Crimes against women have risen significantly in the city. According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau data, Mumbai stands second only to Delhi when it comes to women’s safety. In Mumbai, specifically, women have been victims of acid attacks, rapes, eve-teasing, abductions and sexual harassment.
To prevent the rising incidents of attacks on women, it is important to severely punish the offenders. This will act as a deterrent for many perverts. Only stringent punishment can keep perpetrators away from committing such heinous crimes.
Setting up of fast track courts will ensure quick delivery of justice. The government should also ensure that the moneyed class and political parties don’t influence a trial.
Apart from this, the government must install CCTVs in public places, and ensure that they are monitored round the clock. A special police cell should always be active to reach out to women in distress. For their personal safety, women should always save a few emergency numbers on speed dial.
A combination of such state-initiated measures and alertness on the part of women will surely help reduce crimes against women.
Prompt arrests and quick punishment will help a great deal
Until recently, women felt safest in Mumbai compared with any other Indian metro. Today, however, they fear about their safety even in broad daylight. Daily incidents of sexual harassment, rapes and robberies have made women nervous about leaving their homes. It’s disgusting to read news reports like the one in which a 62-year-old woman was raped in her house.
So many teenage girls fear sexual harassment on their way to college. Working women, on the other hand, face sexual harassment by male bosses, colleagues and seniors at their workplace.
To drive this fear away from their minds, the police must win their faith by arresting offenders with a sense of immediacy. Frequent patrolling of streets, public transport and public places will also help in preventing such crimes.
—Kritika M Bhatia
Make laws more women- and witness-friendly
It’s a pity that most cases of violence against women, don’t reach their logical conclusion. Often, women back out as they don’t want to repeatedly narrate their sufferings to family, friends, police, as well as lawyers and judges inside a courtroom.
Why can’t we amend the laws and make them more women-friendly? Do we really need to make women relive their trauma in the name of giving them justice?
Besides, a few amendments will also make it easier for witnesses to stick to their testimonies. It would be nice if the law didn’t compel them to come to a court and testify in public. An affidavit followed by a private hearing could be sufficient. It’s a shame that even in the Dombivli eve-teasing case, which led to the death of a young man who tried to intervene, not a single witness is willing to come forward.
On the whole, apart from police protection and friendlier laws, women also need to take adequate self-defence training. Keeping pepper spray and shock pens handy can be useful.
The judiciary’s role is also very important. Besides punishing the offenders severely, it should also levy a heavy fine on them. To teach repeat offenders a lesson, the government should confiscate their passports and all other important documents.
—Deendayal M Lulla
Reader of theweek
SN Kabra, businessman
Don’t open your door to random plumbers, maids
It’s worrying to see so many incidents of crimes against women in the city. The most important thing is to nip the problem in the bud. This can be done by teaching young boys and teenagers the importance of respecting women. For this, both parents and teachers, need to play an active role.
At the state level, we need to toughen the laws to instill fear in the minds of perpetrators. Most repeat offenders get minimal sentences or they get out on bail and a basic surety.
The government should also set up fast track courts for speedy trials and quick delivery of justice. It should also install cameras at railway stations and in public places. Housing societies too should install cameras to keep better vigil. Women living alone should do a thorough background check before
hiring maids, or calling in a plumber or electrician.