By a 33 year old Feminist who has a busy job so plans to keep the name hidden fearing backlash and offensive comments
I have been educated in the States, spent some time in Israel for a job and shifted to Mumbai. The concern about security, naturally, did not cross my mind. Until I came to Delhi…
Delhi was different. You had to be aware of yourself all the time. Nights are not meant for women here, frankly. You just cannot ignore that the city is the hub for crime against women.
The concern for safety becomes more challenging when the police has refused to co-operate with citizens’ issues, in which case women have no option but to cocoon themselves, and families have no option but to save their daughters through whatever policing they can.
Looking at the situation in Delhi, I am only compelled to agree with the hostel authorities on the curfew timings. Yes, they are necessary. In Delhi, more so.
Now, before you pounce on me with your arguments spare a minute, and listen to what I have to say.
Let’s take an example here:
Say, a friend has rented you a house. Clearly, he is entrusting you with the responsibility of it. You would obviously want to keep the house in its best condition firstly because it’s not your property; secondly so that the next day if your friend arrives, there won’t be any complains or tiffs.
Ultimately, you become extra cautious, extra careful. And if you live in a place where robbery or theft is an everyday issue, you go a mile extra in upkeep.
Hostels negotiate with parents in the same manner. They are responsible & liable for something that is not theirs. They are bound to act in an over cautious manner.
Our parents might be patriarchal, but you have to understand that the hostel authorities are in a fix as well. Even if they do release a statement saying that the college is not responsible for the safety of their daughters after they step out, some people might even stop sending their daughters to colleges! If something wrong happens, the college will be blamed and their reputation will go for a dock. They are actually playing with a double edged sword.
If your feminism begins at occupying public spaces and conveniently ignores the fact that there are women who are sent to college because hostel provides them safety, I think feminism is misplaced here.
Feminism today is more ideological than based on reality. This whole debate is a classic ideology vs. reality debate.
And to change something, do you burn yourself down?
The reality of the situation is simple – Delhi is extremely unsafe, and I do say it from personal experiences.
It is fairly simple to believe that if something happens to a woman, the assaulter is at fault, but ultimately, the victim has to induct herself back into the society. Humans are social beings, after all.
You don’t know what kind of an orthodox background a woman might come from. The repercussions might just add to her misery. The demand for taking back the curfew system then becomes about people who can afford to not face certain consequences. And its trauma for life.
In Delhi, technically no one is safe after the sun sets.
If you’re a man from the North East, there is a possibility that you will be beaten by racist drunk men while the police will not take notice. Other times, it is the police itself which resorts to threats because they clearly want to extract money.
I remember a friend’s brother was threatened by a drunk policeman at gun point. His fault? He was eating street food in his car at 11PM. Finally, a considerable sum had to be paid to escape the situation.
You can definitely ask for curfew timings for both men and women to be uniform. That makes an informed decision.
Negotiate with the hostel authorities. Of course they might not listen to you on your first attempt but negotiating with the authorities will only help you come up with a solution better where both the parties will be involved, taking the college students in mind.
You don’t go to a war-zone to discuss about peace, do you? If we martyr ourselves today, who will fight for our rights tomorrow? Let’s be reasonable and empathetic towards the kind of fix the hostel authorities are in. How do they keep the girls safe in Delhi, they say.
A decade after my twenties, I really do believe that when you are young, you are full of enthusiasm to explore, full of energy to break away your shackles, full of desires to experiment, but it is also the time of your life where incidents have the power to impact you the most. A negative experience can leave you damaged.
And you would agree with me, that even though we are adults at 20, we are probably not at our wisest year of life.
At the same time, I would like to make it clear that my opinions are just a bird’s eye view of the incidents. I have heard that authorities do question the character of their female students if they are out for many days, which is completely unacceptable.
However, I also believe that agitations have only solidified the stands of both the sides and there hasn’t been a conclusion yet. We have to be empathetic towards the hostel authorities too. Only blaming them will solve nobody’s problems.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.