Do I Feel SAFE?

Thursday, March 26, 2015 , 0 Comments

This post was originally published here -

With March being observed as Women’s History Month, several discussions have been taking places in various organizations, groups, schools, media etc across the world. Many successful women are being interviewed on their opinions about issues of sexism, feminism, gender biases, pay disparity, women safety, domestic violence, mental harassment, sexual abuse and so on. Newspapers, magazines, online media etc are overwhelmed 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 threats to their incumbent male dominance; as competitors in work places; as rivals in examinations; and so on. Many NGOs have become active for demanding 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, for equality, for freedom, for dignity, for love, and for I-don’t-know-what-else, as this list seems just endless to me!
Recently I read an article on women business-travelers. 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 all other men focus on the business side on their business trips, women need to focus on their “safety” side. But I don’t think you expect any less in output from a woman than a man, as compensation!

Have we ever read a news quoting, “A middle-aged man was sexually harassed, raped, and later murdered in XYZ street”; or “A boy, age 6, was kidnapped, harassed, and sexually abused”; or “A newly married man was brutally beaten by his drunken wife”; and so on. Looks strange, unfamiliar, isn’t it? Just replace ‘man/ boy’ by ‘woman/ girl’ in above quotes, and you would find them familiar again – too familiar that we don’t even get surprised on hearing a news like this. Some make to our gossip every day, and rest all go un-noticed, un-heard, or un-reported.

Before I express my opinion on any of these issues, their consequences on women’s mental and physical development, I have a few letters from various girls from across the world. Let’s take a look –

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 over the streets of my city, in the 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 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” the babies until it’s a boy;
My husband thinks he now owns my body as if I am just a toy!

I can assure there is no exaggeration in any of these plights, and I can assure 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 crusader 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 which is highly disgusting for women. Women don’t have to fight with men, or take any revenge. We just ask for a society where we don’t need to be constantly worried for safety, for dignity, for freedom, for expression, and for happiness. We have to go a long way before we can celebrate a day, month or year dedicated to women!

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.