Neha
Are we safe? In the comfort of our homes, within the secured walls of our work places, while travelling in those public buses filled with so many of our kinds, while shopping in the busiest of markets...... are we 'women' safe??? My male counterparts might say that amidst all the terror activities all around, nobody is safe. I agree. But what about us, the fairer sex, who feel threatened with every uninvited glance coming our way?

I, too, have been subjected to such situations and have felt victimized. Of course, there is the option to stay as safe and alert as you can, but both these terms are subjective. With the number and kind of cases you hear and read about everyday, you feel angry and at the same time, helpless! There are perverts and sick people all around us and we have to share the space with them. We don't know them, we cannot recognize them... all we can do is protect ourselves to the best of our abilities. There are some rules I follow, which I want to share with you (forgive me for sounding like a dadi-ma :).
  1. Prefer travelling/commuting with someone, especially during late hours; else avoid going at all! I know I'm sounding like an old granny, but that's too small a price to pay for our safety, trust me.
  2. Carry a self-defense weapon always. I, too, have been carrying a pepper spray on me for the last four years now - a gift my brother gave me on Valentine's Day! And I have used it once in Gurgaon! Whenever I am travelling alone, it is in my hands and my cell phone in the pocket! It's the best weapon that works from eight feet away!
  3. Be alert even while you are in an auto rickshaw or cab. I was returning from Noida and was on a call when the auto driver took a left into a dark, lonely by lane. I asked him to stop immediately, while he said it was a shortcut. I yelled at him and finally, he returned to the main road... rather hesitantly.
  4. If you hire car/taxis frequently, do that from one trusted company only. Staying away from home, I require one frequently especially for going for weddings, receiving family etc, which usually are around late evenings and at those times, I make it a point to book one in advance from a place I have known for years now (however, I still am on my guard).
  5. Do NOT wear clothes that are revealing, flimsy or too short/tight, if you are going out alone! Wear it only when you are with friends, preferably male friends in the group and that too in your (or friend's) car. A friend's wife argued that doing this was taking away our freedom. Why can't we wear what we like, whenever we want to? The answer is simple - you sure do not want unwanted attention or invite any trouble for yourself. If you are going for a party, why not carry a dress and change there, rather than travelling to the venue all dressed up in a cab or auto? Again, don't return alone!
  6. Avoid empty/dark lanes or roads. How much ever late you are getting, take the longer busier route.
  7. Do NOT take lifts from people you don't or you barely know! I was negotiating with an autowala in Defense colony market when this gentleman (???) called out to me saying that he knew me and we had met before. When I denied knowing him, he introduced himself and insisted on dropping me to my destination. When I further refused and walked away, he followed. I immediately sat in the nearest auto and made a quick exit.
  8. If you feel you are being stalked/followed, trust your gut feel and don't hesitate to call for help. It's happened with me also. In fact, the last time it was in Lajpat Nagar market a few weeks back. I walked up to the entry area where there's security and hung around there till I felt safe enough to leave.
  9. Change your routes and timings frequently. You never know when it is being taken note of!
  10. Even when you are in your work place, be alert and awake. You sure have heard of incidents in these places. And if anything untoward happens, call for help immediately.
  11. Try joining some karate classes. A couple or two of those stunts will sure make you feel safer and more confident.
  12. A woman has that sixth sense to know and tell the intentions of a man. And I believe in that completely. So, believe in yourself! In these times, when trusting people you know is so difficult, trusting strangers is out of the question!
  13. Never pass or stand close to a halted car, especially if is dark. (Courtesy: Vartika :) )
  14. Join groups like http://www.fight-back.net/ and http://blog.blanknoise.org/. And don't just join; be active and participate. Till now, even I felt that these are not meant for me; but now I have every reason to be there, take a stand and fight back against all those perverts who think that they can get away with anything that they want! I don't know what big a difference can I make; but even a small effort will help me look into the eye when I face the mirror. (Thanks Ani, for all your info on these :). )

This post must have raised quite a few brows and I understand those well. But this is the least I can do for others like me. However strong a woman may seem, she'll feel helpless and confused when faced with such situations, when you have lesser time to react. However, there is one thing that you need to keep in mind always. Never compromise at the price of your honor. Forget what the world will say. It's your safety and honor that is MOST important.

And blogdosts, I will love to hear your ideas and opinion of how we can make ourselves safer. Your tips will sure help us not feel alone in a bad bad world!

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27 Responses
  1. Blog Dost Says:

    Three more tips:

    #1) Add the universally-hated 'Dadaji-ki-advice' to this 'Dadi-ma-k-nuskhe'-wali list--get married! At least 50% risks will be automatically negated, remaining 25% will be partially negated, and rest??...Well, how monotonous the life would become without any risks :)

    #2) Get the granny-type get up, whenever you go out. WARNING: You still risk being stalked by some dandy grand-pops! :)

    #3) Secrecy is the key. Don't reveal all your defense tips to us guys (whatever may be our age). We can always find novel ways... ha ha ha.


  2. Well i loved ur weapon for defense but do check it's effectiveness from time to time :)

    rest yes the fairer sex who are working carry more risk. U can create lot of measures but best is to be alert and not to try invite more attention(not sounding like a dadji here).[U can't stop the other person's thought process but u can try to reduce ur risks]

    @Blog dost: i fail to understand how does getting married reduces risk by 50%??? unless the husband is a superman and becomes the guard for her 24*7.

    Cheerio,
    PN


  3. Blog Dost Says:

    Prasant, thank Havens that you failed to understand, otherwise it would have created a gender-crisis...'coz it was meant to be understood ONLY by a female.. ;)
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    PS: don't mind!


  4. Anjali Says:

    Quite interesting and useful blog...U doing a great job gurl :)


  5. Blog Dost: Don't worry i would leave u and ur female fan following to understand it.

    Keep Rocking,
    PN


  6. ani_aset Says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. ani_aset Says:

    Lovely post neha. Just to add to this, Recently when I was in delhi and i went through the newspaper, i was shocked to see the rise in crime against women. Mumbai i still feel is safer (though we have had horrible incidents here too). I would just request you to also encourage girls to join groups like FIGHTBACK, BLANK NOISE. These groups will help you to raise your voice and concern through the right channel. These groups are supported by some people from media like Raghu, Ranvijay of MTV and Zubin driver from TV18.


  8. Neha Says:

    Blogdost - Thanks for those tips; but then, I, too, am curious to know how getting married can solve the problem. As for the granny get up, I'd say that sober, unrevealing clothes work just fine; we have already have had national debates on our (women's) dress code! And rest assured, we women also have our secrets well-kept :)


  9. Neha Says:

    @ Prashant - Testing the effectiveness of the spray on someone is a cruel idea! :). But, yes, I do have it ready; in fact, I keep shaking it time to time to have it handy always.
    True, there's nothing that we can do about people's mentality and thought process, but there surely are measures that we need to and we should take... however orthodox they may sound!


  10. Neha Says:

    Thanks Anjali... keep drooping by and writing :)


  11. Neha Says:

    Thanks Ani, I will add the links of the websites to the post :).


  12. Neha Says:

    Ani - your point is there :). ANd I have joined the groups too. Thanks a ton!



  13. Neha,
    u might have read this, if not have a look(though the point of wearing high heels,carrying big and heavy bags is bit strange)

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Delhi/High-heels-for-Delhi-womens-safety/articleshow/4358853.cms

    Keep Rocking,
    Prasant


  14. arpit Says:

    @ blogdost : i think you got to clear certain misconceptions you might have build in . .....firstly women are still being tortured , murdered and raped within this so called "marital bliss" in which sometimes the husband turns out to be a pervert( catch up with these stories in the newspaper because they are full of it). secondly i guess either you are not aware of the happenings in your surroundings or you are just being ignorant while being tied to those traditional dadaji ke nuskhe ....thirdly those dadaji ke nuskhe have to be left to the "dadji era" because times are changing ...


  15. Blog Dost Says:

    @Neha, Prasant and Arpit,

    I would love to take this discussion forward, but for that I want Neha's consent before turning her blog into a battleground of thoughts!:)

    Neha, may I? Else you can always visit me @ http://blogdost.blogspot.com


  16. arpit Says:

    @ blogdost : oh surely, i think she is always open to listening to diverse views ....so you may go ahead
    and i am looking forward to your dicussion
    after all blogging is all about communicating ...so we all are ready


  17. Neha Says:

    @ Pushkar - Thanks :)


  18. Neha Says:

    @ Blogdost, Prashant & Arpit - As long as the objective is not lost, I am game for all debates and discussions... so go on!


  19. Neha Says:

    @ Prashant - I read that article; don't know about the funda of high heels and heavy bags, but they sure will make running difficult! Btw, girls bags are usually heavy :). But the other tips in the article are sure useful. Thanks :)


  20. Only if the high heels come with some kind of sharp knife attached to it(something like the Chinese martial art movies/ the rajnikant movies)...Rest bags carried by girls...hmmm, no comments on that(the whole world is there in it).

    keep rocking,
    Prasant.


  21. Neha Says:

    @ Prashant - Lolz... for our bags, the lesser talked, the better :)... and for the high heels, can get one of those attached to mine... but too cumbersome and expensive affair.... will invest in some good running/jogging shoes instead :)


  22. @Neha:
    Yes i have a great experience with that bag, so the less we talk on that more the merrier
    yes it's a tough affair with that heels as u have to learn how it works and execute on some too. so sports shoes are not a bad idea.:)
    have a grt weekend.
    Prasant.


  23. @ Ani: Rise in crimes or rise in crimes reported? ... have been trying to find out for a long time now but the question remains unanswered.

    @ Neha: There was this video of a 5 foot something nigger in the elevator with a girl at least half a foot taller floating on FB sometime bck... that's one of the reasons...

    I do not dispute what you've written but the tone reminded me of the above video


  24. Blog Dost Says:

    Dear NPA,

    [no...no...no...it doesn't mean Non-Performing Assets, it only means Neha, Prasant and Arpit :)]

    Sorry friends, was quite busy with work...so didn't get time to respond promptly. Though I love my job but at times it becomes too demanding.

    My response is on my blog 'coz I was jealous of your high visitor counts as compared to 35 on mine:)

    here you go..


  25. Anand Says:

    Hey...long time,
    How be u?

    Mumbai seems safer compared to other places in India...although it's not 100%.
    But yep..agreed. Women need to take control. High time.

    U carry pepper spray..really? Damn.


  26. ani_aset Says:

    You have been tagged http://honestconfessionsofanmba.blogspot.com/2009/04/my-first-tag.html