mid day editorial: Don't just call this the safest city, make it so

Published: 12 December, 2017 07:32 IST | mid-day correspondent | Mumbai

Actor Zaira Wasim's molestation allegation against a passenger on a Delhi to Mumbai flight is still setting social media on fire

Actor Zaira Wasim's molestation allegation against a passenger on a Delhi to Mumbai flight is still setting social media on fire. Frenzied debate has followed the charge, with the accused's wife stating that he was tired, taking a nap and had apologised to the young actor after his leg touched her. The question, though, is why would anybody need to sleep with their leg on somebody else's armrest in an aircraft? However tired you may be, there is no excuse for impinging on somebody's space and putting your feet on their armrest.

Even as this case grabs eyeballs and makes headlines, there was yet another instance near the Girgaum Chowpatty in south Mumbai, where two women were molested while they were enjoying a night out with their family and friends. A report in this paper states that the victim's husband spotted one of the accused trying to touch his wife's back and slapped him. A brawl ensued and the police arrest four accused.

It is time to look at the larger picture - there are no safe spaces left for women anymore. We hear and read about cases of abuse or harassment at hospitals, in the swankiest of hotels, and in airplanes too. Experts debate on how some localities and streets are practically no-go areas for women, and the need for women to reclaim these spaces.

Molestation or harassment can happen anywhere. It is widespread and pervasive, and it is not enough for women to stake their claim to public or open spaces. We must ensure utmost safety for them everywhere. While we name and shame the accused, there must be adequate effort to secure spaces for women. Good lighting, a well-trained response team, swift follow-up on complaints, and stringent punishment for the culprits - these are some of the ways to achieve this.

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