Following the bestial sexual attack on a 23-year-old paramedical student in Delhi, there have been numerous demonstrations protesting not only for justice for survivors of such indecencies, but also tougher laws against the sexual offenders Kavita Krishnan, secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), was one of these demonstrators claiming Sheila Dikshit and the political establishment are responsible for women’s deplorable social status in India and demanding their resignation.
“Freedom without Fear”: ‘We do not want to hear this defensive argument that women only leave their homes for work, poor things, what can they do, they are compelled to go out. We believe that regardless of whether she is indoors or outside, whether it is day or night, for whatever reason, however, she may be dressed — women have a right to freedom. And that freedom without fear is what we need to protect, to guard and respect. I am saying this because I feel that the word ‘safety’ with regard to women has been used far too much — all us women know what this ‘safety’ refers to, we have heard our parents use it, we have heard our communities, our principals, our wardens use it. Women know what ‘safety’ refers to. It means – You behave yourself. You get back into the house. You don’t dress in a particular way. Do not live by your freedom, and this means that you are safe. A whole range of patriarchal laws and institutions tell us what to do in the guise of keeping us ‘safe’. We reject this entire notion. We don’t want it.’