Having lived Delhi, I used this think that Delhi was a relatively safe place for women. There used to be incidences of crimes against women but mostly it used to go unnoticed. But now I am very concerned about the security of women in India. Day in and out, there are cases of brutal attacks on women. Having travelled in public transport especially on local buses, I too had my share of unwanted activities such as being whistled at and being commented by anti-social elements.
But a crime of unspeakable horror has occurred in Delhi that has left not only Delhi, the capital India but the entire nation thinking. One that hit the Indian psyche is the recent GANG RAPE of a 23-year old student in Delhi by 6 men who then beat the woman with iron-rods, robbed her belongings, stripped of her clothing and dumped her dying on the road. The woman and her friend had boarded an unlicensed bus to return home after watching a movie. The driver and other occupants of the bus closed the door and hit the friend with an iron rod. The woman was dragged to the back of the bus where Ram Singh (one of the rapists) raped her. The five other men also raped and tortured the woman and beat her friend with iron rods while driving the bus around the city. (Update: She is now dead due to organ failure following serious injuries to her body and brain).
Warning to lone female travellers to Delhi
I would like to warn all female travellers to India to be extremely cautious in Delhi. Amongst India’s major cities, New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes.
Female travellers should not travel on public transport such local bus services of Delhi especially at night. There are people who are looking for lone female travellers to exploit. Hence you need to be careful in India when travelling alone.
Many airlines to Delhi International Airport operate at night hence extra caution must be exercised when travelling late at night and getting to and away from the airport. Coaches operated by Airports to and from local and international airports are safe.
Some ways to keep yourself safe when travelling
- Always keep a rape/attack alarm
- Carry a self defence spray
- Arrange for airport pickups
- Try not to travel late at night, travel with a male companion or go out with friends
- Do not use local buses
- Try to use pre-booked taxis
- Do not wear provocative clothing – wear Indian clothes
- Always carry a mobile phone with you
- Always keep an eye on your surroundings
- Lower your tourist profile
- Know your destination
- Learn some Hindi if you’re first language is not Hindi
- If you get lost, get some help from another woman, a shopkeeper, a policeman or phone your hotel
- Never hitchhike or take rides from strangers
- Carry a whistle and don’t be afraid to use it
- Create a scene if you feel threatened
- Do not eat what strangers give you
Remember most people are nice and very genuine and many would go the extra mile to help you. But you just cannot be too careful. Delhi is thought to the Athens of India, an ancient city with a glorious history and a buzzing metropolis. I will emphasise that India is a relatively safe country but from time to time, there are crimes against women that shock us. The golden rule is not to wear skimpy clothes, travel very late at night and if you can book a tour.
Note for Indians – Petition demanding death penalty for rapists
What kind of a nation are we? India is a nation where some of us kill girls before they even come out of their mother’s womb, so much that there are now more males in India than females. The last census carried out showed that there were 933 women for every 1000 men where the states of Haryana and Punjab are the worst culprits. This is what happens in a society that undervalues women.
This is a soul searching time for entire nation. Delhi might have taken the lead as the “rape capital” of India, but the problem encompasses the entire nation. The root cause is our own society, the way we treat our women and girls. Some of the crimes against women are not just rape; dowry deaths, ill-treatment and domestic violence are another ones.
We ask for the death penalty for rapists. This incidence in Delhi should be an eye opener. We cannot let this happen again. The girl has survived to tell the reality herself; often this is not the case. In many cases, they are raped and murdered. The rapists are never caught.
The perpetrators of rape should be treated the same way they force themselves on these helpless victims. We demand the capital punishment for rapists in India. India already has the death penalty for serious crimes but we need to extend this to rapists as well.
Unless we do not have stringent laws then these rapists will never have the fear of getting caught and victims will never get justice. Hanging is the only punishment that will serve the purpose. Some other remedies to this solution include; fast tracking dealing with crimes against women, setting up counselling centres at various police stations, having at least one female constable in all police stations and complete stop to all sex-determination tests.
Our demand: DEATH PENALTY for convicted rapists. Sign the petition demanding capital punishment for rape.