Violence against women is on the rise in Kerala if one is to go by official data. Or it could be that more crimes are being reported as a result of increased awareness.
Merin Joseph, DCP of Kozhikode, wanted to find out how safe the city’s roads were for women at night.
Merin decided to walk the streets at night along with two women constables – VK Soumya and M Sabitha. All three were in plain clothes as they were curious to know how people reacted to ordinary women. It was a new experience, not just for the women but for the entire police department as the experiment was a first-of-its-kind. Talking about the experience to The News Minute, the DCP said,
“When I travel in my official vehicle as a cop, I get a completely different experience, which is drastically different from what an ordinary woman walking on the road goes through. We wanted to see the experience women have to face, when they step out at night. I was sure nobody would recognise me,”
The two constables started their stroll at around 9 pm and were joined by the DCP two hours later, according to Mathrubhumi.
Incidentally, apart from the three of them, there weren’t any women in the streets that day. In some areas, men whistled and harassed them verbally but in most places they only came across surprised glances.
Merin believes that verbal abuse has come down drastically compared to the past because of constant patrolling. Though a lot needs to be done with regard to women’s safety, she believes that they are in the right direction.