Do you realize that you are supporting the rights of others when you continue to live your rights, by dressing, socializing, travelling, working, partying and generally refusing to have your freedoms snatched away?
And I am glad that all those of us who do wish to fight, generally have the law by our side.
Sharing an email by a Gurgaon girl.
I have been following your blog and I love how the comments turn into long discussions and how so many people feel so strongly about the terrible attitude people have towards women in our country.
Also, from the tone of the comments, I have a feeling that things are going to change – bit by bit, but change they will. Maybe it is just a handful of us who feel so strongly about this, but I am sure we will at least try to change the attitudes of the people around us. I know I try to and am sure others do too.
There is one thing that worries me though. It is how we impose restrictions on ourselves as much as the society does.
In the one year that I have been in Gurgaon, I have seen the ‘curfew hours’ being advanced from 9 to 8 to even as early as 7. Though, usually, it is family that imposes such restrictions, I have seen women themselves being afraid to step out alone even not so late in the evening and even on crowded, well-lit roads.
A friend of mine had to travel from a metro station to meet me on one the busiest roads in an auto for a distance of about 1.5 km at 7:30 P.M. but had to ask a male friend to accompany her. Maybe it is because of all the incidents of women being assaulted that have been reported recently, but things were not considered as bad as this even just one year ago.
What bothers me is how quickly we are getting used to our freedom being taken away and how we are willingly shutting ourselves in our homes for safety.
This thought had been bothering me for weeks so I decided to step out and reclaim my space. At 8:00 P.M., on a major street in Gurgaon, walking a distance of some 2 km, I came across a lot of men- in cars, on two-wheeler, on foot- but just one woman- in a car with her husband. Thankfully, nothing untoward happened (could have something to do with the small rock I had in one hand😛 ), but people did look at me as if I were crazy. After all, if you see a woman alone at ‘such an hour’, the least you would expect is for her to be in an auto, looking anxious.
I couldn’t help but think how just having more women on the streets after dark would make it safer for us. This is a terrible vicious circle we are letting ourselves fall into- the streets are not safe in the evening because there aren’t enough women there and there aren’t enough women on the streets after dark because they are unsafe.
Like a lot of people in Gurgaon, I am a working woman who lives alone and comes back from work at or later than 7 P.M. So, if I were to impose such restrictions on myself, I wouldn’t be able to get any of my chores done – basic things like getting my clothes ironed, buying groceries and getting milk for the next day’s breakfast, forget about wanting to go for a walk or a run.
The day is already here when a girl walking on the streets alone after dark is seen as something out of the ordinary, almost insane. It won’t surprise me if it becomes normal for such men to assault women who ‘dare’ to step outside after dark because they think these women are ‘looking for trouble’. Lets not allow our society to get used to not seeing any women outdoors.
PS – A friend of mine just started taking self-defense classes so that she could step out at any hour. :)
Do you agree with Ankita?