Need of Safe Public Spaces to Give Women Freedom of Movement
What is the relation between safe public spaces and a woman’s freedom of movement? Let’s explore!
All forms of sexual violence in public spaces, like sexual harassment etc., are everyday occurrence for women and girls around the world. This is true for both developed and developing countries.
Women and girls actually experience as well as fear various types of sexual violence in public spaces. Sexual violence can be anything from sexual harassment to sexual assault including rape and femicide. All this happens on your city streets, public transport and parks, or in your own neighborhoods.
These occurrences and fears reduce women’s freedom of movement in public spaces. The everyday nature of such violence against women almost normalizes it, and women learn early how to deal with such harassment. It reduces their ability to participate in usual day-to-day work and in public life. It also negatively impacts women’s physical and psychological well-being. Although, we hear a lot on this topic i.e., violence against women, especially sexual harassment in public spaces, it remains a fairly unattended issue.
As such, it becomes crucial to prevent harassments of all type. We must work to develop safe public spaces for women. How do we do that? First and foremost, we have to change our mindset and understand that women too have the right to use public spaces without any fear. Secondly, cities must be planned in such a way, that these are accessible and inclusive for even the most vulnerable groups like women etc. And finally, we need to work on infrastructure like lighting and streets etc.
Safer public spaces make women and girls feel assured while moving around a city. We must provide them with their right of safe public spaces. Infact, the right to safety must be a goal at city level.