When Vimukta Sharma would have left her house, did she imagine what the day had for her? Dif she even realise that she won’t return home that safe and fine? A college Principal, Vimukta Sharma was set ablaze by an ex-student while she was on duty. The family never thought that Sharma’s goodbye in the morning was her last. Why does the fear of not returning back safe surrounds women who go out for work or to pursue education? Why can’t women be safe in public spaces, especially in India?
This is not the only case that shocked us. In 2019, a veterinarian was gangraped and murdered by four men when she was returning from work. Then in Ballabhgarh, a 21-year-old girl was shot dead by her stalker when she was returning from her college. She had just stepped out of the college with her friend after appearing for her exam.
Cases are many but the question is that why should women face this fear every time? Why should women be afraid and suspicious when they are in public spaces? Why are women so easy targets of crime in public spaces?
Women Safety In India: Will I Return Safely? Question That Every Female Asks
Going to work or college is a luxury for women. Not every woman has the freedom to seek education or employment. But then because of these cases of crime against women, those who have the freedom feel discouraged and caged. Families of women don’t send them outside not only because of their gender but also because of the vicious crimes that happen in the outside world against women.
But who is responsible for all this? Society says it is women themselves. As per society women should mind their limits, keep themselves safe and not encourage men by taking the reigns of their life into their own hands. To keep themselves safe, women are told to avoid going out, wearing certain clothes, being open and opinionated, befriending men or speaking against them.
But this culture of victim-blaming has continued for ages. Men are never held responsible for their actions. They are never asked to mind how they behave in public. It is assumed that it is normal for men to be attracted to women and claim them as their property. Men are said that stalking, harassing or eve-teasing women is not right. They are never taught how they should behave with women they don’t know.
Is this fair? Should women bear the brunt of the recklessness of men? Should women stop moving ahead in life because of the fear of men? Wouldn’t this be another reason behind the decreasing ratio of women in the employment and education sectors?
So what is the solution? The only way to get out of this mess is to control men and their behaviour. Men need to be taught manners. They have to understand that just because a woman steps out to work or study, she is available. Just because women are free to speak, wear anything and be opinionated, it doesn’t mean they are easy targets. Women have the right to leave the house, be safe in public spaces and return safely. The blame lies on the upbringing of men and not on women. Stop criticising or restricting women for that sake. And start teaching men how to respect women.
Views expressed are the author’s own.
Suggested Reading: Remembering Vimukta Sharma, College Principal Who Was Set Ablaze By Ex-Student