How safe are the streets of Mumbai and Pune for women? Is cat-calling and sexual harassment rampant when say a woman is walking alone? Given that a similar video based on New York went viral, two different groups decided to repeat the experiment in India: one in Mumbai and one in Pune.
The idea behind the street-walking video is simple: One girl walks all alone across the city with a hidden camera in front recording everyone who is around her. In case of the NYC video, the woman got cat-called over a 100 times as she walked a 10-hour period in New York, with men shouting "What's up beautiful" and "Nice" as she walked by in casual jeans and a black T-shirt.
In case of the Mumbai and Pune video, no one cat-called either of the girls. Each of the videos is over two minutes long and while in the Mumbai video the girl wears a top and a skirt, in Pune the girl is dressed in a jeans and tee.
The reason we need to mention the clothing of the girls, is that whenever a woman is attacked or harassed on the roads, one of the first arguments that is given is "she must have been wearing something provocative."
So going by this warped logic, the Mumbai girl's dress should have attracted 'unwanted attention.' But as we can see in both videos neither of the girls got harassed. And the reason has very little to do with the clothing. Where Mumbai and Pune are concerned, women have long been accepted as a part of the public space.
Most women who have lived in Mumbai or Pune will attest to how they have often stepped out in the city late at night, at times alone, at times just with their girlfriends, and never faced any harassment.
However this is not to say that harassment doesn't take place in either Mumbai or Pune. One should also note that both videos are only two minutes long, and we're wondering how much of the footage was edited out. Let's not forget in case of the NYC video, they edited out all the white-men who were cat-calling.
But the video does capture how convenient Mumbai can often be for women, especially single women. We're waiting to see how a similar experiment in Delhi goes.
Updated Date: Nov 11, 2014 16:07:15 IST