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After the horrific rape of a veterinarian in Hyderabad recently, the police there saw fit to issue a 14-point advisory for women. Yes, you heard me right.
The advisory contained gems of wisdom for women such as being prepared to dial 100 at all times and not hanging out in dark areas.
Well, given that we as women are used to receiving such advice all our lives, and it hasn’t really helped us, I thought I would help the Hyderabad police (and any other police too, and civic authorities as well actually), by fixing the message so that it can reach those it actually needs to.
Dear friends in the police, I give you full permission to use this advisory instead of the one you released telling us to be more afraid than we have been before.
Update family with travel details. Update the criminal justice system with faster trials.
Share last location with family & friends, if possible. Share location of local police booths widely, and sensitise the personnel to respond immediately and in a friendly manner if a woman needs help.
Share picture of number plate, contact details of taxi/auto. State governments – expand the bus network and improve last mile connectivity closer to our homes so that women don’t need to depend on taxi/auto.
Check route if travelling to an unfamiliar place. Men, don’t hang around in unfamiliar places where you may make women feel unsafe. If you absolutely need to, stay away from a lone woman and don’t alarm her.
Always wait in crowded, well-lit areas. City corporators & municipal authorities, light up public places well at night so that women don’t have to worry about where to wait.
Move from an isolated area to the nearest shop. State governments, let shops and businesses function freely at night so that things don’t shut down in thriving cities at 10 PM.
Always be ready to dial 100. Cops, always be ready to attend to 100 calls quickly – don’t ask the caller thrice to ask for her address. (Yes, this has happened to me). Download ‘hawk eye’, keep location on for the app all the time. Cops, don’t wait for women to alert you using an app (which assumes she has a smart phone, an always-on data plan and good connectivity at all times). Instead, improve your neighbourhood patrolling (not moral policing).
Ask commuters for help in suspicious circumstances. Men, if a woman asks you for help, don’t rape her. Don’t make her feel unsafe by staring at her or making creepy remarks. Don’t sing at her.
If you are alone, call cops & pretend like you are talking to a kin. Men, if you are alone, continue being alone. Don’t feel like you need to rape someone.
Be confident, talk loudly when confronted, shout if needed. Men, be confident – when your peers make rape jokes, talk loudly, confront them. Shout at them if needed.
Shout, run towards crowded area if situation is helpless. People, when a woman runs towards you and tells you she is being harassed, don’t ask why she is out so late or wearing what she is wearing.
Inform local police about miscreants. Cops, proactively patrol and look out for women in your neighbourhoods, irrespective of whether she is a doctor, a sex worker, a transgender woman, a student out with her boyfriend or anyone else.
WhatsApp pictures on 9490616555 for verification. Cops, respond to us, and quickly, if we reach out to you – whether at the police station, on phone, via whatsapp or any other means.
I’ll close this by saying, dear cops, think about why we hesitate to call 100 or walk into a police booth even if we feel we are in danger. Could it be that we fear your response as much as we fear the dangers out on the streets?
First begin introspecting and training your staff, who will have the same biases against women out in public that our society does. Then you can train us on how to be safe.
Image via Pexels
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