Out at Night

a danger?I so often get asked if I’m scared to go out of the house after dusk. Also people make sure via text message I got home safe when I walked the last 100 meters from their car to my front door. And everybody kind of declares me being crazy when I mount my bicycle to get home after the night has fallen.

But honestly: Not a single man in this city of 17 or so million people is waiting the whole night at the side of the road, prepared to leap forward, if a lonely woman on a bicycle is passing by. If he was, he would wait a very long time, as I have never seen another woman on a bicycle.

The same logic applies to parks, forests or in this case for any quiet corner in the city: I don’t believe in the theory of a lone stranger lurking behind some bushes or corner, waiting for a victim.

As in all other countries in the world, most attacks on women in India happen at home. Most sexual assaults are carried out by relatives and friends. Or by neigbours, parent’s friends, accaintances.

Having said that, there obviously is a factual risk of getting attacked on the street, and quite possible this risk in North India is higher than in other places around the globe. So I wouldn’t advise anybody to stroll the whole night through all of Delhi’s neighbourhoods.

One should use common sense. If I, for example, ride my bicycle, I won’t be stopping anywhere at night, because traffic is low and traffic lights are not working. So even if there are rogue people around: When they finally come to realize that I could be a possible target for them, I am long gone.

This weekend I found myself being alone in the taxi from Jaipur to Delhi, as the other three in the group stayed back for one more night. The journey went on for hours, and I only got home at 3:30am. This, I think, could have been a far more risky situation than my bike rides, as the taxi driver could have driven anywhere with me. But I had assured that my friend trusted the driver as he already knew him for a long time and he lived in his neighbourhood.

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