Unequal Access of Public Spaces

~ Written by Salma Ansari

I love to travel and I have travelled alone many times. I would like to share with you the most recent experience of mine while I was in Goa. I was at the beach at night waiting for the cab to travel back to my hotel. It was almost midnight. I was standing alone and constantly looking around for the cab. I received a call from the driver that he will reach in 15 minutes to the location. I thought I will buy things what I need from shops till the cab arrived. Three men walked by my side and looked at me as if they would eat me up. I ignored them and started looking at the clothes I was interested in buying. The men came to me and one said, “Ma’am, today is my friend’s birthday, will you please wish him. He will feel happy.” I instantly wished him ‘Happy Birthday’ and again I got busy looking for the top. They went and came back again in a couple of minutes and asked me “Where are you from?”

Me: Mumbai
1st Man: Are you alone here?
Me: No, I am with my friends!
1st Man: Then where are your friends, why are you standing here alone?
Me: They went! And even I am going. I’ve booked a cab for myself which is on the way so I will also leave in sometime.
1st Man: We have a car, if you’re interested we can drop you.
Me: No, I am not interested; my cab will reach here in a couple of minutes.
2nd Man: Give me your number.
Myself to one of the men: Take him away! 
(1st Man told the 2nd Man to leave. But the 2nd man didn’t listen and asked for my number again)
2nd Man: Please give me your number!
Me: Looking at them confidently (scared from inside), said; I am not interested, My cab is reaching here, I don’t need any help. I screamed Please GO!

They left, my cab arrived and I got in the car and took a long deep breath, shared the OTP with the driver. I was very scared. But thankfully that cab came and I saved me from those men.

According to Indian constitution, we all have Right to freedom. Freedom to move freely throughout India. Freedom is not only given to men but to all of us. What about woman? Can a woman travel alone safely? I ask the men, What do you feel / happens to you when you see a woman is travelling/ standing/ sitting/ moving alone? Why do you feel that it is your right to interrupt her, tease her if she’s alone? What if the men knew I was scared of them? What would have happened to me after that? Why is it important to a man to assert his patriarchal power and dominate women?

“I ask the men, What do you feel / happens to you when you see a woman is travelling/ standing/ sitting/ moving alone? Why do you feel that it is your right to interrupt her, tease her if she’s alone? “

We have not asked you to save us or be our protector everywhere. The least you can do for girls/woman is not to bother or scare them when they are alone and not interfere in their business.

I was standing alone, I didn’t steal anybody’s money for my vacation. I paid for my own vacation with my money. But few man think that single/idle/alone women out in public are their property and they can do anything with them. But that won’t be the situation anymore.

It is sad, as a citizen we have Right to Freedom but as a woman we have to struggle for our rights!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s