“My wife passed away a few years ago. It was all so sudden – she was standing near a pool when she got an attack and fell into the water. By the time someone could pull her out, it was too late. I’m a surgeon myself, but there was nothing I could do to help. Now, my daughter here comes with me for walks and takes me out to watch movies – it helps, but I still miss my wife terribly.”
“What is your fondest memory with your daughter and wife?”
“Oh, I forgot to mention – she’s not my real daughter. 17 years ago she joined my hospital and since then she has been like a daughter to me. Both my actual children don’t live in Bombay, so especially after my wife’s death she has taken care of me like family. That’s why I called her my daughter -family doesn’t necessarily have to mean we’re related by blood; it goes a long way beyond that.”
How many women can say that they do not fear stepping out at night, even with a companion or in their vehicles? The number is negligible. Not only during late hours but even in broad daylight women have a sense of fear in them – a fear of harassment or molestation and a fear of being stalked.
This happens despite us coming a long way since our first steps on this planet. We currently inhabit a world that is much more open to women’s participation in social, economic and political spheres. More women are breaking household shackles and taking the route of a corporate lifestyle. More women are stepping out of their houses to work, to drive cars and bikes, to go for a nice dinner with their other female friends.
However, a lot is yet to be achieved. Women are still in harm’s ways, especially on roads. It is no secret that there are more male drivers than their female counterparts? Is driving a car or riding a scooter something women cannot do? No. The reason for the low number is our society’s attitudes toward female drivers and women’s fear of harassment or being stalked on roads.
Even after 70 years of independence, Indian women are yet to enjoy real freedom on roads. Crime against women has doubled in the last decade.
To ensure their safety, women have taken the course of self-defence. What can be done when a woman riding a scooter is whistled at or followed back home? More often than not, they carry with themselves small items of safety like – swiss knives, pepper or chilli sprays. But what happens if they forget to keep the pepper spray in their bag? Or when a harasser comes, they have to waste time scavenging through their bag to find the small bottle buried deep inside? Self-defence techniques come in handy only when they are available at easy disposal.
To ensure the safety of women riders, CEAT has come up with an innovative idea. They have integrated the grip of their scooters with pepper spray holders. This way, the spray is always at disposal and when in need, a woman doesn’t need to search through her bag.
The idea has manifold advantages. One does not need to consciously remember to put the spray in one’s bag each time before stepping out of the house. A bottle of spray is always fitted to the scooter.
#CEATSafetyGrip campaign is a unique step toward women empowerment. Its success will definitely aid thousands of women riding alone on roads.