”Police issues safety guidelines for women”
”Dress decently. Avoid late nights. Be well-behaved. Avoid travelling in crowded bus or train. Be street smart”. These were some of the measures suggested by the Bidhannagar Police Commissioner on the city’s north-eastern fringes to women. But hours after the suggestions posted on the website went viral on the social media attracting criticism, the 12-point advisory under “Tips for Crime Prevention” was reduced to seven points. Even the heading was changed from “Ways to deal with eve-teasing” to “How to remain safe.” This whole episode brings out the attitude of the police towards, their mindset is not in the slightest women-friendly.
Here, they are not telling men to stop raping women or stop eve teasing them ironically they are telling the women how not to be raped. Well, the question remains what woman wants to be raped or eve teased? This thing has seemed to escape their thought process. The bizarre guidelines issued by police in Kolkata also advise women against travelling on busy trains or buses and to be home early if they don’t want to be harassed. It is not surprising, given how entrenched misogyny is in this country, that the police ask women to modify their behavior. If the police wants to give practical suggestions to prevent rape, why not ask men to stop assaulting or prevent men from being out in public spaces at night? Why should women get home at a “decent time” ? Why can’t men be home at that hour instead? Well, this is another debatable issue altogether. But, when we look into such cases which bring out the outraging attitude of the police department in terms of such sensitive problems, it is not only heart- wrenching but one tends to flinch on such baseless “guidelines.”
This clearly shows that the police cannot protect the women but all they can do is issue such bizarre guidelines. This is beyond outraging that the onus is once again placed on women.The controversial list of “tips” are listed below- 1. Dress decently 2. Have emergency speed dial numbers on your phone 3. Self defence 4. Be aware of people around you 5. Avoid late nights 6. Carry pepper spray 7. Be well behaved 8. Stay in groups 9. Avoid travelling in crowded bus or train 10. Avoid going to isolated places 11. Walk in well lit and frequented areas 12. Be street smart
—– About the author: The article has been contributed by our intern, Anmol Sabharwal.