Women's safety- A Man's perspective
The following is a segment of conversation from my recent interview with a friend of mine, Anish Kumar, originally from India, currently a student at New York University.
Q. Where do you live in India? Are girls/women often a victim of sexual harassment in your city?
A. I'm from Mumbai. My city is not really an unsafe city for women as is New Delhi. Being the New York of India, the city is comparatively very modern. In a fast paced life filled with struggle to survive, sexual harassment is primarily limited to lower class section of the society. That being said, the city is pretty safe for women provided she's not in the bad part of the town. So I would say women are not often a victim of sexual harassment in your city, but I guess things have happened in the past.
Q. Do you know any friend/acquaintance who has ever suffered from such a tragedy?
A. I actually do. A friend of mine was sexually abused in the past when she was younger. She was however from Haiti and not India. In India, I don't really know of anyone who has ever been through a tragedy like this and I hope it never happens to anyone, but I've heard a lot in the news.
Q. As a man born and grown up in India, what do you think about rape in India?
A. To be honest I believe that rape and sexual harassment of what exists in India, dwells prominently in the economically lower section of the society. I've never really been around a lot in India but of the places I've been to rape is a very uncommon thing. That being said, I've never been to New Delhi and the things that you hear in the news about rape and stuff is something even I have only heard in the news, coming from the capital of India. The many times I've stayed out really late in the night with my women friends in different parts of Mumbai, I have seen that my women friends have felt pretty safe. I would say the police department is not as efficient in India as it is in United States. Maybe that's why things happen. But honestly, the amount of men passing lewd comments on a woman walking by on an average weekend at 2AM, from East Village to the 2nd Av subway is way higher than I've ever seen anywhere in the world. So I think as a man born and grown up in India, I've felt more afraid for my women friend here in New York than in Mumbai but at the same time I trust the law enforcement here which is a very comforting aspect. I guess things like this is happening in various parts of the world, especially the underdeveloped and developing nations. That being said I think the situation is going to get better in India soon.
Q. Are there teenagers who rape girls?
A. Of what I've heard in the news, I guess so. But obviously in any part of the wold, its mostly the men above their teenage who commit such crimes.
Q. What is key point you think that drives men to attack women?
A. In India, I would say because of the fairly less open mindedness in the society would be a root cause. Also, the advent of internet, smartphones have made porn easily available for the less educated section of population which drives them to commit such horrific act. But the main reason I believe personally is the absence of some really strict law department. With an efficient and honest police force, such crimes would be unthinkable to commit.
Q. In your mind, what is the effective way to protect women in low income urban areas?
A. Again as I said, with some really strict laws backed by an honest and efficient law force. But from a practical point of view, I believe education is the key. With good education, comes the knowledge of right and wrong, not just in thoughts but also in actions.