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This is What Amitabh Bachchan has to Say against Women Harassment

Amitabh Bachchan speaks in support of Women.

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  • Big B comments on the crime against women.

Society doesn’t like women who confront tormentors says, Amitabh Bachchan

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan rues how patriarchal mindsets still dominate most part of India, where the society has not allowed women to freely use the fundamental right of legal recourse in cases of harassment.

“Many crimes against women go unreported because women are scared to go to the police station, where they may face further harassment. Legal recourse is the fundamental right of every citizen and women have been denied that right because society does not like a woman who confronts her tormentors,” Amitabh, 75, has penned in a foreword for “Pink: The Inside Story” (HarperCollins/226 pp/Rs 299).

The book, by film historian Gautam Chintamani, chronicles the making, impact and script of “Pink”, which bagged the National Award for Best Film on Social Issues for provoking discussions on crimes against women.

Amitabh’s statement fits in a pertinent way as far as the current scenario in the global entertainment industry is concerned.

After multiple women stood up and raised their voice against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein for sexual harassment and rape, more women have spoken out about their experiences with filmmaker James Toback and even actors Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman.

“Women today are more educated and financially more secure; they are ambitious and assertive; and yet, there seems to be no end to the atrocities perpetrated against women. You just have to pick up the newspaper every morning to know this,” Amitabh Bachchan writes.

He says he himself chose to feature in a film like “Pink” (2016) — which highlighted how “no means no” — because “as an older member of the industry, I felt there needed to be a change in my engagement with my profession”.

In the film, he essays Deepak Sehgal, a lawyer who fights in favor of three girls and makes valid arguments to highlight the issue of consent and a woman’s right to say no.

Big B says in the book that his relationship with the three girls reminds him of his own bond with his granddaughters.

“It’s important to me that they grow up in a society that offers them the necessary protections and privileges.”(IANS)

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Women In India Turn To Technology To Stay Safe From Harassment

Police in many Indian cities are also encouraging women to use apps to register complaints

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Women, Harassment
Women stand at a crowded place in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, Oct. 9, 2006. Safety is the biggest concern for women using public and private transport, according to a survey Thursday. VOA

New web and phone apps in India are helping women stay safe in public spaces by making it easier for them to report harassment and get help, developers say.

Women are increasingly turning to technology to stay safe in public spaces, which in turn helps the police to map “harassment prone” spots — from dimly lit roads to bus routes and street corners.

Safety is the biggest concern for women using public and private transport, according to a Thomson Reuters Foundation survey released Thursday, as improving city access for women becomes a major focus globally.

“Women always strategize on how to access public spaces, from how to dress to what mode of transport to take, timings and whether they should travel alone or in a group,” said Sameera Khan, columnist and co-author of “Why Loiter? Women And Risk On Mumbai Streets.”

#MeToo, Victim, Harassment
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician M.J. Akbar takes the oath during the swearing-in ceremony of new ministers, July 5, 2017, at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi. The Indian minister and veteran newspaper editor announced his resignation, Oct. 17, 2018, while still insisting that the accusations of sexual harassment are false. VOA

Reported crimes up 80 percent

Indian government data shows reported cases of crime against women rose by more than 80 percent between 2007 and 2016.

The fatal gang rape of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi in 2012 put the spotlight on the dangers women face in India’s public spaces.

The incident spurred Supreet Singh of charity Red Dot Foundation to create the SafeCity app that encourages women across 11 Indian cities to report harassment and flag hotspots.

“We want to bridge the gap between the ground reality of harassment in public spaces and what is actually being reported,” said Singh, a speaker at the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual Trust Conference on Thursday.

India, Harassment
Students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University participate in a protest demanding suspension of a professor accused of sexual harassment, in New Delhi. VOA

The aim is to take the spotlight off the victim and focus on the areas where crimes are committed so action can be taken.

Dimly lit lanes, crowded public transport, paths leading to community toilets, basements, parking lots and parks are places where Indian women feel most vulnerable, campaigners say.

Stigma attached to sexual harassment and an insensitive police reporting mechanism result in many cases going unreported, rights campaigners say.

Apps are promising

But apps like SafeCity, My Safetipin and Himmat (courage) promise anonymity to women reporting crimes and share data collected through the app with government agencies such as the police, municipal corporations and the transport department.

Students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University participate in a protest demanding suspension of a professor accused of sexual harassment, in New Delhi
People hold placards at a rally condemning the rapes of two girls, aged 8 and 11, in Ahmedabad, India. VOA

“The data has helped in many small ways,” said Singh of the Red Dot Foundation. “From getting the police to increase patrolling in an area prone to ‘eve-teasing’ to getting authorities to increase street lighting in dark alleys, the app is bringing change.”

Also Read: Women And Girls In Poor Countries Are Using Contraceptives More: Report

Police in many Indian cities, including New Delhi, Gurgaon and Chandigarh, are also encouraging women to use apps to register complaints, promising prompt action.

“Safety apps are another such strategy that could be applied by women but I worry that by giving these apps, everyone else, most importantly the state, should not abdicate its responsibility towards public safety,” Khan said. (VOA)