Whenever we talk about violence on women, we hear about rapes, molestation and other forms of heinous assaults. However, what touches me more is how majority of the female population finds its freedom injured – every single day. City roads are too unsafe for them to exercise choices like traveling back home late at night. The space and time of commuting is the most vulnerable for women.
Be-bus-i ka Bayaan
Some days back, my friends and I were recollecting our college days and how it used to be so much fun traveling in buses. That’s when a female member of the group said that she could never experience what it was like to travel in a bus because her parents had serious concerns about it. In Delhi, there are no special buses for women. I know some of the chartered buses have, near the driver seat, these cabins, which are made supposedly to accommodate women passengers who travel regularly through these buses. Now that reminds me of this meme that is doing rounds on Facebook.
Men, deliberately, get too close and you can’t do much when the bus is so crowded. Buses, for ladies, have always been the symbols of danger –being depicted as the most common site (including bus stands) of eve teasing, in popular culture. Sometimes, I wonder whether the chief reason for survival of the Delhi autowallahs, despite their notoriously aberrant meters, is this very helplessness of women in avoiding buses.
Women avoid traveling even in an auto in case they do not know the way, as there is this perpetual fear of being driven somewhere else. Delhi Metro, even with its first coach reserved for women, is not been able to help much. Cases of harassment continue to be reported. Even the cab services are not seen as safe. With some horrible incidents featuring the involvement of drivers, women think twice before hiring them to travel.
That is not all. Women driving their own vehicles are not spared. There goes this saying, especially popular among men – “While driving, beware of the three Ls – Learners, Lorries and Ladies.” I have seen how some male drivers are used to passing lewd remarks about female drivers. And ladies cannot even respond to them because they just want to reach home safe.
On discussing the problems women face, with some of my friends, I think what they go through on a daily basis is regardless of whether they have been ‘harassed’ physically. In general, they just become so much sensitive to any interaction with the opposite sex. The gradual formation of this attitudinal foundation impacts the society at large, in ways one cannot even imagine. So, will gender sensitization ever be able to make day-to-day issues like these as their focus areas? Keep coming back to this section for more.