Women feel unsafe: Of petitions, activism and perceptions- March 19, 2012

The atmosphere of festive bonhomie at India Gate yesterday morning could have fooled some, but there was real anger simmering inside for a lot of us who chose to show our support by walking from India Gate to the President’s home Rashtrapati Bhawan to hand over a petition asking for measures to enhance safety for women.’We want women safe’ was what the event called itself….

The most unlikely people have spoken to me these past few days about feeling unsafe in Gurgaon. A girl who works at the beaut parlor across the road left her job after the latest rape that has triggered the spate of protests. Her friend recounted her personal experiences of being teased, heckled, harassed, a male friend who was dropping her home being beaten up, etc. My maid spoke about not being able to take up work on winter evenings as it wasn’t safe to walk or cycle back to her basti; she spoke of relatives being groped, pushed over from their cycles, people in passing cars trying to pull one young girl in…. Amid the outpouring is a scary sense of helplessness…there must be some way to change attitudes!

On Sunday morning, we saw a group of enthusiastic cyclists (some had come in from as far as Noida and civil lines), many walkers and a show of support from the Harley Davidson club; plus kids on skates, a street play, drummers….the works. I wouldn’t say there were a lot of emotional moments, but everyone felt strongly for the cause and proud of being able to do something, release the frustration and angst that was festering inside. Nupur and me clicked some pictures that document the protest march.

The hashtag being used on twitter for the campaign

Sunrise, India Gate, martyrs us all?

Aadyaa making a poster

Show of strength!

And the Harleys roared...adding a glam element we enjoyed!

Some 170 signatures on the petition and over 200 people...

Udai walked all the way and back carrying that. Is it enough to tell an 8 yr old that rape is a 'very bad thing' someone did to a woman? How else could I answer his question?

The Gurgaon Drum Circle also joined in...silent but rhythmic protest!

Gathering momentum...reaching the North and South blocks



About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on March 19, 2012, in Politics & Citizenship and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. We were discussing here and I was also thinking something last night…which your account of the women above also brings to light. One of the things that needs to be done perhaps is to speak to people in their language and where they are. It’s one thing for us to do a protest march from India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhavan or in front of Sahara Mall and quite another to go into these villages, talk to the sarpanch and do nukkad naataks etc to educate the men there. To sit with them on their charpais and discuss the differences in lifestyles and talk to them about the gap between those living in these (now) urban villages and us in our so-called cocoons. And talk to them either in the presence of the police (many of whom must be coming from the same villages). Or separately, whatever works.
    I was thinking y’day, for instance, none of us thought to write any of the posters in Hindi. I should have thought of it, if no one else.
    Unless we try to bridge the divide, we are only talking to ‘people like us’, and that is not enough.

  2. Thank you for writing about the Critical Mass. Thank you for coming out to support the cause. We have setup a facebook page, to carry on with this Critical Mass, and the Cause, to check with the office of the President, every month on what is the update and action taken on our Petition, please join the Facebook page at http://facebook.com/WomenSafe

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