this critical stage and let the real culprits of the hook. And those culprits aren’t the rapists. Criminals take their cues from the society at large. A society that condones and looks the other way when politicians rape, loot, kidnap and murder with impunity, is a society that is inviting trouble from the lumpen. Men like the Delhi rapists who must have believed they’d get away with the crime-just like all those netas whizzing around the capital followed by a convoy of security cars to protect them.
It is this blatant abuse of power that we need to put up a fight against. Until that changes, our women will remain soft targets.
No woman in India should ever be told to arm herself up with chili powder. Nowoman should ever feel the need to do so. This is what the fight is about. Get real.
Women must be able to take safety for granted just like men do.
For when a girl gets raped 60 crore Indian women get raped!