Millennium Post

Punish abusers not women

The Uttarakhand government’s 6pm curfew for working women, to ensure safety for them, has upset many and understandably so. Though the government has tried to say that it didn’t pass any such order, protests against it have already spread to the virtual world. The order, if executed, will prove the shameful inability of a society to provide safety for its women. It will make it impossible for women to work in professions like journalism or at a call centre, where much of the work happens at night. It will rob women the freedom to choose their profession according to interest and force them to take up one that allows them to be back home by the Cinderella hour, or better still, just stay at home.

Worse it will drag us back in time, to an era where restrictions were put on a woman’s every move. It is as ridiculous a thought as blaming a woman’s clothes for her being raped and rather than serving the cause of women’s safety, endorses the views of those accused in the gang rape of the 23-year-old paramedical student in Delhi, that she shouldn’t have been out with a male colleague that late in the evening.

Governments at the centre and state levels should work together to ensure a safe society for women – to increase infrastucture, better policing, safer public transport and adequate helpline facility for a girl to get support in case of threat. Locking up women at home or putting them behind a veils is a punishment for women and not for those who perpetrate crimes against them. Higher education, talks of gender equality and woman’s emancipation all become meaningless if she doesn’t have the right to free movement and the freedom to decide her profession. The Uttarakhand government should therefore seriously consider its priroties before take any such desicion.
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