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India: Don't Work at Night and You Won't Be Raped

Categories: South Asia, India, Breaking News, Citizen Media, Digital Activism, Human Rights, Law, Women & Gender

In recent days a number of working women have been abducted and raped in the city of Gurgaon [1], located within 30 kilometres of the Indian capital New Delhi. But all the administration could do in response is to shrug off its responsibility to provide safety to the citizens, by asking all malls, commercial establishments and pub owners [2] not to have women employees working beyond 8pm at night.

Indian netizens have exploded with rage and disbelief while expressing their reactions. Some reactions were sarcastic [3], some were eye opening [4], and some explaining [5] the absurdity of this call.

Aamjanata [6] thinks that this directive is unreasonable as it is a requirement for many jobs to stay late:

[..] there are supposed to be police women working night shifts too.

Illustration by Samia Singh. CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 [7]

Illustration by Samia Singh. CC BY-NC-ND 2.5

Sandip Roy [8] at the First Post is critic about the ploy of the police to ignore the responsibility:

If the police are going to wash their hands off the entire affair, here is an alternative solution that’s getting some buzz on Twitter: how about a curfew on all the men in Gurgaon after 8 pm?

The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker [9] questions:

Do you as a citizen find the Gurgaon Administration’s response reassuring?

Would it not have been more reassuring if it was made clear that negligence of duty by the police would not be repeated or excused?

The blogger also asks:

Are jobs, safety and roads after 8 pm, in Gurgaon, reserved for men?

Rambling In The City [10] blames the mindset of the patriarch society:

My first reaction, of course, is how easy it is for society (the authorities are reflecting a larger social attitude) to ask women to behave ‘within limits’. Just like recent incidents in which airline staff asked people with disabilities to deplane, the attitude reeks of a mindset in which women are considered weak, disadvantaged and mostly a problem.

Participants at the Delhi Slutwalk shout slogans and hold banners. Image by Rahul Kumar. Copyright Demotix (31/7/2011). [11]

Participants at the Delhi Slutwalk shout slogans and hold banners. Image by Rahul Kumar. Copyright Demotix (31/7/2011).

Twitter users also were busy in expressing their opinions:

@anuragsharma137 [12]: 4th such rape incident near sahara mall gurgaon in 45 days. life is normal next day. R they strong people or coward?

@Ankursays [13]: #Gurgaon was once a proud symbol 4 our country devlopment. Now the whole #NCR has become a shame symbol ( #rape destination) 4 our country.

@Nadlakha [14]: Just because a couple of men can't control an erection, women have to sit at home. What an idea! #gurgaon

@saliltripathi [15]: So it seems in Gurgaon rapists have official working hours.

@LadyAparna [16]: RT @Harneetsin [17]: So women in Gurgaon are told to be home by 8pm if they don't wanna be raped. Rapists in India get their own “official” Happy Hours now. Die.

@NameFieldmt [18]: So men are like werewolves or something. They are saints till 8 pm and become barbaric rapists once the clock strikes 8. #Gurgaon

While everyone is talking about the problem and the preventive measure, Ankita Mahajan [19] ponders about a solution:

Government should take austere initiative to blackout such cases. If a person is found as a criminal and arrested in a rape case, then there should be only one punishment for him- sentence to death.