So how will banning cabs make public transport safer for women?

We seem to have a history of not making a serious effort to understand an issue.  Not even something as obvious and as simple, as in this Uber cab driver’s case.

Gurgaon: Cab driver rapes woman professional,

Here is what I think the focus should be on – 

1.

The police verification document, dated May 2014, certified Yadav’s clean record, despite a case of rape being registered against him in 2011. During investigation, police found that Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, Southeast Delhi, L T Hrangchal, whose signature the form bears, was posted to Mizoram on February 18, 2013. – See more at: Driver permit: Police and Transport play ping-pong

The police claims the documents are forged – link  This should be taken very seriously.

How do we control crime if police verification documents cannot be absolutely relied upon?

2.  It seems the driver had been arrested for rape earlier [link] [link].  Wouldn’t a Rape Registry [link] have been effective here?

And here is what might distract from the real issue:

1. The rapist’s remorse.

Delhi rape: Uber cab driver Yadav confesses to crime but shows no remorse

So would it make any difference whether or not he rapist ‘shows remorse’? How is he expected to show remorse? By promising not to use forged documents or by offering to marry the rape survivor? Or by shedding tears like this rapist? What if he did act extremely remorseful – then what?

2.

“We will try our best that this cab company is closed and it should be investigated that who brought this company here and how it started,” Chairperson Delhi women commission Barkha Singh said.

Anawnimiss commented: 

And I am disgusted with the govt’s it-happened-in-a-cab-so-let’s-ban-cabs attitude. Will we go about banning nightclubs, shopping malls, parks, buildings and streets next?

I say let’s take a multi-pronged approach instead that promises fewer rapes, less immoral behavior (consensual sex), reduced population. Let’s ban men instead.
Oh wait, that’s not going to work either for reasons I mentioned above.

Umm.. okay, then let’s work on finding a solution that actually works.

3. We really need to stop viewing (and trivialising) a sexual assault as ‘shameful’ and start seeing it as horrific, violation, violent, disgusting and traumatic.

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 3.59.04 pm

Please note: Most of the other freedoms for women are meaningless if safety of women and children in public spaces continues to be viewed as optional.

Related Posts:

Why was this radio cabbie, a rapist, not afraid of being arrested?

What makes Men Rape?

Of course it was unsafe to ask for lift, but what exactly were their options?

Which city in India, do you think is the safest city for women? Do women in that city stay at home after dark?

Indian women dancing in the streets? Photographs.

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.

Do you believe that if this video was shot in Delhi, the girl would not reach home alive?

More bans?

… ban on jeans (reserved for men)

… banning of Porn sites

...ban on mobile phone use by Indian brides.(reserved for men)

Ban on using one’s own judgment

Pubs in Andhra banned for women. (to be officially Reserved For Men?)

Ban on Holi

Ban on pubs for girls 

Ban on liquor… ?

Ban on ‘Boys and Girls Holding Hands’?

Immoral policing: A guest post by Carvaka

Ban consensual sex between adults

Ban Valentines Day? 

Ban jobs, safety and roads after 8 pm for women (reserved for men?)

Bans on art, movies and books. 

Ban on using your own judgment?

And here is what would work.

Women in streets, after dark in Gurgaon

 

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Do you believe that if this video was shot in Delhi, the girl would not reach home alive?

What do you make of this video? How do you think would the experience differ in Delhi? Or worse, Madhya Pradesh? Or Bihar, Haryana or UP?

IndieTube in Mumbai decided to mimic the ‘10 hours of walking in NYC as a woman‘ video. The model wears a top and a short skirt and walks around Mumbai city throughout the day, almost 10 hours of walking. To their surprise she did not get a single instance of street harassment. (But many women were not surprised.)

Many comments seem to believe, with absolute certainty, that if this video was shot in Delhi – the girl would not reach home alive. Many are sure she would have been sexually assaulted.

What do you think?

I think, 98% chances are that she would face Street Sexual Harassment from strangers. In some places it would be subtle.

Stares would be the most common intimidation and harassment.  Also, attempts at seemingly accidental physical contact (like almost pushing her while walking past her).

And in many some places there would be Nothing. These will be the areas where many women dress the way they choose to, and they drive, walk, ride on two wheelers, sit, stand, laugh or just loiter – in public spaces. It seems, presence of confident and empowered women on the streets makes streets safer for women. [Link][Link]

(unfortunately such places are not many). Also, some (not all) of these places might be seen as a bad influence on our culture. Can you think of some such places?

In some neighbourhoods where criminals have more freedom, and where women are more controlled [link], (directly related) there would be less fear of consequences for the criminals – here there is a possibility of the woman being followed for short distances, maybe singing or humming, and in some places, maybe attempts at touching her.

Do consider:

1. The video is shot in broad daylight and in crowded streets.

2. Only 2% of sexual crimes against women are committed by strangers (Stranger Rape Myth) 98% of such crimes are committed by someone known to the victim.

(Though ofcourse in India, perhaps a large percent of that 2% are committed in Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, UP, Haryana, Kerala and Bihar?)

3. Also, I think, often, Public Transport seems to be a more unsafe Public Space for women, than the streets are. [Link1] [Link 2][Link 3]

Related Posts:

Research survey on Street Harassment

Which city in India, do you think is the safest city for women? Do women in that city stay at home after dark?

Study finds 98% of India rape victims knew their attacker.

Home most unsafe place for women : A unique court-ordered study by Delhi Police has revealed.

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

Indian women dancing in the streets? Photographs.

What’s the best way to fight for your rights and freedoms and to prevent Talibanization of India?

“Sunitha Krishnan spoke in my kid’s school about violence against women, only girls were allowed in the audience.”

Can sexual harassment be compared to Terrorism against a whole community called women?

What did Sharad Yadav mean by, ‘Who amongst us has not followed girls?’

Is stalking of girls and women illegal in India?

‘“Why would this girl lie? After all she is taking the blame on herself”, said the police officer to the criminal infront of me.’

The fearlessness of the Indian ‘Eve teaser’ (sexual criminals)

62-year-old Indian man admits to sexually touching sleeping woman on plane.

Tulika shared the link below with this message:

“Treatment of sexual assault in Western Society – 

I request you to publish this news regarding sexual assault and how actually it should be dealt in a civilized society. What actually culture and civilisation means and gives support to its member.”

What do you think would have been the first reactions if this crime had taken place in India?

Indian man admits to sexually touching sleeping woman on plane

NEW YORK:  A 62-year-old Indian man has pleaded guilty to sexually touching a woman seated next to him aboard a flight from Houston to Newark and faces two years in prison.

The accused, Devender Singh, a resident of Louisiana

…  The charge carries a maximum potential penalty of two years in prison and a USD 250,000 fine. He is scheduled to be sentenced in October.  … Singh was seated next to a woman who occupied a window seat on a United Airlines flight from Houston to Newark. While the plane was in the air, the woman fell asleep and awoke to find him kissing her face with his hand inside her shirt.

After pushing Singh off of her and telling him to get away, the woman complained to a flight crew member about the incident and asked that the police be present when the plane landed.

The federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over all sexual abuse cases that occur on aircraft in flight in the US.

 

These TOI comments reflect how sexual crimes are viewed by many Indians,

1. Many seem to consider sexual assaults a natural outcome of men finding women sexually attractive.

Airliners has to allot seats in such a way to prevent this type of incidents, urge and attraction is God’s creation between two sexes. Our elders out of evolution and experience they have advocated,wearing veil,wearing non explosive dress code as advised by elderly intelligent people,monogamy,advise giving respect to fair sex and exhibiting their private parts publicly.

Fact: A response to: Why we think women activists should change their attitude of “wear what you like” [Link]

2. Others believe it’s young men who commit such crimes because they have no control over their ‘natural instincts’.

Hahahahah such a disgusting and funny thing i read today !! :v :p 60+ yrs old person hahha Chokra jawaan re jawaan re !! [the boy is young, is young]

Fact: What makes Men Rape? [link]

3. The idea that sexual assaults are caused by a man’s inability to ‘control their instincts’  is deep rooted.

A very shameful act that too from a 62 year old. When will people learn to control their instincts? The punishment is good and he deserves it for putting India and Indians to shame.

Fact: The rapists often don’t see their actions as crimes, the police said, and don’t expect the victims to report them. [link]

Why don’t we hear any talk about the requirement for consent in any sexual activity? Maybe because we fear that’s Sex Education?

Also, media campaigns could help create awareness about how often Sexual Crimes are not crimes of ‘lust’ or ‘natural urges’ but of hate, aggression and revenge (as in ‘Teaching a lesson’ to the woman) and sometimes of simply not knowing that any sexual act without consent is a crime.

Related Posts:

Rapist said that coming from Afghanistan meant he didn’t understand what ‘consent’ was.

“I am safe because I’m very careful in the way I behave and dress in public, on the streets.”

“Sometimes it seems like every single thing I do has the potential to be something ‘provocative’.” 

Have a Good Time in India, Sister (Gounderbrownie)

She started a fight between two men?

The night I was not an easy prey.

‘“Why would this girl lie? After all she is taking the blame on herself”, said the police officer to the criminal infront of me.’What’s the best way to fight for your rights and freedoms and to prevent Talibanization of India?

Allahabad girl Aarti Yadav beats harasser, sets bike on fire

“I will not sit back and allow the image of India’s men to be tarnished by an article that does not articulate other sides to India.”

“… people will say we encouraged these men to follow us… even though we are innocent”

Why should all acts of sexual harassment be taken seriously, even when there is no grievous physical injury?

What did Sharad Yadav mean by, ‘Who amongst us has not followed girls?’

Of course it was unsafe to ask for lift, but what exactly were their options?

What if the women were rushing, due to some emergency, to be with their in laws? Or if they were coming home from the airport or the railway station? Would the rapists then deserve a stricter sentence?

What do most Indian women (or men?) do in similar circumstances? How do you manage when you have to go somewhere late in the evening?

Two women gang-raped in moving car in Gurgaon

The girls alleged that the men took turns in raping them inside the car, a police officer said, adding that a medical examination confirmed rape.

The victims lodged a complaint that they were offered a lift in the car outside a Gurgaon pub last night where they had attended a party, Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Maheshwar Dayal told reporters.

“The two women took lift from MG Road to Delhi last night in the car. After travelling for some distance, two more men boarded the car,” Dayal said. [link]

Although the first sentence mentions that medical examination confirmed rape, many comments suspect the women were sex workers who were not paid and hence falsely alleged rape.

Or maybe they think sex workers’ are paid to get raped by men so that men’s daughters and sisters are not sexually assaulted? Many Indians don’t know that sex workers are equal citizens and it is a crime to have sex with them without their consent.

Here’s a comment:

Why!! ??
Why did they ask for lift ??
Is the location of lift (the Pub) right place to ask for lift ??
May be they are hookers and when they were not paid they called it rape.

Not all girls are same dude!!
Relax

Of course it was unsafe to ask for lift, but was there safer night time public transport available?

What were their options?

Option 1: Ideally and most of the police, neighborhood uncles and political leaders prefer this option – women should not go to pubs at all. In fact, many believe that women should not drink at all, liquor in India is made and sold for men’s consumption.

Option 2: If you do go, then leave before 8 pm [Link] while the rest of the people (i.e. men) continue to enjoy.

[Andhra government has actually reserved pubs for men after 10 pm [Link]. So now, in Andhra, if a rapist can prove that the victim was coming from a pub when she was assaulted, she can be legally blamed for ‘asking for it’?]

Option 3: Drive your own car and hope there are no break downs on the way home.

Please note: If you are with male friends then you are asking for some serious victim blaming, because you are going against Indian culture. Going with your brother/cousin doesn’t help much either – link.

Option 4: If you choose to not go to the pub and decide instead to order pizza at home – that would be asking for it too. Mumbai pizza delivery boy tries to rape, kill woman.

Option 5: So why not cook your own meal instead and serve it to your family (not friends, because female friends should be in their owns homes after dark, and male friends are against Indian culture) with a pleasing smile? There’s is joy in not doing what you feel like doing. Dancing, drinking, ‘drinking and driving’ are men’s vices.

UPDATE: There seem to be two versions of the same news. Did they take lift or did they hire a cab? Do they just get blamed or do they get blamed a little more? The good thing is, a medical examination was done and  the police is looking for the rapists.

Gurgaon, June 27 (IANS) …

The two women had hired a car outside the Sahara Mall for Rs.300 to go to Tughlaqabad area in south Delhi. The driver, however, let two other men into the car. [Two Delhi women gang-raped in Gurgaon, five held]

Don’t such crimes take place before dark?

There was less victim blaming when a 24-year-old BPO employee was abducted and gang-raped in a moving car in Gurgaon. The survivor had just finished her afternoon shift at 7pm and was waiting for a cab outside her office at the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, when the incident occurred. Read more: [Link]

In the same city, on the same road, a woman was raped when she was traveling in a Radio Cab [Link], and another was accompanied by her brother in a cab, but was dragged out of the cab and raped [link], and yet another was molested by a mob [Link].

And yet, these women danced on these streets after dark. [Link]

Wouldn’t public spaces become safer for all women if there were more women out on the streets at all hours?

Related Posts:

In Gurgaon, jobs, safety and roads after 8 pm, reserved for men?

Pubs in Andhra to be officially Reserved For Men?

How does the Gurgaon administration make it even more difficult for women to find employment, and stay safe on Gurgaon roads?

Gurgaon pub attendant gang rape victim: Went willingly? Refused medical test?

India leads in sexual violence, worst on gender equality: Study

Why was this radio cabbie, a rapist, not afraid of being arrested?

Kai Po Che : Through feminist eyes…

The night women were safe on Gurgaon roads.

One Billion Rising, Gurgaon : Photographs.

Study finds 98% of India rape victims knew their attacker.

Indian women are asked to stay at home to prevent stranger rapes that happen in public spaces to women who do not follow Indian culture? This puts women at risk from not being able to fight back 98% of sexual crimes against them – committed by some one they know, frequently inside or close to where they live or work.

Link shared by RenKiss : Study finds majority (98%) of India rape victims knew their attacker. Thanks RenKiss.

What is Stranger Rape Myth?

That most rapes happen outside victims’ homes in lonely or dark places, where women’s clothing or behavior (etc) ‘gets them raped’.

And what does this study indicate prove?

That most sexual assaults are not crimes of impulse, and that 98% rapists know who they are going to rape, and why they are likely to get away with the crime.

Sexual criminals in India know they are generally safe. Until recently they knew almost everybody would come in their support and the victim would be silenced with shaming and blaming.

Stranger rape myth puts women at greater risks because it controls women’s freedom and movement (victims are not free or empowered to leave an unsafe place) and Voices (who do they approach without fear of being blamed).

Because of the Stranger Rape Myth there is no effort to ensure that women and men understand that the law acknowledges that everybody’s bodies and lives and sexuality belong to themselves; and most people have never heard that no matter who else they have consensual sex with and no matter how attractive the rapist finds them, nobody has the right to sexually harass, molest or assault them.

Here’s a quick look at some recent sexual crimes. None of these are ‘stranger rapes’. Each rapists knew they were unlikely to be reported or punished.

If these victims took traditional advice to prevent sexual assaults,

How far could wearing sarees or staying at home after dark have protected any of these rape victims and survivors?

Which of these rapes could have been prevented if the rapists knew they would certainly be reported and punished?

1. Mentally ill woman raped by 3 over a period of time – The matter came to light when the victim’s brother came to know during health check up of his mentally ill sister that she is six-months pregnant… the victim revealed the incident only… after her brother convinced her to name the accused.[link]

Would you say this is a natural reaction of innocent men who get provoked when they find a woman attractive?

2. Minor girl set afire for resisting rape – “The girl alleged that Soni [the rapist] caught her while she was in the fields and tried to rape her. After she raised an alarm, Soni torched her and fled from the spot,” [link]

Rapists know that sexual crimes are not taken seriously.

3. Around 11 minor girls in a residential school were allegedly being raped since the last two years by the watchman and a contractual teacher… The local Panchayat had complained about the incident to the local administration six months ago, but they did not take action… [link]

Knowing the victim has no voice encourages crimes,

The girl told her classmates about the incident but nothing could be done as the students were not allowed to go out and the main gate of the Sevashram was locked. [link]

The only thing that could control these crimes was fear of consequences. 

4. Doctor booked for raping woman in hospital

Mumbai doctor on run after allegedly raping 27 year old girl in clinic

If victims felt safe outside their homes, if they knew their rights and if they had voices, would these rapists be so fearless?

5. Father arrested for rape-cum-murder of minor daughter

13-year-old girl allegedly raped by father, brother, uncle in Kerala

Click here to watch the video.

Woman hangs self after being raped by own brother in Madhya Pradesh

Teenage girl who committed suicide was raped

Like this godman, all rapists are criminals who know social norms  (basically Rape Culture) favor and support them. He is another one of the 98% rapists who knew the victim.

6. Godman held for raping woman

Pubs in Andhra to be officially Reserved For Men?

Does the absence of women in public spaces makes these spaces safer for women? 

Can you imagine such reservation possible if it wasn’t for Patriarchal traditions?

Link and message shared by Madhavi Kaivalya K

Hi IHM,

I came across this some time ago but turned a blind eye. But I can’t any more. This is so outrageous and people should know what kind of powers we’re giving to what kind of Govt.:

I think it will be good if you can blog about this. I don’t understand – if men are committing crimes against women, they should ban men in public places after 10.00 p.m. I know it’s not men Vs. women but this news is so outrageous.

I’ve a suggestion for those who claim that men can get provoked and lose control when they see women dressed in a certain manner – Just take a vote and pluck the eyes of everyone who claims that they can lose control when they see women being dressed “provocatively”. I don’t want to sound barbaric but if that’s what they claim, then this would be the right course of action to keep the country safe rather than restricting women.

Thanks & Regards,
Madhavi Kaivalya K

Another gem from Andhra:

Freedom at midnight but doesn’t mean we can roam around freely at midnight

Those who make such reservations for Indian men seem to believe that generations of Indian men are like kids, singing the first part of this post,

An Indian Shravan Kumar’s poem to his mother

I might be thirty five year old,
But I still crave for your food.
Yes, I do have a wife,
But all she gives me is strife,
Over things I don’t do,
Or wasn’t taught to do,
Like how I need to grow up,
And get things in order,
But what do I do, I always had you,
Fussing over my every single mood,… [Click here to read the entire post]

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I do not like reservation.

In Gurgaon, jobs, safety and roads after 8 pm, reserved for men?

I don’t care for freedom

Male escorts and whistles: IIT-Madras’s new safety plan.

One Billion Rising, Gurgaon : Photographs.

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.

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.

Dear IHM,

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.

Best,

Ankita Yadava

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?

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How does the Gurgaon administration make it even more difficult for women to find employment, and stay safe on Gurgaon roads?

In Gurgaon, jobs, safety and roads after 8 pm, reserved for men?