Over the past couple of months, the country has witnessed over a dozen incidents involving women who were harassed, thrashed, raped, molested and even threatened by the drivers of the largest taxi aggregators in the country, Ola and Uber.
The latest being the shocking case of a young lady architect at Bengaluru who was molested and forced to undress only to be photographed by the heinous taxi driver who threatened her with rape and social defamation.
While this is condemnable by all standards, such cases only question the very fabric of our culture. It has obviously reached a stage where every woman ought to prepare herself to tackle such exigencies at any point of time.
Pune365 spoke to a few regular travellers to understand their own methods to stay safe in such an environment.
“I stay alone in Pune and often travel alone too most of the time,” says Meera Kumar, an IT professional.
I prefer taking shared cabs, with a majority of girls and also see to the fact that I am not the last passenger on the vehicle. This way you have company on your journey.
“Also, one thing I often do when I am travelling alone at an odd hour is to share the cab details and location with my close ones who can access me or with people I am visiting. They can even live track me via different applications. This way, I know that I can be accessed in an emergency like situation.”
“Prevention is better than cure,” quotes Meghna, who travels frequently to Mumbai from Pune.
I often prefer booking a safer option like a train or bus which is much crowded than a taxi.
“Also, while in the city limits, since we cannot carry safety equipment or pepper sprays all the time, hence in such cases I prefer socializing with the cabbie and gathering any information I can.
He might be lying but by just speaking to him you get to know his intentions, and whenever I feel uncomfortable I just end the ride then and there.”
“I would suggest every person be it a man, woman or other to be alert all the time. Even the celebrities and well known personalities have been a victim of such incidents across the country.
Ideally, avoid going alone in a cab when you are drunk and always inform someone about your ride. Keep the emergency helpline number handy and always know the route to the destination, or track the route the driver is taking on your GPS as well,” says Neeyati Bagshi, a citizen active in the field of women and child welfare and rehabilitation of the elderly.
It is not just our women who are at the receiving end of crimes and today the men in the city as wary and prefer taking precautions.
“It is sad that in a country that worships women their safety is still a concern, ”says Raghav, a city based rapper.
“Around January this year, a friend of mine was abused and attacked by an Uber driver demanding extra money. He was then thrashed with sticks and stones by the drunk driver.
Such incidents are unfortunate and the taxi aggregators should take strict measures to ensure that such incidents are not repeated and the offenders are prosecuted.”
I believe it is best to trust no one, be it their family, friends, or even a cab guy. Self-protection is the best. Pune have a number of places teaching self-defence and both men and women must learn these techniques.
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