Rape Horror: Women carry pepper spray, knife for safety

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New Delhi, Dec 19: The brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old girl in New Delhi has left women shocked across the country. A deep sense of fear is evident among women, mostly those who have to work late in the night. As a self-safety system, many women/girls have started carrying pocket knives and pepper spray in their handbags to counter any assault on them.

"I have been carrying a pocket knife and pepper spray in my handbag for last five years. My job requires me to work till late in the evening. I travel alone. Many a times, I have encountered unpleasant touches and gestures. I don't keep a knife to kill someone but for self-defence," said Aditi K, a copywriter in an AD Agency in Bangalore.

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Many working women and college-goers say they feel unsafe in public spaces. Moreover, police are always deaf towards issues related to women.

"Once, I had approached a traffic policeman as I saw few men harassing a young woman. But the cop refused to help me. He rather scolded me and told to move ahead. I was shocked at his behaviour," said Purnima Sharma, a 55-year-old home-maker in Delhi.

With no one to help them out in the time of crisis, women are forced to build a safety net around them, says a women rights activist.

But many question as whether carrying a pocket knife or pepper spray will ensure safety of women?

"See the plight of women. They cannot move freely, have to think twice before venturing out from their homes to reach their workplaces. With the prevailing environment, I doubt whether we are living in a free and democratic society,"  rued the women rights activist.

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