The Breakthrough Voice 8th July, 2016

Safety contingent on fighting skills?.

I recently saw the trailer of Akira. I liked it. Thankfully, because it marked a departure from that trope of Damsel in Distress that Bollywood has long embraced, and is apparently in a relationship with that can only be described as Shakespearean romanticism (Not the good kind, the kind that leaves people dead).

So imagine my glee when I read about the woman from Jadavpur University!
If you haven’t heard about it, here’s the story. So this woman from Jadavpur University gets an Uber. Turns out surge pricing was not the worst thing she was going to deal with. A while in, the driver takes a wrong turn. This is not good.

When she protested, the driver flies into a rage and threatens to kidnap and rape her. Because, of course. At this point, it is hardly surprising that a vile man, empowered by the patriarchy and with a tool on his cell phone that does not place a high premium on accountability would do something like this.

Anyhoo, and here’s why this story is so amazing. What he had not considered in his pea sized brain that was too full of himself and shit that she is a badass. Remembering an old lesson in Karate that came back to her, she kicks the guy in the shin and in the back of her knees, escapes and makes a police report.

So today let’s stand up and give her a very well deserved salute! This one’s for you, survivor!

However, let’s not forget that thousands of women are victims of sexual assault everyday. And many of them do not know martial arts and they’re certainly not asking for it. A report by Indiatimes.com says “because his 27 year old target was in no mood to be a victim”, as opposed to the victims who are?

What kind of a world would it be where women would have to know martial arts before stepping out on the streets? What next? Camouflage? Arms training? Snipers? Ninja suits? Jedi mind tricks? Would women need to drive tanks instead of sedans?

Streets should not be warzones. Streets and public spaces should be a celebration of democracy. A place where people can come together and dissolve the bands that threaten and strike fear. As this woman has fought back and delivered a lesson, we hope this man will remember in jail, let us fight back against a culture where women have to be fearful before hailing a cab.

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