As I sip my afternoon cuppa, I recall how most Indian women diagnosed as HIV+ had contracted the infection from their husbands. I discovered this information just this morning, thanks to Dr.Glory Alexander – of Asha Foundation. How unfortunate that one’s choices lead to a fight that another did not sign up for. This is an abuse of freedom, of certain social notions. This got me thinking. On the eve of the International Day for Violence Against Women, I’d like to point out that Violence sometimes isn’t physical. In fact, I think for now I prefer the word abuse.
So, is there something that I’d like to see changed in India? I think it would be about abuse of freedom towards women in our society.
What do other women have to say? Here are a few voices from some very educated and outspoken Urban Indian women.
Note: Dr.Glory runs Asha Foundation, which spreads awareness on HIV Aids, undertakes research, counsels people in high-risk category and offers support to people who are HIV+. Visit www.ashaf.org for further information.
Voices of Women
Stricter workplace laws
Abuse at the workplace may not be physical, but can be rather traumatic. I know somebody who went through this. Men taking personal vengeance against lady colleagues when they refuse to compromise should be black listed by all recruitment firms.
Arthi Dattani, Manager, Account Based Marketing
Monitoring public transport like autos and taxis
There can be units in every area which keep tabs on Autos and Taxies, tracking who the vehicles pick up and where passengers are dropped off. It’s a scary thing to take an auto or taxi alone at night in most Indian cities. The only place I feel safe doing so is Mumbai.
Leena Nair, Architect
The Space to make Her Choices
This respect and freedom should be nurtured at home, for example from how a father treats his daughter. Women should have the freedom to live life independently and peacefully on their terms. It is time our strengths are celebrated.
Vani Damodaran, Research Scholar
Strict laws against Eve Teasing
It would be wonderful if strict laws are imposed against eve teasing. I think 5 out of 10 women have undergone this verbal abuse while walking on city roads. Even if the woman is clothed in a contextually acceptable manner, they are still subjected to this traumatic act of an uncouth behavior. It’s a shame that eve teasers objectify our women and pass sleazy comments in broad daylight. I would love it if women today would stand up, give them a mouthful and a mindful, without being afraid of repercussions. A woman’s strength can weaken a man’s negative will.
Sunaina Mullick, Media Coordinator
The freedom to walk without fear at 10 pm
Whilst nothing has happened to me personally ever, I am still always on guard: because I am a woman…
Meena Dave, CEO at a Non-Profit
To not be Judged
One thing to change? There are way too many to be able to focus on just one. But the first thing would be to – not be judged. Most things follow the judgement (actions towards women, stereotying, eve teasing, verbal abuse, physical abuse, curtailing of freedom and just about everything else).
Anu Gummaraju, Green Activist and Home Maker
Respect us Officer!
In general men in official capacity should behave in a respectful manner towards women of any cadre. The men could range from bus conductors to husbands of women corporators.
Chitra Vishwanath, Architect and Entrepreneur
In-Step with you, Mr.
Women should be given freedom at home by their parents, in laws and especially by their husbands. As far as the current scenario is concerned, whatever be her education, occupation or financial status, women are mostly treated as being inferior to men. Equality between couples seems to have a “T&C Apply”. This needs to change.
Priya Govardhana, Lecturer in Clinical Psychology
Check out Dr.Glory’s work with HIV-AIDS in this webisode.
Image courtesy: Saad Akhtar