Readers react: advice, advice and advice
Light at the end of the tunnel?: The Nirbhaya case shook the nation’s conscience. Endless debates and protests followed. But has the ground reality changed? Are women living a secure life today? Do they go out alone? Has anything changed? All advisories continue to be for women onlychandigarh Updated: Dec 12, 2013 13:04 IST
Girls are sexually assaulted at parties
Teenagers, particularly girls, are enticed by boys and lured into sexual business in the name of friendship on social media such as Facebook and other networking sites. Young girls become easy targets of unscrupulous elements and start meeting strangers, landing into trouble. Such friendships are not genuine and girls fall into traps. They are invited to parties and taken to undisclosed locations and sexually assaulted. So, girls and even married women should not befriend unknown people online to keep trouble at bay. Online crimes against women are on the rise and the fairer sex needs to be cautious about criminals in the guise of “friendships.”
RK KAPOOR, TV-theatre artiste & freelance writer, Chandigarh
Girls chat with strangers online
Many people, particularly girls, befriend strangers online and chat with them. But, eventually, they end up becoming victims. They should not communicate with unknown people. Miscreants also post false evidence online. There should be a way to check this practice. People should be responsible enough and not indulge in such practices. Cases of crime against women have increased manifold. Many people are not scared of women police personnel. They should be tall and confident. Boys in cars pass derogatory comments to them. Even women cops are not safe in our country. Instead of slapping a criminal, woman should hit him or murder him. They should form their own “fauj” (team). Else, the only way to be safe is to migrate to other countries.
Vishavdeep Dhaliwal, medical student, Chandigarh
‘Values teach us to be bold’
Incidents of crime against women have increased manifold in the tricity and across the country. As per reports, India is one of the worst countries for women to stay. I appreciate UT SSP for all the initiatives and policies that he framed for the welfare of “Nanhi Chaan” at every step. Women need to be bold and learn self-defence techniques. Miscreants are not only in the tricity but across the nation. Women need to be alert at all times. Late-night parties are not good for women and men. Deploying more police personnel is not the solution. Boys drive around at high speed and with loud music. But our “sanskars” have not taught us this. Indeed, they teach us that “There is a limit for everything and excess of everything is harmful.” One who opposes to the “passing of unhealthy remarks” is considered a fool. People question him, “kyon teri behan lagti hai?” (is she your sister?). The efforts of police to control the menace are laudable. PCR vehicles regularly patrol the city. But women also have to be strong enough. But it is regulary seen that first women enjoy being passed on unhealthy remarks — give a smiling look, and later challenge the authorities when something goes wrong. So, who is the accused person, a miscreant or the women herself?
Arshdeep Singh, student, SAS Nagar.
Never treat women as weaker sex
I have been associated with educational institutions for the last many years ever since I retired from the Army. As the principal of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Dayanand College of Communication and Management and as the director, department of professional studies at DAV College in Chandigarh, I daily interacted with a large number of girl students and women lecturers as part of my professional duty. There are certain fundamentals that people should always remember when dealing with women. Never treat a woman as the weaker sex. They are in fact, a stronger sex. Treat them at par with other professionals. Since a majority of women are charismatic, hardworking, duty-conscious and disciplined compared to their male counterparts, they only need support and guidance to perform their best. Appreciation and recognition can get the best out of them. Unlike many men, who couldn’t care less about what others think of them, women like to be seen in good light by others and are careful about their actions. They conduct themselves with dignity and grace.
Col DS Cheema, Chandigarh
‘Nobody helped a girl in distress’
One day, I boarded a bus from Sector 11 towards Sector 17. All the seats were occupied and several passengers were standing, including a school girl. Luckily, I found a seat. After a while, I heard a sobbing sound behind me. I looked back and saw the girl crying. She stood scared. I noticed three well-built men approaching her. She was feeling uncomfortable with their advances. Surrounding her was a passive crowd, showing no courage or conscience at all. Nobody, even elderly men and women, did not object to the behaviour of the goons. The girl was too timid to fight back or take action. I asked her to take my seat and stood up. One of the goons came up to me and tried to rough me up. He asked me to sit down. I told him that my station was nearing and I would alight from the bus. As I got down from the bus, I saw a policeman and informed him about the incident. The goons tried to flee but the cop managed to catch one of them. However, the miscreant went scot-free as the girl refused to file a complaint against him. I’m sure many of us have experienced such an incident in life which forces us to ask ourselves a few questions: Could the situation be avoided had the bus not been so crowded? Why nobody offered help to the girl? But the biggest question is why she did not report the incident to the policeman?
Rajesh Krishan, Chandigarh
People have forgotten values
Education is of paramount importance. We must ensure that every child is educated. They should be taught to respect women. The weakness of our education system is that when children mature, they forget values. There is no fear of law among people. There is no place where women can go and make themselves heard. If this is the condition of Chandigarh, I wonder how the situation will be in remote cities of India.
Dr Vishavdeep Kahlon, Doctor, Chandigarh
Need to change mindset
The physical assault and brutal incident of rape have raised concerns over the safety of girls in our country. The Chandigarh police have launched many meetings in schools, colleges and other educational institutions to sensitise girl students. With this, sexual harassment incidents have reduced in respective areas, but still, we need to take preventive measures in other areas of the city. Most of these incidents take place on the surroundings of villages, colonies and borders of the city. The latest is the Pinki murder case, which took place at village Palsora, near the border of Punjab. It is viewed that the Chandigarh police should increase patrolling in border areas of city and depute cops in every village and colony. Also, there is need to establish common police control room of the tricity to trace culprits on a fast-track basis. Parents should take responsibility of their minor children and watch the activities of their wards while going out. In case of an emergency, they may take their children along.
Adequate lighting arrangements need to be made, CCTV cameras should be installed on sensitive zones and the area lying vacant with wild growth should be cleared. Entry into such an area should be restricted for public and signboards should be displayed at the entry point. The police should also keep vigil at these areas. This will act as a deterrent. Special buses should ply for women, particularly at night, and the police should conduct regular checks to ensure safety of girls. More women cops should be deployed in parks and gardens, besides busy markets and secluded spots in the city, to check incidents of sexual harassment. Parents should also educate their children to respect women. People need to change their mindsets. We all need to work in tandem to provide a secure environment to women.
Sukhpal Singh, Chandigarh
Change in outlook needed
Guest column: Parambir Kaur
The news of sexual harassment cases and related crimes makes one sad and depressed, to say the least. They are a blot on our character, society and the country. Quite a few pertinent questions confront the sensitive and concerned minds in such a situation. Just why do such incidents occur in the first place? Who is responsible for such attitude towards women? Why are women treated as inferior to their male counterparts? Why are they often projected as decorative pieces or mere objects when they keep proving their mettle even in the so-called male bastion? Why are their physical attributes given undue importance in movies, songs, advertisements etc.?
Now this is not true in all families, but still, there are quite a few who badly need to change their perspective about a girl child. To begin with, they would not like to have a daughter! And when a girl does take birth in such a family, from day one, she faces discrimination by her own parents and the mother, in particular. Absolutely unwarranted for restrictions are imposed on her diet, studies, her field of study that she would like to pursue etc. At every step, she is made to realise her ‘inferior’ status, while her brother has all the freedom and facilities at his disposal.
The girls brought up in such an atmosphere develop an inferiority complex and start feeling insecure. They don’t even have the confidence to stand up for themselves. On the other hand, boys develop a wrong notion about their being superior; they believe that they can get away with anything. This biased treatment creates an imbalance and renders even the boys incapable of becoming civilised and responsible citizens. If sons and daughters are brought up equally from the very beginning, it will bring a change in the mindset of boys and they will learn to respect women naturally. Home is the first school of any child; and parents, the mother in particular, are the first teachers. If due attention is paid while bringing up children in their crucial years, there is no reason why they will not learn to behave with propriety. Parents can lead by example. Refined behaviour can be treated as an asset and something to be proud of.
After the recent incidents and amendments in law, the noticeable change is that girls and women have started coming forward to complain about the culprits more often and the guilty are being brought to the book.
But, basically, it is the outlook towards women in general that needs to be mended!
I am one of the winners of the Miss US Punjaban and Miss World Punjaban-2010. For the last some time, I have been working on a project based on the welfare of women in Punjab “Dheeyan”. While working on the project and gathering news, I came across that the condition of women in Punjab is worse than we realise. Without any support, I have been able to work up to a limit. However, I am glad that Hindustan Times has finally taken an initiative to work on a similar project. I want to congratulate Hindustan Times on its endeavour. I and my group Dheeyan are willing to lend you our support in any way possible. Navi Sandhu
Wish dis endeavour wud do sthm good. Nilakshi Sharma
If u really wnt it to happen, chnge ur attitude towards girls…respect them. girls are not timepass and boys are not ATM machine... MD Sohal
I am with you in this campaign. Let me know how can I lend support to the HT campaign... Manpreet Singh
Y only tricity, lets pledge for world — to make the Planet Earth worth living. Pawan Manchanda
When I return from school, I pass through a liquor vend. A large number of men openly consume alcohol and pass derogatory comments to girls. We need to deploy more police at such spots. Rosy Gupta
Outside colleges, Model Town and malls, no place is safe for women. Thr is only one place whre u r safe dat is your home. But the prblm is dat we cannot stay in our home for all the tym.. So at last we have to deal wid it anyhw.. smetym i just ignore eve-teasers, smetyms, i do reply dm wid anger ...i have faced a really scary situation while I was driving my activa, some guys tried to scare me and they found it funny, but i was about to fall.. Vij
I feel women themselves need to become more aware of their surroundings and be alert of any suspicious person around them...they should learn to trust their instincts if they feel a person is eyeing them or following them...instead of ignoring such things, they should immediately make themselves safe...such as taking a picture of any doubtful person around them using their phone, etc. Or noting down the number of any suspicious vehicle and send it to their friends or family...Moreover they should take their parents into confidence and share everything with them...if there is some problem with them at their workplace or school, college etc.. Avneet Sidhu Hundal
share your story
It’s a matter often discussed in drawing rooms, but seldom does it lead to introspection. HT invites readers — male and female — to write in with their experiences, personal and witnessed, of sexual harassment. You can choose to keep your identity hidden, and try to write in not over 250 words. Keep in mind, each story will add to the collective consciousness of a society that needs cleansing. Play your part. Talk to us at firstname.lastname@example.org