We are all affected by the brutality of the gangrape. There have been a zillion reports and stats. The shameful and disturbing truth in the midst of all this hullabaloo is that women really do not feel secure in Delhi. Delhi has a different definition of ‘Lucky’- If you have traveled in Delhi, roamed around the streets and haven’t managed to get raped, you are LUCKY.
It does take me back- reflecting on the 8 years I have lived in Delhi as a single woman- how things have changed and how situations have forced to alter my priorities. Most of the other woman in Delhi will agree with me, We have all faced harassment- in some form or the other. Incidences have taught us how not to stand facing the men’s side seats while travelling in a bus, how to pretend fake conversations on phone while commuting in an auto late evening, being pestered by well-wishers to carry pepper spray, to keep an eye on all men walking beside us on the streets and beware of any negative signals.
I wanted to experience my share of late night movies, funky parties, crazy night-outs, late night dinners and I did. But on not less than 10 occasions out of these, I did feel threatened. I realized I was chased, another time a car blocked my taxi, I heard men screaming out rates to take me home, leave apart the zillion times when they would stare at me and hold their gaze like some hungry bastards. But I have not been raped yet- Perhaps I am lucky and blessed.
I heard pretty much everyone with a mouth, giving me advice- what not to wear, when not to step out, and how not to be loud in public places lest I attract attention, to avoid eye contact. I didn’t want to be armed, I didn’t want to go and learn self defense. All I wanted was to feel safe and not feel Jerry-like continuously living in the fear of Tom chasing and attacking me.
7 years down- I am still in Delhi. The situation hasn’t improved by an inch. It has rather gotten worse. I have had to learn- the art of surviving. I rather call friends for house parties or visit their houses than go out to a pub. I’d rather be ‘safe’ than go for that fun. I don’t give a second thought asking any of my guy friends to drop me home when I am late. I’d rather be ‘safe’ than hesitate asking favors. I reserve my dresses only to be worn at at huge get-togethers. I’d rather be ‘safe’ than wear what I like.
I have been forced to adjust in all these years, each time giving away a part of the freedom I would rather have enjoyed. I have missed out on many things that I otherwise would have loved doing. But then I made a choice to be ‘safe’ than sorry. I was forced to make this choice. I am a ‘LUCKY’ woman who has managed to lived in Delhi without yet having been raped !! @samta09