Women’s safety remains a cause of concern in the metropolitan city of Bangalore. After the year started on a horrifying note for women in the city following the New Year’s Eve mass molestation, the city has again found itself in the midst of a controversy. Recently, a woman, who took an Ola cab around 2 am, was sexually assaulted by the cab driver. The woman, a singer by profession, later lodged a case with the Bommanahalli police.

The police are now on a manhunt for the accused driver. In her complaint, she said that the man took a detour and took her to an isolated location. She identified the driver as one Ravi. After reaching an isolated area, he began molesting the woman, who couldn’t even call for help because she could not see anyone in that secluded area.

“There were two guys right in front of my PG. One man was pretty old and used to come almost every day post-midnight. He used to shag staring at our windows.”

Women have to take personal cabs at night because of the lack of safe public transport at all times of day and night. And many women who have night shifts have to rely on cab aggregators to get home safe. However, many instances of cab drivers misbehaving with women have come to the fore.

A 25-year-old from Indiranagar, Lakshmi C Nair, told SheThePeople.TV that nothing as such has happened to her in Bangalore. “But I have observed a few drivers getting rude and demanding at night as they know most women won’t get off the cab at that time.”

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Nair also shed light on the problem of night flashers in the city. “Night flashers are those people who come naked at night. They disturb you, but are harmless. Usually exhibitionists. Generally, these are people who strip in front of you or hide behind something naked just to flash when women pass.”

She recollected, “There were two guys right in front of my PG. One man was pretty old and used to come almost every day post midnight. He used to shag staring at our windows.”

“I got flashed at a dozen times when I was in Koramangala. This happens in areas where there are girls’ colleges. Koramangala 5th block mostly,” she said.

Nair has been living in Bangalore for over six years now and she recently shifted from Koramangala to Indiranagar.

Another resident of Bangalore, Shalina Pillai, who lives in the central part of the city, said, “Personally I haven’t come across any such incidents myself. I guess it depends on the driver as well.”

“But, if it’s at night, I usually inform one of my friends that I’m taking a cab. And I’m always on high alert, as we all are I’m sure, noting the driver behaviour and sharing the cab details to my friends if I notice anything funny.”

Many women today have incorporated ways to prevent crimes. Talking over phone, using personal GPS to check that the route being taken is correct, sending out the driver’s information to friends and family are a few of the measures

There are people who have managed to come out unscathed in risky situations. A 25-year-old woman, who wants to remain anonymous, narrated her own ordeal. “I usually go home late and once, sometime in December last year, I boarded an Uber from Brigade Road. My house is in Indiranagar but the cab driver started driving towards Shantinagar. When I asked him why he’s going the wrong way, he said this is the short cut.”

“Ma’am, I think you are new to Bangalore. I know the route,” the driver said.

The woman rolled down the window and told the driver to stop, but he kept going. “When we reached the main road, I started yelling that he’s taking me to the wrong area. Some people, students I think, came in front of the car and he had to stop the cab. I got out, called my friend and told him to drop me home. Every time I board a cab alone, I’m always on call either with my sister or one of my friends after this incident.”

She added, “I don’t have a problem going out at night but I am still not over the incident. It may take me a while but I can’t help feel that maybe the cab driver is going to turn out to be a jerk. I will not always be lucky. I still have those thoughts. I think it may take me a while but just not yet.”

While it is majorly about safety, the whole issue is also restraining women from going out of their houses. This lowers the visibility of women in public spaces, which makes it even scarier for women to come out.

More Stories by Poorvi Gupta 

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