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How Many Things Do Women Need To Do To Feel Safe?

Posted: March 20, 2015

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Women walk on the streets, they travel, take cabs and they work – at home and office. But do women feel safe? Shouldn’t women feel safe?

With March being observed as Women’s History Month, several discussions have been taking place in various organizations, groups, schools and media across the world. Many successful women are being interviewed for their opinions about issues like sexism, feminism, gender biases, pay disparity, women safety, domestic violence, mental harassment, sexual abuse and so on.

Newspapers, magazines and online media are overflowing with articles on issues that women have been facing from time immemorial. While women are now making their presence in the fields that were previously prohibited for them, new threats are approaching them, as a by-product of this shift. Men somehow are seeing them as a threat to their incumbent male dominance; as competitors at work places; as rivals in examinations; and so on. Many NGOs are working towards justice in various brutal cases against women that have happened over last few years. As I write this, I realize there are just too many areas where women have to fight, every day, for justice, equality, freedom, dignity, love, and I-don’t-know-what-else, as this list seems just endless to me!

Recently, I read an article on women who travel for business. It listed 20 points to keep in mind while travelling, and advised that a woman can be safe if she takes care of those 20 points! Dude, are you kidding me? You are telling us to keep twenty-odd points in mind, and then we are probably safe? While men focus on business presentations during their business trips, women need to focus on their safety? But I don’t think the organizations expect any less output from a woman than a man, as a compensation!

While men focus on business presentations during their business trips, women need to focus on their safety?

Have we ever read a news quoting, “A middle-aged man was sexually harassed, raped, and later murdered in XYZ street”; or “A newly married man was brutally beaten by his drunken wife”? Looks strange and uncommon, isn’t it? Just replace ‘man’ with ‘woman/girl’ in the above quotes, and you would find them familiar again – so familiar that we won’t even get surprised on hearing a news like that. Some make it to our discussions every day, and the rest all go un-noticed, un-heard, or un-reported.

Before I express my opinion on any of these issues, I have some quotes from girls across the world. Let’s take a look at them.

 I don’t feel safe when I am travelling alone; however, in a group of strong, brave men, I feel more prone.

I don’t feel safe when I am travelling in a public-ferry.

I don’t feel safe when I am travelling in a private-taxi.

I don’t feel safe when I wear a skirt.

I don’t feel safe when I wear a burqa.

I don’t feel safe when I walk on the streets of my city, at night.

I don’t feel safe when I visit a new place, even in the daylight.

My mother advises me to not take any assistance from anyone other than my friends.

My father advises me to not make any friends.

My in-laws think that I should not go out for work.

My boss thinks that with this output, I should not ask for any perk.

My in-laws want me to ‘produce’ babies until it’s a boy.

My husband thinks he now owns my body as if I am just a toy!

I can assure you that there is no exaggeration in any of these situations, and that this list is only a small part of the millions of other voices that are still struggling to be heard, someday.

Can we, for the sake of humanity, stop playing the various roles that make a woman’s life hell? And please, let’s not say that we don’t play. The irony is that we don’t even realize when we act like one because we are too used to creating and promoting an environment that is highly disturbing for women. Women don’t have to fight with men, or take revenge. We only ask for a society where we don’t need to be constantly worried about our safety, dignity, freedom, expression and happiness.

We have to go a long way before we can truly celebrate a day, month or year dedicated to women!

Image of a stressed out woman via Shutterstock

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