Girls and Women have brothers, husbands or male escorts who cannot be with them 24×7 to take care of their security. So also with the police who cannot be there for all women to take care of their security. Girls or women themselves have to be aware and have adequate knowledge/training to take care of themselves. However much we talk of women’s rights, there will be wrongs if the individual wants independence but refuses to take care of herself independently when such situation arises.
Public transport exposes every girl or woman to unpleasant, unwanted, unsolicited experiences, either to herself or seeing other women suffer in silence to these often uninvited attention by co-passengers especially by over-driven males.
There are any number of videos about the ‘good’ touch and the ‘bad’ touch. But i have always wondered how can a girl aged 2 , 3 or 4 can even differentiate at all between a touch – good or bad – at such a tender age. But teach we must if it can help save our girl children from coming to harm. Physical harm is something which can heal over time but the mental harm it could do can perhaps never heal in her lifetime. Any number of articles on this subject can be accessed. Experiences have been shared where such trauma has resulted in young and old victims suffering from constant seizures, fears, distrust post the abuse. Usually women travelling alone on business or vacation and having to stay alone in hotels are at high risk, women seeking jobs are vulnerable, women who have to take a taxi to work or leisure are at risk, why women who are home alone are also at equal risk. Precautions need to be taken. Mostly women think such things happen only to other women. Hearing or seeing these incidents happen must teach women to be alert and safe yet many treat this as another piece of news and forget all about it.
Women and girls should not wait until it happens to them or someone close to them. They should learn how to take care of themselves. First step is not to expect that someone or other will help or depend on someone to be their escort or save them in the nick of time. It does not happen that way at all in real life situations.
Each girl from a young age should be taught life lessons in defending herself and taking care of her own self for her own sake. Any idea is good enough if she can escape or save herself in such times of emergencies. An escort for every trip is not the answer. Even a husband’s or a male escort’s presence has not deterred such deplorable incidents from happening. A girl needs to be taught to think, act or react very quickly if confronted with such a situation. Many own mobile phones. Just like 911 for all kinds of emergencies in the USA, India has introduced 112 which should be the first thing taught to each and every girl to use in times of emergencies. Being careless, avoiding talking over mobile while travelling or walking all alone on roads should be avoided. Calls should be made but not while travelling as conversations can distract a woman’s attention from the reality around her. Nevertheless, each woman must have the mobile on her person to reach out for and must be trained to have the presence of mind to press that panic button or SOS without fail when needed.
We may wonder how is it possible to do that. Simple. For school going girls, schools are the best places to have a training session an hour each week just like for any other subject. This way millions of girls can be covered without much effort. Only constant training will kindle every girl’s reflexes well enough to be alert to her surroundings.
In each work place, these sessions should be held for the lady staff members.
Women at home, alone and vulnerable can be taught through media, or at welfare centers or groups dedicated to each and every area in her village or city. Wide coverage should be given to this concept.
Such awareness will be more useful than reporting such incidents ‘after’ they occur which has no value except sensationalism and gossip by media reporting. A proper training material in different languages, under different categories (ranging from school going girls, college girls, working women, travelling women, home alone women), with pictures, audio and video. These should be prepared by a dedicated team of women, with inputs from those who have already undergone such experiences, collect incidents where, why and what led to it, to avoid those pitfalls. After all we all learn some through others’ experiences too. The data gathered by the team should prepare an effective presentation worthy enough to spread the awareness as far and wide as possible.
We can save the girls, the women from physical and later mental trauma for life.
As i am about to end this blog, i happened to see this video which is a good start with which to teach young girls in as many schools as the target of this video is 6 to 9 year old girls. 1098 is the number given as child helpline. Spreading awareness is the only answer to prevent such incidents. Prevention is anytime better than cure.