Jaipur, London- All-female police units in India are patrolling the streets in the city of Jaipur, India, carrying sticks, walkie-talkies, and cameras aiming to bring a sense of security to the north-west of India, which sees 40,000 rapes every year.
This all-women police unit works since May in Jaipur, Rajasthan, known with its palaces and mansions that lure tourists. According to AFP, this unit’s members are deployed around bus stops, colleges and parks where harassment cases happen regularly.
In a country accused of tolerating sexual harassment and violence against women, this unit composed exclusively of women, seeks to settle security and law.
Kamal Shekhawat, who heads the Jaipur unit said: “The message we want to send out is that we have zero tolerance towards crimes against women.”
India has a high rate of sexual abuse practices against women. Experts say the available statistics highlight a small share of what is really happening, especially that most of victims remain silent.
The Indian police is generally dominated by men, and women members in it are no more than percent.
Human rights activists see that this unit will help the women victims to stop the sexual violence acts by reporting what they lived. Yet, these women often face prejudgments in the police stations because of their appearance or behaviors, and sometimes they are blamed for the harassment.
Police in Jaipur hope the new all-women unit would encourage rape victims to speak loud about their struggle.
In a public park in Jaipur, policewoman Saroj Chodhuary approached a group of women wearing “sari” the traditional Indian costume. She told them: “You can just make a call or even message on WhatsApp and we will be right there.”
“Your identity will not be revealed, so you can feel free to register your complaint. If someone makes cat calls or troubles you in any way, do let us know,” she added.
Radha Jhabua, a 24-year-old mother, said she wanted to complain about a neighbor stalking her, but her husband feared it would bring the family a bad reputation. “He told me to keep quiet and wait for the man to change his ways,” she added. To accomplish their mission, women working in this unit are trained in martial arts.
Rape in India has made headlines since one particular case of a medical student, who was brutally raped and killed in 2012 in New Delhi. Since then, the country has restricted punishments of such crimes.
Ram Lal Gujar, one of the city’s residents said: “If one man gets beaten up, others will feel obliged to change their behaviors.”