Times of India Newspaper: Women besieged: How to make it a safer world for women

Times of India

Bangalore : Women have been pulled, punched and abused in front of a paralysed public in the heart of town over the last 10 days. It
didn’t matter what you wore: salwar kameez or a spaghetti top. Random violence had made Bangalore ask urgently: `How do we combat this menace?’

The most practical and effective is a community-oriented response. Human rights organizations, women’s organizations, student unions, teacher bodies, social organizations, lawyers’ collectives like Alternative Law Forum should band with the police to offer a solution.

[KravMagaBangalore.in] [Post] It can take the form of a common helpline which victims can call and quick response teams consisting of members of these outfits who arrive at the spot immediately to help. The helpline, activists suggest, can be linked to a police line who will also get the call simultaneously and rush to the spot.

Role of public:

Most critical is the public response during and after the attack. A distressing aspect about the recent incidents has been the apathy of bystanders. Forget helping, they quickly quit the scene to avoid trouble. If the public were to help, the accused could be quickly caught and punished making women feel safer. Public can contact the police if the victim isn’t in a position to do so. If the offender escapes, details like the clothes worn, physical description and car or bike numbecan be noted down. According to advocate B N Jagdeesh, bystandecan also file FIrs. Recording the incident or the picture of the attackers on a camera phone can help with investigations.

The role of police:

For starters, if they treat the victims with dignity and register their complaint promptly, it would be a big help. There have been instances when the cops have told women, “If you were dressed like this, no doubt you got into trouble.” Preventive measures would also help. “Just as some people are questioned to get to others in a robbery, the same strategy can be tried here to find out who the attackers are,” some activists suggest.

Self-defence/seeking help:

While self-defence tools like pepper spray, Swiss knives or even basic skills of Karate and Taekwondo can make women feel safer, the larger issue is to make women feel safe even without them in the city. Jasmeen Patheja who started the blank noise' movement believes that the first thing women should realize is thatthey did not ask for it’; the way women dress or carry themselves cannot justify the act of men harassing them. “Not being embarrassed to call for help is the first self-defence move that a woman can take. There is usually a sense of fear and embarrassment. No one wants to talk about it openly,” she says.

Israeli Krav Maga Self-Defence advice:

“Be alert. Women’s gut instincts are very strong. Use it effectively. Use simple reflex actions, like putting up your hand when someone’s trying to slap. Kick his vulnerable areas like groin, knees, poke his eyes. Use your body weapons like legs and hands. Don’t slap as it can be stopped easily. Use handy weapons like mobiles, keys and pens. Be confident to fight and escape quickly,” says Franklin Joseph Krav Maga Bangalore expert, Franklin Joseph.

Mentally alert:

Sociologist and human rights activist, Sudha Sitaram says women should “be prepared on the mental plane, confident to make a move, talk to people around. The police have failed completely in these cases.” DG, home guards, Jija Madhavan Hari Singh says, “It will definitely help if women know techniques like karate and taekwondo but we have been hearing this for the past five years. It is time for the police or some civil organizations to take the lead and stop this.”

Legal options:

FIR is the first step. It helps to go with a group of people to the police station. The victim or witnesses can file FIR with all the details they have. A copy of the FIR should be given to the complainant or informant by the police officer free of cost. Jagdeesh stresses that if the victim undergoes a medical examination after the attack, then the medical officer should be told in detail about the incident so that he can explain the wounds. This will help in the investigation.

If police don’t help:

Take the compliant to the higher authorities. If even that doesn’t work, a writ of mandamus can be sought asking the court to direct the police. Under section 154 of CRPC any witness with information about the case can submit it to police. Women who are alone and not getting any help after the attack can call ‘Fearless Karnataka’ on 9448043941.


In most incidents assaultersr’s have made an issue of ‘jeans or sleeveless dresses’. Sociologists dismiss dress as a debatable point. Women across the world are assaultersd and raped irrespective of how they dress. “It’s rubbish, just an excuse to assault women. Why are rural and Dalit women raped in large numbers? Is it because they wear jeans?” says sociologist, Sudha Sitaram. According to Professor of sociology, Asha Bajpai, even three-years -old children are raped. “I don’t think dress can ever be a reason. Women in saris and burqas are assaultersd. We shouldn’t be getting into such debates,” she added.

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