Some Safety Tips For Women

22 year old BPO employee gang-raped in a moving van.

There was a time when chancing upon such headlines was a rarity. It’s not to say that rapes didn’t occur as often or as unapologetically in the past as it does today. No, none of those things actually. But maybe, the sheer audacity of committing such crimes, say in a moving vehicle, wasn’t so commonplace at one point in time? Perhaps our parents would be able to ratify this assumption, if true or just a fallacy.

This world, our world, has woken up to a new era, an era where fear is an entity extinct in a prospective perpetrator’s heart. It’s a nightmare really, well, if you happen to dwell on it earnestly even for a moment. An utterly scary proposition for every family rather.

Ever since Nirbhaya, there is a spurt in the number and frequency of outrageous incidents of more of less the same nature. Well, at least it seems so to the layman in me. What's horrifying is there appears to be no apprehension in perpetrating such crimes, none whatsoever.

Where does that leave us - the girls and women of this country?

There is a constant evaluation taking place in our minds, isn’t it? We don’t know whom to trust. We are suspicious of the company’s cab driver as well as of the water can supplier. In fact, even the pizza delivery boy doesn’t make the cut. We don’t know if we should join the gym, for all we know the gym instructor could turn out to be a pervert in waiting. Sadly, even the security personnel of our apartments fail to qualify.

There is a hesitation in us all. We have been pushed to a corner where misgivings about every male who walks in and out of our lives is a given. But while this is not a good thing, I feel, it’s not so bad either. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this unease is what ultimately makes us watchful and keeps us safe.

Now, we cannot change those men who think women are theirs to torment and loot. But we can certainly be vigilant, that’s in our hands, isn't it?

So, here are a few steps that we can take, a few things we can do, to avert finding ourselves in such situations. Now, I’m no expert so I urge you to add on to the list too.

·         Never step into a cab or any other vehicle at night which has another male commuter. Never, ever.
·         If you miss the office cab and it’s late, stay back at the office, I say. Call your friends and family to see if they can pick you up and drop you home. If not, then I reiterate again, stay back at the office.
·         Keep your phone charged, speed dials set before venturing out late at night or anytime of the day for that matter.
·         Remember, your safety is only your concern, apart from your family's of-course.
·         In the event of any untoward incident, do not panic. I know it's easier said than done but you need to try and fight it.
·         Avoid areas which are not safe, especially when you are alone.
·         Always chose safety when the other option is saving money.
·         Don't let strangers in to your home, not even for a moment.
·         If feasible, take lessons in self-defense techniques.
·         Don't get bullied by managers in to attending office at ungodly hours. Remember you need to stand up and speak for your safety. Your employer probably doesn't care what happens to you.
·         As much as it's imperative that we don't alter our lifestyle due to fear, its also equally, if not more, necessary that we weigh the pros and cons of going somewhere or trusting someone.

I know these are not enough by any standards. And if you look carefully, these are perhaps helpful only to some extent to women working in metros or towns. I honestly don't have the slightest idea as to how we can keep our sisters in the rural areas safe or what they can do to fight this. They don't have it easy. If anything, they probably have it harder considering the barbaric episodes that come to the front.

Well, all I want to say through this piece is that do whatever possible to be safe. Let's not make it easy for them to rip apart our sanity. Let's show them we may be afraid but we certainly won't go down without a fight.

Stay safe!

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