A Safer World - A dream for a society that can deal with sexual harassment openly

Essay by randome1High School, 11th gradeB+, August 2008

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It was with great excitement that I moved from Moscow to Kerala, my homeland, 5 years back. To me then, Kerala was a holiday - fun, relatives, amusement parks, family get-togethers every now and then. Then I realized that all these came with strings attached - for me. I am a girl. Most of my cousins are, too, which means that we cannot go out anywhere alone. I cannot go to a water theme park in anything less than full length pants and heavy shirts. And without my dad with us, my mom, sister and I cannot really travel much to get to the family get-togethers. Because all around us are sexually frustrated males who consider it their birth right to ogle women on the streets, follow them around, and grope or rape them.

Kerala has a sex ratio of 1058 - one of the most favorable in India, whose average is 933.

It also prides itself as being the most literate state in the country. One of our largest communities, the Nairs, is one of the few matrilineal Indian ones. Yet, there were 552 reported rape cases here in the year 2000; needless to say, this is quite probably a small portion of the true number of cases, given the huge stigma associated with being a rape victim. Moving beyond numbers, Kerala is easily the most conservatively dressed states in India, and also the one with the earliest socially accepted curfews of around 8 pm. All this is really worrisome because it means that the issue is not one of circumstances but of the people; the former would all suggest a healthy, safe environment for women while the latter make the reality the opposite. However, there has to be a solution to every problem, and the first...