When you feel unsafe in your own home

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Five years back, I packed my bags with European dream gleaming in my eyes. I was super excited to start a new life outside my home country, India.

A lot has changed in these 5 years in my life. Personally and professionally. But one thing that stays intact is my origin. I am still the desi girl who listens to Bollywood songs every day at work with head phones on, craves to relish Indian delicacies, tries her best to celebrate Indian festivals in dark, grey and windy winters of Denmark and hoping to inculcate Indian values in her son.

Few days back, a business trip came up for me to Gurugram. I was happy with the thought of visiting India but then few hours later I found myself concerned about my safety. How will I commute from hotel to office every day alone?

Not that I have not worked in India earlier. I have come home alone after parties around midnight during my time in Mumbai. It was totally safe.

But in these five years, I have been so used to the safe environment. Plus I have never been to Gurugram on a trip like that.

 A girl takes a taxi, she gets raped.

A girl takes public bus, she gets gang raped and thrown on the street

A girl uses her two wheeler to commute to work. She gets gang raped, killed, burnt and thrown away.

Aren’t these incidents spine chilling? The thought of feeling unsafe at a place that you call ‘home’ is definitely not a pleasant one.

What do I say to my Danish colleagues? I am afraid to go to my own country!

Millions of girls are working in India. Commuting at odd hours. A slip of luck and they can fall in the pit of brutal hell.

Now when I look back, I realize I can’t deny being groped or touched inappropriately. I bet every girl in India has a list of incidences like this buried deep inside her heart. We circulate messages on social media, file petitions online, do candle marches and feel sad imagining the pain of the victim.

What happens next? We move on with our lives. We have to.

But is there a real solution to the problem?

Police can’t be practically everywhere and can’t always save victims on time.

Isn’t it the time that we educate even the poorest of male population in our country that coercing your intentions on anyone is absolutely unacceptable. These young boys with meagre income can still somehow afford to buy smart phones and have access to social media. There are umpteen vulgar videos circulating on whatsapp etc. which are only provoking these kind of incidents in my view.

Isn’t it the time that we circulate videos with social message instead.

 Feeling helpless about this situation, I ended up writing a letter to PMO to which I still await reply. But the sustainable solution for this issue is ‘education’.

Empathy, humanity, respect for opposite gender, kindness and sanity – can all be imparted through education. While education has sadly been commercialized in India leading parents to blow away a large chunk of their income in it, there are communities who cannot afford it at all.

The basic education needs to penetrate in our society that include lessons on topics like human rights. The right to live respectfully is the simplest of all to understand, still difficult to be understood by many in my country.

 

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