India recently earned the tag of being the most dangerous for women, but did women in the country need that confirmation at all? What was needed is enough people to challenge the label. That’s what 200-odd women did at midnight on Monday in Delhi as they gathered to participate in a ‘Fearless Run’. The five-kilometre run was an attempt to reclaim public spaces and ditch the archaic notion that women shouldn’t step out at night.
The group gathered in Delhi’s Connaught Place as part of an event organised by Delhi Police in collaboration with Delhi-based NGO United Sisters Foundation, which also organises the annual women’s marathon ‘Pinkathon’.
“We often hear that crimes against women happen because they venture out alone at night. But that’s not true. This marathon is to prove that women have the right to be on the streets at nights as much as men,” Delhi Police Public Relations Officer and DCP told News18.
At midnight hundreds of us girls gathered at CP for #Fearless An initiative by @DelhiPolice @IPSMadhurVerma and #UnitedSisters A step in the right direction. Women ran to make sure we reclaim public spaces post midnight pic.twitter.com/6LAngfyJ3j
— Sonam C Chhabra (@sonamcchhabra) September 10, 2018
Joint Commissioner of Police Ajay Chaudhury and social activist and acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal flagged-off the event, where other initiatives aiming at women’s safety were also discussed. An update of the women’s safety app ‘Himmat’ — ‘Himmat Plus’ — was also launched during the ‘Fearless Run’. Reportedly, the app has higher efficiency and offers better police assistance to women when under threat.
Female police personnel and several men, who were accompanying members of their families, also joined the march.
The fearless run.. a mini 5 Kms marathon at midnight in Connaught Place inner circle with an aim to reclaim public space and to break gender construct that women can’t go out after dark ! pic.twitter.com/WIZ4dmFgVf
— Madhur Verma (@IPSMadhurVerma) September 10, 2018
Speaking to NDTV, Agarwal said, “It’s a very good initiative and when more women see me and all the others out on the streets at 1 AM, they too will be inspired. It’s heartening to see that more and more women are becoming fearless.”
However, Agarwal, who was attacked at the age of 15 for rejecting a man’s proposal, maintained that the app wouldn’t help if the police force isn’t sensitised. She added, “The number of helplines or apps launched by the police won’t make a difference until we see more awareness among the police personnel or support from them”.
Featured Image Source: Representational Image (Courtesy: Twitter/@richaanirudh)