By ElsaMarie DSilva, cofounder of Safecity

 

Our country is celebrating the 69th anniversary of its Independence. We are celebrating Freedom. It should be a matter of joy, pride, inclusiveness and belongingness.

 

But how can it be? ….when this past week, we have had several incidents in Mumbai, Delhi and other parts of the country which continues to restrict the freedom of women.

 

Shockingly, about 40 sets of consenting adults who had checked into hotel rooms for some privacy at Madh Island, Mumbai were paraded, humiliated, arrested and made to call their parents as though they were little children caught shoplifting. Yet in Delhi, when a man forcibly kissed a woman, the Delhi police refused to arrest him, claiming the charges were baseless.

 

In Delhi, when a man forcibly kissed a woman, the Delhi police refused to arrest him, claiming the charges were baseless.

These incidents only serve to remind us that society and our culture view women and their rights very differently from those of men. It seems as though women are inanimate objects who do not feel and who can be subjected to any kind of inhuman behaviour.

 

Picture by img.91mobiles
Picture Credit: img.91mobiles

 

Let’s not forget the many other stories during the year about women and girls being subjected to all kinds of physical and sexual assaults. From being targeted in the womb to being killed when they are born for being a female to being sexually assaulted when young to being married off before even becoming an adult to demands from dowry and all kinds of other oppression and suppression.

 

 We need a level playing field where we have the same access to public spaces as our male counterparts

 

This is the 21st century and women don’t need to be “protected” or patronised. We need a level playing field where we have the same access to public spaces as our male counterparts, where we have the same opportunities as they do and where we are not judged differently or where there is no unrealistic expectation from us.

 

This Independence Day I wish for a country where women and girls are treated with dignity and respect. Where we are unafraid to step out of our homes and know that we will not be ogled or leered at, commented upon, stalked or assaulted. Where we are happy to participate in all activi-ties in society thus achieving our potential and taking our rightful place as the other half of the pop-ulation.

 

 

ElsaMarie DSilva is the cofounder and Managing Director of Safecity. She is an Aspen New Voices 2015 Fellow and you can follow her on @elsamariedsilva

 

Picture Credit: Blog