The fear of being stalked, stared at, harassed and assaulted travels with women all the time they are using the city's public transport.
Even some policemen who travel with them undress them with their eyes. "If men spot a woman alone aboard a bus, they come and sit next to her, even if
seats are vacant," said daily commuter Nisha Sharma
, adding: "Purposely, they push her, and worst, the other passengers watch it quietly."
The bus stand and railway station are among the most unsafe places for women, as you see no separate queue or ticket counters for women. Policemen on duty don't care to stop women's harassment. "The government makes tall claims of providing women with security but its own employees harass women in public, especially aboard late buses," said saleswoman Pooja Sharma.
Many girl students who use public transport daily said even elderly men didn't behave, made vulgar gestures, and tried to make physical contact. "Auto-rickshaw drivers trouble girl students the most, especially if they are from outside the state. All of us cannot afford to buy own vehicles and leave public transport," said Neha Sharma, student at Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law.
Even working women have the same fear of travelling. Data operator Anju comes down from a village for work every day. "Every day, I have to travel with the fear of being stalked or harassed. Men at the bus stop pass vulgar comments at girls. If we complain, police ask us absurd questions."
Additional deputy commissioner Amrit Kaur Gill (ADC) says the problem is not the system but the psyche of men. "Unless their conscience is clear, women's harassment will continue," she said. "Men have to learn to let women live with dignity and freedom."
On policemen's troubling women, she said: "We will ensure that only men of character are deployed at public transport stations, though it's sad to hear what men in uniform do."
The sexual assault charge by a young journalist against her celebrity boss in a leading media organisation has shocked the entire country. How safe are women at workplaces in your city? What needs to be done to make women safe at work?
Sexual harassment is common at educational institutes but women are unsafe at even workplaces. It's sad that even women colleagues do not stand up for the victims. The problem is at every level, so office committees to redress women's grievances are necessary.
Neeraj Sharma, teacher
Safe working environment maintains the women's faith in their organisations. Sexual harassment is a reality in every office, yet only a few cases are reported. Women need to be aware of their rights, yet most don't even know what qualifies as harassment.
Nidhi Kaushal, bank employee
There is no office where women are not under evil gaze. Male-dominated society is yet to give them equal rights, even though they are expected to work the same as men. With more women becoming professionals, more cases of sexual harassment have emerged.
Minakshi Goyal, teacher
Many women have started working today but their security remains an issue. Every time a woman reports sexual harassment or assault, instead of getting justice, she gets the blame. The only way to make workplaces safe is to change this mindset.
Roopdam Kaur, government employee
Medicine is a safe profession for women. I have never heard of a woman doctor harassed at work; but after working hours, women's safety is an issue. Small-city women don't confront lecherous colleagues and bosses for the fear of being maligned.
Dr Jasleen Kaur, doctor
Educational institutes are safe workplaces for women, as women are in majority on the staff. It's the male-dominated offices that are unsafe. Organisations where women do late shifts should provide them with the pick and drop facility and adequate security.
Preeti Bajaj, teacher
As long as women are inside the office, they are safe. The moment they step out, they are not. On the streets, there are no guards, unless police do some patrolling. If crimes against working women go unpunished, the future of modern society is at stake.
Jasleen Kaur, professor
Male-dominated offices are not safe for women, yes, as stereotypes remain. Women don't have the same respect, even though they work the same hours as men. You can't wish away sexual harassment at work but you can speak up and confront the culprits.
Monica Kathuria, institute director
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