Amid protests and anger in reaction to the 22-year-old’s gang rape, MiD DAY spoke to a few women photojournalists, who said the heinous act had left them stunned, making them lose their faith in the system.
But even as they are rattled, they are resolute not to bow down, and will continue to work. They also hope that Mumbai regains its repute as a safe city soon, where they can move without fear. Here’s what they had to say:
Till four years ago, I never felt unsafe in Mumbai. But, a spate of dastardly crimes against women in the recent past has forced me to change my thoughts. As a photojournalist, there were days and several assignments when I found myself in a vulnerable position -- surrounded by men.
I remember one such incident at Dombivli where the whole area was surrounded by political and local goons and amid the volatility was me, all alone and in fear of being attacked. Even though there was heavy police presence in the area, I knew they could do nothing, if the situation went out of hand.
Another incident found me at Lower Parel station when people gathered around me in a huge group and men started heckling me, calling me paparazzi, who was taking images only to sensationalise news.
Being in this field for so long has made me careful, and made me a no-nonsense woman. I feel that one can never be too safe and would advise women, irrespective of their profession, to learn and be aware of things that can be done to safeguard their dignity and perhaps their lives too. As far as this incident is concerned, it won’t stop me from going out on assignment. I still find it hard to believe that at 6 pm -- a time when streets and roads are bustling with people -- there was no one to help the young victim and her colleague and prevent the crime from taking place.
Born in Uttar Pradesh and growing up in Delhi, I have often been a witness to harassment and other such incidents. But I always considered Mumbai to be a relatively safe place. All that has changed now, especially after Thursday’s incident.
I have always stood up to men and not been cowed down by fear. As habit, I always note down the number of the auto or taxi I travel by. And even though yesterday’s event has rattled me, it won’t keep me from doing my job. I will step out, and get a licence for a weapon, if needed.
Kirti Shashank Parade
I have been in the field of journalism for more than a decade. I have been out on the streets till 2 or even 3 am and never felt unsafe in Mumbai. I have not been afraid of being out on assignment.
On certain occasions, especially during festivals, I have been on the receiving end of water balloons. But, as a woman with a camera, I am used to such things and often ignore such events. Even now, I am going to continue going out. Such incidents can’t stop me. I do feel culprits should be punished severely.