In the early 70s, my visits to Delhi and Calcutta involved late night travels within the city. During my trips to Japan during 1985-95, my working hours were most unpredictable extending beyond midnight most days and I’d travel back to my hotel by myself. Recently between 1995 to 2009, my usual practice was to drive back home from e-city in the late hours. I am not sure whether cities was safer or I was just lucky.
Nevertheless we have to face cruel realities of today. I understand as young women you are raring to go and want to have the freedom to work at your chosen hours and build your careers. If one is worried all the time as to how one can reach home, I am sure it will be frustrating.
Years ago, we had fewer women in the work place. Though accepting women in work place was an issue then, it was perhaps easier for companies to ensure safety of women. With large number of women joining the workforce, it can be more challenging to account for all aspects. I believe we should collectively create a safety net around us.
Yes, the government has the responsibility of ensuring safety of citizens, and industry should take care of the safety of employees, particularly women both at work place and elsewhere. Public transport systems and security systems require a major thrust along with changes in attitude.
While we will continue to urge the authorities to augment the personnel, systems and processes to make our lives safer, let us also look at ways to protect ourselves. Our reactions needs to match our environment; if there is any perceived threat, we are better off taking necessary precautions. We often assume we are insulated, nothing will happen to us and we can take care of ourselves. God forbid nothing should happen, but a bit of preparedness can avoid traumatic experiences faced by Nirbhayas/Pratibhas
Traveling alone in autos or unauthorised transport vehicles during late hours is a risk. Autos/ Tempo Travellers may save time and money but at what cost? Using unauthorised modes promotes violations of transport and safety laws; it impacts public transport services negatively, getting into a downward spiral which makes it even more ineffective.
Being alert and having a planned approach can help reduce impulsive and risky decisions to travel in unknown vehicles. Yes, such incidents disturb us, shake our confidence and create panic. We also tend to ask why is that I cannot do what I want? Why I am not allowed to do what I want even in such simple things like going out and finding safe transport. We tend to react angrily to some of the safety measures suggested. I share similar sentiments but unfortunately society has not just reached a point to guarantee a safe ecosystem. We need to tactfully manage the situation and take safety precautions.
Just an example: at Electronic City, we deploy the Central Industrial Security force (CISF) to ensure security for all of us working here in e-city. It doesn’t mean we are weak – it just shows we are proactive and prepared.
Let us accept that we are not in a ideal situation. Giving importance to personal safety can prevent ugly incidents.