Apathy towards crimes against women emboldens offenders | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Apathy towards crimes against women emboldens offenders

A fourteen-year-old girl from Charkop was stalked for six months, kidnapped and repeatedly raped for more than a month by local goons before the crime branch rescued her from a hotel in Goa this week. The Borivli police had made light of a molestation complaint the girl filed two days before her abduction. Are the police failing to protect the city and its women?

mumbai Updated: Nov 20, 2011 01:35 IST

A fourteen-year-old girl from Charkop was stalked for six months, kidnapped and repeatedly raped for more than a month by local goons before the crime branch rescued her from a hotel in Goa this week. The Borivli police had made light of a molestation complaint the girl filed two days before her abduction. Are the police failing to protect the city and its women?

The Mumbai police has to play a major role in solving women-related crimes. Simply moral-policing is not enough. The police launch new help lines with much fanfare.

But they are of barely any use. When a woman is attacked, in the spur of the moment it’s not feasible to call a help line instantly. Sometimes, she may not even have access to a phone to call the helpline.

Women police should patrol public places such as railway stations, malls and roads outside colleges in plain clothes to keep an eye on pranksters and trouble-mongers. Women should also carry self-defense tools such as pepper and chilly sprays.
— Ajit

Educate girls on self-defence techniques

The police should start a campaign to educate people on registering FIRs against those who tease women or assault them. Parents should ask teenage girls to read crime stories in newspapers, so at least they are aware of their surroundings.

This will also help them to be on their guard.

Besides, ALMs can also contribute in preventing crimes against women by installing CCTV cameras. Since most young girls are active on social networking websites, there should be discussion forums to educate girls on self-defence techniques such as use of pepper spray and shock pens. Women can also set a police siren as their ring tone to scare away mischief mongers. The police should also set up patrolling teams to keep a watch on suspicious men in different localities.
— Deendayal M Lulla

Women are made to feel unsafe in police stations

Our police force is not sensitised to the problems of women. They look upon every woman entering the police station as a lady of cheap virtue, making her feel unsafe there. Thus, women do not like walking into police stations and when they do, they expect only dirty stares and awkward questions.

There was a proposal to depute a woman officer in each police station to look after the cases involving women, but that proposal seems to have been forgotten. Cases pertaining to women are looked into only if the victim has the right connections, or only after the case takes a turn for the worst.

This total apathy on the part of the policemen towards cases of abduction or molestation makes the offenders bold. The government should allocate a women’s forum in each area to bring women-related cases to the notice of the police, and to ensure there is no lapse on the part of the police to initiate action.

— Vanita Shenoy

We must take self-help measures

It is shamefully unfortunate but equally true that Mumbai is becoming increasingly unsafe for women. We used to pride ourselves on being a safe city but today the scenario has changed drastically.

The legal machinery in India has a lot of loopholes, so that even if the laws are made more stringent, their implementation will always be uncertain. The least we can do is to take some self-help steps which could mitigate crimes to some extent. For instance, schools and colleges could introduce self-defence classes and make them mandatory for all female students. That way, a woman should at least be able to protect herself reasonably before help arrives.

Medical stores could ensure that deterrent devices used for protection of women, such as pepper sprays, electric shock devices and immbolisers are easily available at retail stores.

As a woman, I feel that women should also not dress too provocatively. Remember, we are not in the West, and despite talks of women’s liberation, discretion is the better part of valour.

Above all, every citizen must come forward and help in order to bring about true change. Women’s safety is not only in the hands of the police; it is also the responsibility of society as a whole.
— Rashika Vazirani