A family lost their daughter 10 years ago in northeast Delhi. They feared the worst and went multiple times to police stations in a bid to find their daughter. After many years of wait and search, they eventually gave up on her and performed religious rituals for her thinking that she was dead. Last week they were in for the surprise of their lives when they found their daughter who was 22 years old now. She was 12 when got lost.
Their happiness in seeing her daughter soon changed to anxiety as they heard about the ordeals she had to face over the last ten years. The daughter has claimed that she was raped multiple times during the last ten years, she was also sold (at Rs 30,000) and re-sold (Rs 40,000) to many men before making her to forcefully marry a truck driver who had died two years ago and the family threw her out of the house.
Her mother is not giving up
Despite the horrific ordeals their daughter has faced, the parents have not given up. They have vowed to bring the men who had raped her to justice. However, despite multiple visits to Khajuri Khas police station, the police officers did not pay heed to their complaint. A woman police officer though has come up and taken their daughter for medical examination. Deputy Commissioner has taken stock of the situation and has ordered the formation of a special investigation team to find the culprits.
As the clock ticks and the day starts ending, the only thing on the mind of every woman is to rush home. From literally sprinting to informing of their location every minute to the family members, women do it all. All this for just one reason – it’s not safe to be outside after the sun sets. If by chance there is even a slight delay, the family also starts fretting.
Why is being outside after a certain time considered to be unsafe? Well, the answer can be found in the question itself. It is because, as it starts getting darker, lesser women step out and hence roads are perceived to be unsafe.
Volvo beautifully addressed this via a video, set at the background of a popular old Hindi song, showing three women and sending out a simple message that more the women on the streets, more safer it will become. This video struck a chord among a lot of people, especially women who could identify with it.
Volvo, in a bid to encourage women to step out and reclaim their city spaces, organised a night walk. Mumbai Night Walk which was organised by Volvo under the #MakeYourCitySafe initiative in association with CrossBow Miles invited all the women to participate in a great number.
The mood for the symbolic march, which was held on May 19, was set up right at the beginning of event with some soul-stirring music and talks by various artists who champion the cause of equal rights for women.
In the final leg of the movement, which was the midnight walk itself was joined by Srishti Bakshi, founder and campaign champion of CrossBow Miles, who also holds a unique feat of walking 3,800 km from Kanyakumari to Srinagar in 230 days for raising awareness for women empowerment through financial and digital literacy. She is of a strong opinion that small steps lead to bigger changes. Problems like misogyny and gender stereotyping cannot change overnight and only sustained efforts towards completely removing them can bring change.
Bakshi joined the enthusiastic crowd of women marchers who walked from High Street Phoenix to Mahalaxmi Racecourse. The event had performances by spoken word poet Simar Singh, singer Abhilasha Sinha, singer-songwriter Aarifah Rebello, rapper Sofia Ashraf and award-winning singer Rekha Bharadwaj. The event saw some really acclaimed personalities like Sushmita Sen and Dia Mirza in attendance too.
This is not the first time that such a night march is being organised by CrossBow Miles. Earlier too, public night walks were organised in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Gwalior and New Delhi which were attended by 200-15,000 people in each city.
The Logical Indian congratulates Volvo on the grand success of their initiative #MakeYourCitySafe. We also hope that women leave their apprehension behind and unitedly reclaim their city spaces.