In search of safer haven

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Illustration by Dwijith CV
Illustration by Dwijith CV

The very recent Uber cab rape issue has surely stirred up chaos in the country, leaving disturbed minds and  hardened hearts. But what has gone more viral is the open letter that Shenaz Treasurywala addressed to Prime  Minister Narendra Modi, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and Anil Ambani, giving them the titles “most POWERFUL and INFUENTIAL men of the country”.

What she is forgetting is that crying for help to these “powerful and influential” men will not in any way make a girl on the road with dirty lustful eyes on her feel even a little bit comfortable, nor will it trim down the fear that grapples her when she is walking down a sunn saan gali after eight at night. Yeah, it is something that cannot be accepted and is plainly unreasonable, but it is the ugly truth! Moreover, many  of these “powerful and influential” men are the ones who make n number of ‘speeches’ about how sorry they feel  about the incidents and deliver ‘inspiring words’ on changing the society and joining hands to make India a better place to live in.

Shenaz goes about her letter disclosing her traumatic experiences in the past which a very large number of women in India would be able to relate to. The only difference is that she was bold enough to pour it out into the realm. Well, it is sickening and indeed a matter of shame to the country that such incidents come to pass.  But what good can possibly come out of seeking help from these “powerful and influential men”? Has anything  changed after the horrific episode of December 16, 2012? People who had to make their ‘moving speeches’ made them, news channels carried reports, the public was dumbfounded for a while just like how it is now. But was safety ensured? Did anyone press on the fact that safety for women needed to be prioritized?

According to figures released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the total number of rape cases reported in India has gone up from 24,923 in 2012 to 33,707 in 2013. In addition to that, a recent compilation of  data by Delhi police says that 616 rapes and 1,336 molestation cases were registered between January 1 and April 30, 2014, which is 36% increase compared to the previous year. Considering the latest statistics of the NCRB, 93 women in India are being raped every day! Well, it’s high time that women take their safety in their own hands! Instead of wasting time and effort in addressing the men of the country, a helping hand would perhaps be made available if the women of the country are provided with the means and techniques to ensure their safety…the kind of safety where a woman can step  out of her house at any time, leaving behind the very familiar feeling of fright and panic that crosses her heart  every second till she is back to her doorstep.

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