RIP Freedom: The Woman’s Checklist To Being Safe In Public

Posted: May 25, 2015

The checklist of things to ensure women’s safety in public places grows ever longer. How can this be compatible with Freedom?

“Can I trust your rest rooms?” was my question to the Manager at a 5-star hotel in Cochin.

Ever since the Fab India fitting room incident, Indian women have something more to be paranoid about (as if they didn’t have enough reasons until then).

When we walk on the streets, hire a cab, check into a hotel, are out late in the evening, we are vigilant. It’s not because we aren’t confident women; it is because we are losing confidence in the world that is around us.

We constantly look around to make sure everything is intact and that there are not hidden cameras or clandestine eyes watching us. This again is not because we lack confidence. It is because our freedom is being stolen from us through the abuse of the electronic medium and people with dreadful intentions behind such media.

It surprised me that I asked such a question at a hotel; it also caught the person fielding my question off guard. If the world is moving at high-speed toward an unsafe place then we have to ensure our safety by asking such questions…so if there are hidden cameras on one side, on the other side, we have a query for those hidden cameras.

Across the length and breadth of India, we have women who have several behaviours that are part of their daily safety regime. Its really amazing how women get used to these safety behaviours on auto pilot. These behavioural adjustments also restrict our mobility.

There are times we want to check the fitting of clothes by sitting down if we are buying the dress for such an occasion, there are times we want to try a dance move because that’s the reason behind the purchase, there are times we want to do the catwalk around and see if our tyres and love handles are well handled by the dress. (The next time around, women should try on clothes and first kick the eyes behind those cameras).

The Internet is full of checklists for women such as what to do before you undress in a fitting room or relieve yourself in a public bathroom. So before we get to our primary task, we have peripheral tasks to do; we have the duty of a CBI.

When I make a dash to the washroom, I am aware of the check list from the Internet; my bladder is not aware of the hidden camera. So, before we enter the wash room we have to counsel our bladder to hold on till the vigilance duty has been adhered to.

There are times we forget the checklist, there are times we leave our phones with someone and make a dash to the washroom/fitting room..

So now, we either decide to buy a dress, do the trial at home and bring it back because it is ill-fitting or we learn our vital statistics like a pro and a look at the dress and we know bingo, it fits to the T. That’s the choice we are left with… that solves the fitting room challenge. How about the washroom?

Instead of making checklists for women, if we could have strict vigilance at public places like these, then we can be fearless eves…but what about the eves who don’t have access to such information? Do they find themselves getting exposed and being seen on the Internet with their clothes down?

Every time such an incident happens, women have a new set of rituals to do before they can actually do what they came to do. A time is not far off when we will spend 24 hours checking the list at public places and at home…in this manner, child rearing and home keeping will be gradually transferred to men…Sorry, we are busy checking the list!

Let us stand up for a silent prayer, read a few verses from the Holy Book of Liberty, give our blessings, shed a few tears and say goodbye to freedom.

RIP Freedom….I’ll miss you so much.

Woman in the dark image from Shutterstock

Jaseena Backer is a Psychologist. The world knows her as a Parenting Strategist and Gender

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