mid-day editorial: Make the streets safer for women

Five people suspected of assaulting a Tanzanian woman in a road rage incident were arrested in Bengaluru. The five were arrested after interrogation under detention in the case registered on the victim’s statement.

On Wednesday, the woman bore the brunt of mob wrath in a case of mistaken identity. The Tanzanian was suspected of being a friend of a Sudanese student, whose car had hit a woman. The woman died as a result of that. The Sudanese was driving drunk, say reports. An enraged mob in Bengaluru simply assumed that the woman was a friend or known to this driver and beat her up.

Earlier, media reports stated the woman was stripped and paraded naked, but the police denied this.

The young woman, a student had no connection to the accident, but was still beaten by a mob who took the law into their own hands. When women face mob or group wrath, there is also molestation, they are groped, touched inappropriately, besides being beaten up. Their clothes are deliberately torn, as the attacker indulges in what can only be described as criminal caveman behaviour.

The fact that this incident has happened on the streets, points to the impunity and little fear or regard to the law with which her attackers have behaved.

We do not live in the dark ages where women can be dragged out on the streets from cars and beaten up. Terming this as road rage or a stray incident when people went out of control is to trivialise a crime, which will leave the victim with deep psychological scars for years to come. She will need extensive care and counselling to put this behind her.

It also proves that recent campaigns and social media initiatives creating awareness about gender issues, molestation and rape seem to have been futile, women still continue to bear the brunt of violence, and sexual harassment. Perpetrators of this crime, need to be dealt with in the strictest way possible with harsh punishments. Make the streets safer for women is a rallying cry that needs to be heard and heeded.

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