It has been nine (9) days since 19-year-old Ankita Bhandari left this world in sombre thoughts and confusion about women safety in India, once again. Before you begin with this article, I should tell you that it is not about Uttrakhand Murder Case only.
Although it happens on an everyday basis with every girl who steps out in public, it gets even more challenging when your workplace is unsafe too.
After 10 years of the Delhi Rape and Murder Case (2012), Pulkit Arya re-wrote the worst history for the women of India to dread. We felt unsafe in the public transport after 9 because of this case but we feel weak in the gut after hearing what happened with Ankita Bhandari.
Ankita was working in a resort as a receptionist, trying to be financially self-dependent at the tender age of 19 years old. We would like to imagine that her parents were proud of her but before that chance comes, it all goes downhill on the night of 18 September 2022. It is the night when Pulkit Arya, the owner of that resort pushed her off the cliff after she refused to involve sexually with one of the ‘special guests’ at the resort.
Although the body was recovered on 24 September 2022 from the Chilla canal, after 7 days from when she was thrown in the water mercilessly, justice is still pending (27 September 2022). Through post-mortem, it was found that she died by drowning in the water which is termed ‘asphyxia consequent upon ante-mortem drowning’ in technical terms.
Though the culprit got arrested but is it enough? Her mother couldn’t even see her daughter’s innocent face as she was hastily cremated on the morning of Sunday. Do you think, seeing her face would have been enough for her? I am sure not.
It brings me to the topic of conversation, how does this affect women’s empowerment in a worse way?
Ways the Case Affected Us
Our parents always feared us going out to work let alone flying in the sky to realise our dreams. This case makes it more difficult for us women to do what our heart desires in terms of our career. We can’t see ourselves working in a different city, living the life of our dreams because we don’t know where we are safe.
Not only this fear has gagged our parents but it has trapped our hearts too. Knowing what Ankita had to go through at her workplace, I would always fear the same and would never take big leaps in life. If I ever find an opportunity that is too good to be true, I would always look at it through sceptical spectacles.
Putting in Extra Efforts
We generally do not mind staying after our working hours to finish some important work but are we going to do it anymore? I can’t imagine staying late and going home in the dark owing to the fears this case brought upon me which will affect my growth.
Fear in the Office
Do you think our male seniors would be able to communicate with us in the old ways after this case? I do not think that. I think they will think twice before asking us to do anything that might alert our brain cells in the wrong way.
False Red Flags
We all see light-hearted flirting but would we ever look at it the same way? Imagine how many times women are going to overreact to things which don’t require such a reaction otherwise? I wouldn’t want to gel with people with even 1% creepy personality.
What went wrong in Ankita’s Case?
As I can read in the reports about her text to her friend, she could see all this coming but was naive to identify it. But if she knew that Pulkit Arya looks at her through a rapist’s eyes, then she should have done something about it sooner.
She wasn’t mature enough to handle it the right way but she could have gotten some help. She could have shared it with her mother or some other mature person in the family.
I am sure things could not have reached this level in a fraction of a minute. Clues definitely lingered in the air for weeks or even months. Action should have been taken at a very early age.
I don’t know what she was waiting for but sadly there is nothing to wait for anymore but everything to get back to normal.
Effects of the Case on Men
The case did not only affect the ladies of the country but the innocent men around such scared women too.
Just like women, men will also think multiple times before looking at a lady, especially the good men. All the guys who would give a lift to women in the late hours and do more such gentlemanly gestures to ensure their safety would now avoid doing it.
There is no conclusion to this article but questions, doubts, finger-pointing, fear and lots of setbacks. I do not even have an opinion to give at the end of this writing piece.
All I want to say is that I have seen men hit on me, retreating knowing I am not interested, protecting me even if we don’t know each other, and I have seen men looking at me in the worst way possible too. So, I know all men are capable of being good and bad, both, if you ever get a chance to pick, always pick the former one. Those are the ones not in the headlines but our hearts and we would love to have a place where we can feel safe.