Creating Safer Public Spaces for Women
Somewhere in the city, if a woman is about to leave from her work or a party, late at night, she gets trapped in extreme dilemmas on whether she should take a public transport, hire a cab or simply walk down to her dwelling. Even if she is willing to travel alone, people around her would suggest accompanying someone, as travelling alone at night could be “unsafe” or she might get “raped”. Unfortunately, if she gets raped or harassed or abused, not only will she get hurt, there is a complete likelihood that she will get blamed for it too.
Patriarchy is mostly the root cause for all harm caused to the women. As soon as a girl is born, the upbringing done is solely and fully gendered. She could very well see, realize and further start believing that a glass ceiling always exists for her which has to be never crossed. Time and place related restrictions are laid on girls/women from the very beginning that they cannot go out alone after 7PM and can never pass from the areas which are supposed to be “Male spaces”. It is anticipated that a woman standing at a paan shop is “not safe”, is of “bad character” and passer bys eyes will keep on haunting the woman.
It is usually assumed that sexual harassment is an urban phenomenon because women in urban areas have been given immense “freedom”. Many cases of women getting harassed when they go out in the fields to defecate, is an answer to this urban-rural dichotomy created.
We have heard the illogical comments from the most prestigious people on earth on the issue of rape. They say women should dress up properly, do not eat chowmein, should not work till late etc. etc. probably, as their profound solution to prevent rape. But what if we adhere to these comments? There have been many rape cases wherein the victim avoided places after dark, didn’t boarded trains at night; avoided walking past pubs, wore burqas and never ate fast foods…… but still got raped or abused or harassed… what’s the solution now?
The thought introduced is not from a feminist perspective but from a human perspective. It is purely open for interpretations by all. Can anyone come up with one solution to prevent rape? Is it making public spaces safer for women? Curtailing women’s freedom? Changing a Man’s psyche? Or what?