Two days ago I watched a BBC World program on my TV about the Princess of Dubai who tried to escape UAE last year. Most of us are already aware of the news and the video she recorded that went online in which she described that she just wanted to escape and live in a world where she was allowed to make her own choices. Her earlier attempt to flee in 2001, failed, and as she explained in her video, she was put in solitary confinement for years, tortured physically and mentally, all as a punishment for her defiance.
The program interviewed various people who helped her in her futile attempt to escape last year and it was heart-breaking to see that even being a princess, she had much less rights than a commoner. In fact, it wont be wrong to say that it was precisely due to her royal status that her rights were so limited. Isn’t that what we see all the time, in all parts of the world?!
The people interviewed also revealed that behind the glittering diamond façade of Dubai, lie the medieval laws that actually say that women, regardless of their age, remain under the custodianship of their fathers or husbands or brothers. Basically, a man. Their laws even legalise beating of the women in their family if they refuse to abide by the family rules.
This instantly reminds me of Thomson Reuter’s report last year that called India as the most Dangerous country for women. Many people all around the world reacted in disagreement and for valid reasons. There are many other countries in the world where domestic violence is legal. In fact, if a woman complains of a rape or sexual harassment, she is not seen as a victim. She is punished for having broken religious laws that do not allow women to sexually engage with another man, EVEN if it was not by choice!
There is a lot to say here especially because I, in a team of three women researchers, conducted a detailed research last year on women’s safety in India. Instead of keeping the discussion to my computer, I believe it is important and timely to talk about this issue at every platform.
So I have decided to start a series on ‘Women’s safety in India – a Reality Check’. In this series, I will elaborate on various aspects of this topic and add to my blog regularly. Each blog post will focus on a smaller subject and all those will together create a knowledge base.
I cant wait to start writing and sharing!