Opinion

An Ode to Safety!


Everyday I read the newspapers and shake my head in disbelief.What has our society come to?
Rapes,harassment,abductions, muggings,murder,sex trafficking,child abuse…hah….facts are often stranger and scarier than fiction right?
Knowing the dangers that lurk around does cripple our freedom, doesn’t it?
We become more conscious, each unknown face that we see inwardly reminds us of those horrific stories -stories of betrayal, violence and injustice!

How much do we try to avoid any circumstance which has even a minute factor of a potential danger in it!
Especially when it comes to crime against women and children, what precautionary steps do we not take! We tell ourselves and everyone around us to ‘avoid’ any such things! We tell women to NOT go out alone after a certain time at night.We do not let our kids out of our sight and prefer them to be safely crouched in front of the computers rather than being out playing without an adult supervision.We compromise when it comes to our clothes, carefully choosing the most decent ones.We make sure that the women we care about are amply accompanied whenever possible.But even then the stats do not show any decline, rather it is rising steeply to our horror!

It is quite easy to write about or advocate about standing up against these crimes.Easier said than done, right!!The question would be how to actually do it?
Well, I don’t know for sure.None of us actually know of a perfect solution,do we?

Years of researches and surveys did not yield us a real answer.All the steps that are said to have been taken do not seem to work. Nobody seem to descend down and dictate a series of steps to follow! We always wait for the law, the authorities to take the charge, our selves doing nothing other than passively ranting on social network sites.
Don’t you think it is time to take small steps ourselves? Every single step we take will add up in enduring the long tedious journey to a safer tomorrow, or so I believe!

The first and most important message that we have to send across to the ‘OTHER SIDE’ is that there would always be a reaction.No crime would be endured in silence.No crime would be dealt lightly. There WILL be NO VICTIM BLAMING.They will NOT BE allowed to take refuge under any kind of ironic JUSTIFICATION.A crime is a crime, regardless to it’s seriousness or the circumstance that lead to it and has to be prosecuted before the law.
No one has the right to hurt anybody else, under ANY circumstance .That is the rule of any civil society. And if a person has violated this law then this is a mockery against the institution called society !
Being a part of the society forces a person to abide it’s law.And if he/she chooses to break it, for what ever reason or under what ever circumstances, he/she WILL have to face the consequences.Only if this is ensured, people will think twice before they decide to do something grave and inhuman

The ‘punishment by law’ takes its own longer course, and I do believe in our judicial system.The death penalty for the Delhi gang rape culprits and the fast arrest of the Mumbai rapists did increase our confidence in the law and judiciary system.But this being told, there are thousands of cases still waiting their share of justice- be it crime against woman/man/children.Thousands of cases dismissed due to lack of evidences or hostile witnesses.Thousands of cases where the culprits are not yet identified.

Yes, we can keep on ranting about how inefficient our law system is ,how corrupted our politicians are, how materialistic our media is!!But most the time these  rants never evolve outside the bonds of a meager Facebook post or an annoying forward email.We sure are capable of  doing more than this, aren’t we?Can’t we take a bit of the responsibility of ‘sanctifying’ our society into our hands.

Along with trusting and believing in the state law,we as a society should express our intolerance towards such inhuman behaviors. By ‘reaction to a crime’, I did not mean taking law in to one’s hand and physically bashing the culprits.It easier to indulge in mob violence, but I think it is a crime in itself.Nor did I refer to moral policing, which is uglier. Can’t our reactions be placed somewhere above the need to judge, to prosecute?

We , I believe, must retort to small actions like showing solidarity to the victim,not cruelly judging the victim ,helping a person (or if not a safe circumstance at least calling for help) when he/she appears to be in need rather than walking away just because that person has no importance in our personal life, show our willingness to testify before law if we happen to witness something, reporting something to the authority willingly if you suspect some abuse rather than waiting for someone else to do it or in a whole acting upon the very basic human instincts we keep tethered within us.

Look at this extract from a leading daily

Nirbhaya’s friend said on Friday that the two of them lay naked on the road for more than two hours with people stopping to look at them and then moving on.”My friend was grievously injured and bleeding profusely. Cars, autos and bikes slowed down and sped away. I kept waving for help. The ones who stopped stared at us, discussing what could have happened. Nobody did anything,” he said in an interview to Zee News channel.
According to the friend, the apathy did not end even after the police entered the scene. Three PCR vans arrived at the spot. Then, in an exhibition of mindless, totally insensitive bureaucratic behavior, the cops spent the next half-hour arguing over whose jurisdiction the crime fell under, he said.
“The police did not pick us up. One of them tore a sheet and offered it to me to cover my friend. In my injured state, I picked her up and put her in the PCR van,” said the friend, narrating his story with poise and composure.””

(source)

I don’t know if any of those onlookers shared “Justice for Nirbhaya” links on their Facebook walls or ranted their fury on some social networking sites asking for ‘castration of the rapists’ without even a glint of guilt?If yes, we can only sympathize with them  and before shouting obscenities at them , we must use this example to do a self evaluation and understand the gruesomeness of such a situation.

Sorry to break the news to you friends, the passive attitudes of you and me is not going to help us.It is just going to make the ‘OTHER SIDE’ stronger.Situations like this will reinforce  their belief that they can always get away and the selfish society  would just passively watch.They will continue their appalling crimes when they realize the fight against them is going to be just a lone weak battle waged by the victims and their families and no one else would give a damn.Its time for us to tell them that we DO CARE!!
Don’t you think the national rage against Delhi and Mumbai rape incidents did changed the outlook of the potential criminals?Are these proofs not enough to show us that there are indeed things to be done rather than complaining how inefficient our authorities and law system are?

Let us stand up for our fellow beings, be it a man or a woman or a kid or a transgender or anyone. Remember tomorrow you or your loved one could be in their place.Do not tolerate the crime done towards any one, react and teach the younger generation to react, it is not going to be an easy transformation,but it is worth it!!

Being all these said, as individuals we should take a few steps to ensure our safety ourselves.While developed countries like US have extremely efficient emergency help system ,where dialing 911 would ensure tracking the location of the caller and sending help in minutes(in most of the cases), India is yet to see such an amazingly evolved system.We might have one eventually, but at least not in the next few years. Yes there are supposedly 100 ,102,108,112 etc to reach the police or emergency medical help, but I am not sure how efficient they are.(I have used 911 so I know, I have never used others so I am not an expert to comment on them).
Under these circumstances the fact that someone has developed an aid for the people in distress is an applaudable gesture.
There is one amazing application which you can download to your smart phone and use.It is called the Smart Suraksha– a free android app.

Using this App, at the press of a single button, you can send a message asking for help to five pre-chosen contacts from your contact list. An additional feature of this app is that along with your message for help, it also sends across your location even if the GPS on your cellphone is switched off.

Now when I sit back and ruminate through all those news articles, I can’t help wondering. Could an application like Smart Suraksha have made a difference in the lives of those victims?

The BPO employee who was raped and killed by the car driver,who changed the route and took her to a remote place.If she had this app with her, could she have alerted her friends/family or company authorities.With the approximate GPS location, could they have found her and saved her life?

In the case of the latest Mumbai rape case, could the victim or her friend have pressed the button and alerted their company or friends about the suspicious behavior of the culprits, without inviting their attention and could the tragedy been have averted?

In the Nirbhaya case, if the victim or her friend could have alerted somebody, would she have lived?

In the case of thousands of ladies who travel alone at night and get harassed, couldn’t they make use of this app and get help?

And all those days when I used to sit worried when my sister was not yet home after her late night coaching classes, would Smart Suraksha have given me a element of relief, a relief that my sister will have an opportunity to call for help if at all needed?

Yes, I wish all these people had Smart Suraksha with them!

Why should we talk of only the women, if properly used can’t this app can prove as a life saver to any one in distress ? Say an elder suddenly experiencing severe chest pain when alone at home, a man whose car just broke down in a deserted street,left with no charge in his cell phone to make a call? Any one can use it right?

The fact that it sends the message to 5 different contacts does ensure at least one source of help, doesn’t it?

Now only if the state would set up a helpline or something, that could accept and act on such emergency messages (which comes with the location of crime) by informing the nearest police station or patrolling team(or medical centers),wouldn’t it be a miniature emergency service system like the ‘911’ in itself? It is just a naive thought, I understand that there could be a mammoth of work to be done to establish such an arrangement!

If the mobile carriers could volunteer to treat such messages  for help as emergency services and allow them to be sent irrespective of the signal strengths or balances,it would have been commendable.I think India is yet to have strong mobile internet connections in remote areas.

Also,if the app could automatically capture the snapshots of the attacker and sent it along , then it would definitely help to track these morons down , ensuring that they would never dare to attempt something like this again.The knowledge that they could be identified might discourage at least a few from committing such heinous crimes!

And I would like to be optimistic that going forward more and more individuals will be lucky enough to use this application and get timely help and that more such security measures would continue to be introduced in India.

Hats off to the Smart Suraksha team, they have definitely taken their little steps to a safer tomorrow!

I am participating in the Seeking Smart Suraksha contest at BlogAdda.com in association with Smart Suraksha App.

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9 thoughts on “An Ode to Safety!

  1. I gave up watching the television news because I was tired of all the violence (not just wars) being reported.

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