Hyderabad: So, according to the Hyderabad police, the best way to avoid rapes in the country is to lock up women in their homes while men roam around freely.

Yes, in the aftermath of the brutal rape and murder of a woman veterinary doctor in the city on November 28, Hyderabad Police launched a 14 tip advisory for women or girls on how to be safe while travelling.

Now, the onus lies completely on a woman to keep herself safe while the police has completely shrugged off responsibility. By issuing a list of do’s and don’ts, they are basically saying that women have to watch out for themselves. No similar advisories have been issued for men and no questions asked! Where is the advisory for men telling them to stop harassing, molesting and raping women? Where is the advisory for police to take women’s safety seriously?

Every time there is a rape in this country, we as a society impose all sorts of restrictions and limitations on a women’s mobility, questioning her every move but has that helped? Women already take zillion precautions and hear unsolicited advices from all and sundry, while stepping out of the house, but still rapes happen. While these suggestions might be well intentioned, every woman in India already is mindful of the dangers that lurk outside.

The police also seems to have forgotten that a woman is not safe even in her home because cases of abuse at home by family members are rampant too. So, where should the woman go? It is high time we flip the narrative, stop asking women to change and start educating men to respect women and their bodies and not to defile and violate women.

Also, instead of asking women to follow a long list of dictum, there should be an advisory issued to police force on how to act on complaints promptly, and not indulge in victim blaming and shaming.

Not just police, our lawmakers too, put all the responsibility on women. One of the first responses of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao after the rape, was to impose an 8 pm curfew on women employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation and prohibiting them from working night shifts. Another minister was reported as saying that instead of calling her sister, the victim should have called 100.

Twitterati too, boiled in anger at the advisory and questioned why isn’t there an advisory for men on ‘how not to rape and murder’ women.

When will, we as a society hold men accountable for their actions?

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