Women’s safety is the recent buzzword around the globe which demands the protection of women from victimisation. The question that arises here is : Why has the safety of women become a topic of concern in this modern civilised world? This presumes that there is something wrong with society’s treatment of women. The politics of snatching power from women, making them weak and destitute can be regarded as the ‘creator’ of insecurity for women. It has been the claim of feminists that woman has been subjugated and deprived of her rights for ages. Voices have been raised for the safety of woman and make her feel free to come out of the four walls of her home and go out to the world of competitions and be on a par with the male population. But before anyone dares to do it there occur incidences where women are marginalised, silenced, and their views and wishes are stifled. That is why French feminist, Simone de Beauvoir declared boldly in The Second Sex, “One is not born, but rather becomes a woman”.From the very birth a woman is womanised or otherised.
In India, the Shakti cult, the concept of Shakti—the female power principle—was recognised thousands of years ago. From the pre-historic ‘matriarchal’ period, the value of woman as life-giver, as a source of activating energy and power was acknowledged. But, in the course of time, woman has been relegated to the margin. Though worshipped as goddess and exalted as mother, woman is overworked and systematically subordinated. Women are now facing huntsmen who harass and molest them at every step, even in streets and other public spaces. Everyday we hear cases of women getting raped, becoming victims of domestic violence, trafficking, kidnapping, acid attack or other detrimental practices. These incidences of violence against women often ripple across families and societies as a whole.
It is time for the women to lift the cudgels and stand up to fight the male chauvinistic society in order to put an end to the age-long suppression and torture both mental and physical as well as emotional. Though these practices face condemnation and protests; though safety laws are introduced by the government, still they could not manage to bring down the number of crimes against women. It is rightly said, ‘Prevention is better than cure’. Thus, women must take necessary precautions to defend their personal safety. Women should be aware of the self-defence techniques like karate, for quick escape from the situation which they feel is insecure for them. They need to be very conscious and careful while communicating with anyone on the Internet in the cyberspace. A stranger must not be trusted blindly—a predator should not be invited. Women have to be always well-equipped with some useful defence tools such as pepper-spray and other such stuffs which may momentarily disturb the attacker compelling him to stop. Unknown places should never be visited with any unknown person. A phone must be kept handy to make calls. Besides, they should have the courage to speak up—scream, yell etc. to avoid any harm if they feel bizarre about a situation.
‘Don’t tell you girls what to wear, tell you boys not to stare’—this is something the society wants men to understand. But we can see in practical situations that only a handful practise it. It is better for a woman to be decent in her dressing style to avoid becoming a target for somebody. Besides wearing restrictive, short dresses makes one unable to run or defend herself. Further, a woman’s holistic development and awareness are possible only by imparting education to her. There is an important quote—“If you educate a boy, you educate an individual but if you educate a girl, you educate a family, society, and ultimately the nation”. Education liberates women from ignorance and enhances her self-esteem. Napoleon Bonaparte has rightly said, “Give me an educated mother, I shall promise you the birth of a civilised nation”.
The whole concept of crimes against women is actually quite different from its apparent view. People say women are weak and in need of protection but actually women are seen by men as dangerously powerful. Men have to constrain women since women are incapable of controlling themselves; not because they are weak but because their power is too great.