City SundayCover Story

Women’s safety, a neglected aspect

“Safety on public transportation and in public places such as bus stops and terminals, railway stations, footpaths, places of tourist interest and market places are frightening.”

Women and girls often get harassed, grabbed, their bags snatched and even physically and verbally abused at public places and have become so conditioned to such cruel behaviour.  Concerns about women’s safety are expressed in paternalistic terms—how do we keep ‘our women’ safe — our mothers and sisters, daughters and daughters-in-law, cousins and friends? Protectiveness is one way to express we care, but in the context of violence, it takes the form of restricting mobility, choice and freedom together and has become a norm.


Every woman should know about personal safety

Have you ever felt frightened or intimidated when you go out walking alone? Have you ever wondered what you should do if approached by an attacker? Follow the below points



Be sure to stay alert and be tuned into your surroundings. No need to examine everyone up close and personal but being aware of possibilities is not a bad thing.



Most of us travel alone to work, school and other places. But as far as possible, try as much as you can to take a friend or two.



Keep your mobile phone handy in your pocket, bag and purse in case where you need to make an emergency phone call.



Do not give a criminal extra incentive. Avoid opening purses, wallets in public, using ATM machines at night, etc.  Always skip listening to music using headphones and ear devices as they decrease your level of awareness.


Although the internet is educational and entertaining, it can also be full of danger if one isn’t careful. While communicating online, use a nickname and always keep personal information such as home address and phone number confidential. Instruct family members to do the same. Be aware on security issues, frauds and viruses by periodically referring to “The Police Notebook” internet safety page.



Make your plans known to family, friends, loved ones and roommates so that they too will be aware of your whereabouts and be able to track you down in case of an emergency.



If you feel uncomfortable in a situation or place, leave right away and get help if needed.


Run away, yell for help, and throw a stone or do whatever you can to attract attention. And if the criminal is after your purse or other material items, throw them one way while you run the other.


Lock all doors and keep windows up while driving. Most car-jacking take place when vehicles are stopped at intersections. The criminals approach at a 45-degree angle (in the blind spot), and either pull you out of the driver’s seat or jump in the passenger’s seat.



Stand tall and walk confidently.


Do not laugh frequently at public places.


Avoid standing on highways for a long time.


Don’t share your whereabouts to strangers.  Don’t make eye contact. Learn to hit really hard.

Create a scene in front of the person who is standing next to you. Don’t wear expensive jewellery.



Use safety pins, pepper spray, chilli powder, blades, and scissors, carry pebbles, sand grains, knife and trust your body which you can always depend on in the event of an attack.

Reactions from students: Binita Devi, Tanvi, Sushma K S, Kushi Kumari, Bidya, Kavita, Shweta; Sanju Xavier, Afreen, Christi and Siri.

“We can develop a device which will save the women at the time when she is in danger… a lot of women and girls use android phones, the device will not be harmful so much in the sense when the women is in danger she may use the device to scare people in the front of them. The device conducting less voltage is not dangerous. The shock weakens the attacker temporarily, giving you ample chance to escape from the scene in such a way that she can protect herself. It can detect the criminal by using a sensor.”

“I rarely go out after dark in the city. I don’t want to be bashed up or raped.”

“During night it’s scary here. The place is not well lit, this is one of the reasons I don’t stay in the city late at night.”

“I feel very uncomfortable while travelling alone; sometimes ugly men pass vulgar comments.”

“Travelling alone has become scary for me today.”

“Once, a motorbike rider tried to touch me while I was going towards the bus terminal during daylight. I could not share this incident with anyone and in due course of time I mustered courage to stand up against this.”

Two male teenagers harassed me loudly about my face features.

Contrast to these there are girls who believe travelling alone is not a big deal today we have security software’s which will help us in keeping updated with our family and friends

“There is nothing to fear about travelling alone, the only thing is we should be alert and ready to react if something happens. I used to travel a lot especially in public transport; so far I didn’t face any safety issues.”

“On several occasions I have travelled alone, for me I feel safe while travelling alone during daytime.”

“Until and unless we know to face problems, don’t travel alone anywhere in the world.”

“You should be brave enough to step out alone otherwise people will bully you. I love travelling to unknown destinations. I have the experience in the beginning of my new job now. I can go alone.”

“Last but not the least, every citizen must stand up and make our cities, towns and villages safe for girls.”

  • Noor Asma K


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