In an effort to create awareness about women’s safety, a group of girl students of a private apparel management institute wore non-traditional dresses and travelled in a Metro train between Gurgaon and Delhi.
However, the students had to face sexually abusive remarks and gaze of several co-passengers throughout their journey.
About two dozen students were wearing their college T-shirt along with jeans or skirts and flaunted heavy makeup, hairstyle and accessories in parlance with the theme of ‘women’s security’ in the metro. They travelled from Huda City Centre to Kashmere Gate.
At Kashmere Gate station, the campaign was marred by comments by a senior citizen on the dressing sense of one of the activists.
“An elderly man pushed me and told my teacher that we are traitors and have no sense of proper clothing. He said we do not know the Indian culture and tradition and don’t respect it,” said Gurrehat Kohli, 19, who was wearing a T-shirt along with jeans and also draped a piece of cloth to symbolise a sari.
Although they carried the message ‘being fashionable does not mean being vulnerable’, the students said they can never dare dressing up like this, if they were not in a group.
“A boy on the train kept staring at us. I tried to stare back rudely signaling that I didn’t want him to do that, but he didn’t stop. There were others who passed comments on our make-up and accessories while many others smiled unnecessarily,” said 18-year-old Aditi Bhalotra.
Sanya Khatwani, 21, who travels by metro regularly, said, “I face such a situation every day. There would be someone looking at you in a lecherous manner.”
Somesh Singh, joint director of the institute, said the students wanted to tell people that women can be fashionable and yet have the right to dignity.
“The journey shows that we still have a long way to go to bring about a change in the mentality of people,” he said.