Free living style is a right of women but is it smart?

| by N.S.Venkataraman

( December 22, 2012, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) In the wake of distressing incident of assault on college student in Delhi a few days back, an article was written and published suggesting that in today’s law and order conditions, women should be careful in their outfit, mode of dressing and should avoid going in the dark hours with strangers and so called boyfriends.
Immediately after the publication of the article, there was huge protests from several young women calling the writer as a male chauvinist, questioning his wisdom and calling him as advocating suppression of women.
It is true that the constitution guarantees women and men equal rights but nature has not made men and women the same way. While there are several women who are intellectually superior to men and have shown great qualities of efficiency in all walks of life, the fact is that the women are physically weaker than men. In the present conditions in India where might is right, the rowdy men pouncing on the women are likely to succeed in fulfilling their ugly desires and the women suffer helplessly. In such cases, while huge protests can be made, law enforcing agencies can arrest the culprits and public domain will be full of anguish, the fact is that the harassed woman would suffer lifelong.
Hundreds of such cases have taken place in this country, particularly in the rural areas and amongst women belonging to lower income group families which go unreported. Even in such cases which would be widely publicised, the media would forget the issue when other sensational stories will occupy the space. Under the circumstances, is it not smart that women should be careful and take particular precautions to protect themselves all the time ?
It is certainly not the case that womens’ rights should be curbed, but there is genuine anxiety that women should remain safe. One of the angry women, responding  to the article asked “do you want women to stay indoors all the time like a century back and cover themselves from head to toe like women in the Arab world and suffer from fear of all men around her”. On the other hand, protecting oneself does not mean that the woman should remain indoor or cover the entire body, but it only calls for an element of safety in the day to day living style of women.
A woman in the age group off 15-30 going in public transport or in two wheelers or by walk in the midnight hours is certainly not smart. A woman half dressing herself thinking that she is modern attracting the attention of everyone around is certainly not smart. Another angry woman asked “what about the women who remain very careful but still are attacked and abused”? This is a sad condition as we often hear that even men in the family abuse women and several incidents have been reported. This condition all the more shows the need for care and caution by the women.
Certainly, women have to be bold, fearless and should be aware of their rights and privileges and devoid of feeling of any diffidence. While all these great qualities can be exhibited which will evoke admiration, it is certainly not smart to make themselves a victim of aggression by rowdy men due to their free living style and holding a view that freedom means free living without care and caution.

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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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