Indore: Aimed at recognising the nascent criminal justice system, each year since 2010, July 17 is celebrated as the World Day for International Justice, also popularly known as International Justice Day, across the world. While the last century saw millions of casualties of war, genocide, mass rape, torture, slavery and other assaults on human dignity, in recent years, crime against women emerged as a prominent theme to contemplate on the occasion. With the ever increasing violence against the fairer sex and dealing with the challenges it pose; women have grown stronger than ever. However, the fight is not over yet and needs serious attention. TINA KHATRI speaks to some strong and independent women on safety in the city.
No country has achieved gender equality
Safety is living without fear! It is about being able to do anything freely, without any safety concern. After Nirbhaya’s case in Delhi, the whole country, especially women have now started protesting against sexual harassment. But, in my opinion men have not learnt any lesson and still continue to harass women, as no country has achieved gender equality to date. Almost 80 per cent of Indian women face public harassment. However, in the recent past Indore has improved in terms of women’s safety. The acid attack on Lakshmi was in the limelight, especially because she was one of the few girls, who were bold enough to seek justice for herself as well as all other victims of violence against women. So my suggestion to the women is “Please report it to stop it. Don’t get scared of anyone as you only live once!”
Ranu Jain Gupta, Entrepreneur
An individual must be self-realised to build resistance
In today’s chaotic times, I feel that justice is not given; rather it is always achieved after winning a hard and complex path of challenges. A person must be self-realised to build resistance and fight, be it in village, town or metro cities. As far as Indore is concerned, the crime rate is really alarming. It is absolutely not very safe now-a-days. I would like to share a personal experience of mine. Just a couple of months back, I parked my car outside a renowned bakery shop to do some marketing. Upon our return, we found my sister-in-law’s purse was stolen from the car after breaking its wind shields. I lodged a complaint, but till date we haven’t received any update. Similarly, people chasing women on road is a frequent scene in city. I would often stop my two-wheeler to resist such incidents, but without much success. It always counts that how many of us have that courage? I usually go by car instead of two-wheeler in late evenings considering my safety and security. But, this is really not the solution of the problem. Generally ladies get scared and become the victim of the circumstances.
Aparna Vyas, Educationist
Indore safer, needs more to do
Compared to larger cities in India, I would rank Indore as a safer city for women. Being a professional who has to do late nights sometimes, I have never felt insecure while coming back home from my work at night. However the fact remains – unless we achieve zero per cent crime against women, lot of work remains to be done.
Marlina Ramachandran, Regional head
Educate sons, do not scare daughters
When you compare Indore with other cities, it is comparatively safe. However, we still lack acceptance in society. As a cafe owner, I often come across situations where we feel discriminated for only being a woman. Some men cannot accept and handle women owning a place. Unable to bear the thought of women running a place, we are often faced with challenges created by men. This is just an example. Gender discrimination prevails in our society at every level. Since, men believe they are superior; it is justified for them to treat the ‘inferior’ wrongly. Here, we need a shift in educating our children. If parents explain their son to be decent instead of asking their daughter to be cautious, then we can hope to have a better society. We need a change in the way men think and live in our society. This change is possible only if we change the way our children grow up in.
Palak Talreja, Entrepreneur
Social stigma silences many victims
Yes, our city is safe for women when it comes to the comparison with other cities. However, it does not mean we have zero number of eve teasers. We have them in abundance. In maximum cases, people fail to get justice. Thousands cases are pending or not heard or just forgotten. It is very saddening truth that maximum cases of domestic violence remain unreported. Yes, most women have been taught to stay mum against sexual violence to avoid criticism and social stigma. Here, we need a society that supports a woman. This is the change we need. Only then, we can hope to hear voices and maybe then, hope to get justice.
Roshni Joshi, CA
Indore safer than others
Safety totally depends upon the society. If a woman or girl’s family admires her, if her coworkers give her respect, then definitely this brings a safe city to her. Definitely there are scope of change and improvement in women safety as well as justice. I myself have lived in three cities and travelled to almost all metros and 2-tier cities and I feel after Mumbai, Indore is the safest for women. Very few people stare us in this city as we are alien in this planet. I also feel the way we carry ourselves play an important part, especially in our work place and society.
Vanishing fear of punishment encouraging crimes
We live in a city, which let us breath free and fearless in the daytime. However, the same city turns scary and bleeding at night. If a woman makes a choice of moving around at night with friends, she may be spared, but if the choice is driving alone at night, a fear is always on the nerves with some strange eyes following all the time. Although, Indore has changed, its map a lot in terms of safety in last few years. It is sad to ponder that why women still cannot enjoy their independence effortlessly as men do. I can feel this fear in many working women too. The only reason which I feel allows someone to harass women and repeat it shamelessly, is the vanishing fear of punishment. If these bugs of city see a good menacing punishment for playing with modesty of a girl, they may hopefully fear the bitter consequence before bringing in bad eyes. A sounding justice to a woman being raped would be a lesson strict enough to end this crime.
Rashika Joshi, Trainer
Tolerating injustice is promoting it
Being a supporter of women empowerment, I personally believe that every woman must become capable enough to defend themselves and fight against what is wrong. We all have heard of this: “Tolerating a wrong attitude towards another person causes you to follow the spirit of the devil no matter how saintly you are.” No place is safe, let alone our city. Crime can happen anywhere, anytime, but women must be taught and aware about how to overcome the circumstances. Some of the women raise their voice against odds and succeed, while on the other hand some of them believe in staying mum that encourages people to harass them more. Even if a boy touches you in public with a wrong intension or hoots at you, you should not stay quiet or simply ignore, because may be the same person may do the same thing with another woman—be it your daughter, your mom, your sister or may be with your bestie. But if you would teach a lesson once, he would never do the same with anyone else. I have done this myself many a time and will keep doing this because “Tolerating injustice is promoting injustice.”
Rakshita Mehta, Culinary artist