India's new worldly women, the country's younger generation is shedding submissive attitudes, aiming for higher education, careers, and longs for freedom and want to live independently. A number of sociological studies show that young Indian females now prize financial independence, freedom to decide when to marry and have children, and have glamorous careers. The boom in software industry especially BPO's has given employment for not so qualified girls also.
Single women still an oddity in India. But young, single Indian women face different challenges than their male peers. Renting an apartment is the major difficulty for them as the owners tend to think that she will bring plethora of male friends home. However, we thought we should guide all those who prefer to live alone.
Some precautions for the single women
Always take an apartment/house after recommended by known people and take their opinion about security and safety in that locality.
Bring in your family members/ relatives/friends and introduce them to your landlord/neighbours. Give them signals that you have strong ties/connections.
Be friendly with your neighbours and share about your work life with them. They can be supportive to you.
Be vigilant about men hanging near your apartment/house for many days together and if necessary confront them along with your friends.
The place where from you buy groceries, give clothes for ironing, buy vegetables, do not give too much information about whereabouts/ personal life. At times it can be misused.
Try to keep a helper/maid at home. It lessens the tension of being alone all the time.
Get new locks or have the tumblers reset when you move into a previously occupied dwelling.
Don't hide a key outside the door, under mats, flowerpots or under rocks. If you want extra keys nearby, leave one with a trusted neighbour.
Make sure you have good, safe locks on all doors. Lock all doors when you go out, even if it's for just a minute.
Be cautious when strangers enter your home. Use a peephole or look through a window to check. If you must talk to a stranger, never open the door wide.
Report broken streetlights in your neighbourhood. Well-lit areas discourage burglars and teasers.
Don't give information to strangers over the telephone. On wrong number calls, don't give the caller your number. Report continued wrong calls to the telephone company.
Don't give your computer password or other pertinent information to others.
If possible, use metal grillwork on entrance doors.
Report any strangers loitering in your neighbourhood or people asking vague questions about your neighbours.
Use lights effectively, leave several on in different areas of the house when you go out.
A safe inexpensive window lock can also be made.
Leave a radio playing quietly when you go out to give the impression that someone is at home.
Remove your name and address from any magazines or papers before discarding them.
Shred all papers that contain pertinent information about you and members of your family.
Keep few valuables in your apartment.
Check references of maids, cleaning women or anyone else who may have to work inside your apartment while you are away from it.
Better safe than sorry
Always take the elevator instead of the stairs. Stairwells are horrible places to be alone.
Do not get into an elevator if there is someone it in with whom you are not comfortable.
Do not stand in the corners of the elevator, be near the front by the doors, ready to get off.
Continuous eve-teasing by local should be notified to the police.
If stalked, walk to the local police station. Change direction of walking and never enter a lonely area.
Always keep your distance when walking past stranger on the street or in dark areas.
Get a cell phone. Keep it charged.
If you are walking alone in the dark or in a lonely area, and you find someone stalking you, scream and then run!
Offending phone calls and mails from anyone whom you don't like should be clearly avoided. Be polite and firm. If he doesn't stop, report it to the police.
At social gatherings (parties)
Youngsters of present generation should always be conscious about what they are doing. They should select only safe modes and safe places for partying.
When making plans to go out for the first time, consider meet your friends at a public place. Also let someone know whom you are meeting and where you are going.
Young women in social events should never leave their beverages (drinks) unattended.
Try to move with the people whom you know very well.
Never let the strangers know your personal details at any cost.
Never ever fall in the trap of drugs and other intoxicating substances.
While trying to build up relationship online, do not under any circumstance, reveal any personally identifiable information in your profile, personal ads, or private e-mails.
Never get lured by the unknown 'friendship clubs'. They might drag you into sleaze world.
While exercising outdoors
The most important thing you can do is stay in well- travelled residential areas. Avoid isolated areas.
Never wear headphones while walking or jogging outside. It not only increases the likelihood that you will not hear someone approach from behind
Always assume hostile intent from strangers and keep your distance. Remember many attacks are preceded by one of these three questions. May I use your phone? What time is it? And 'Do you know how to go to... ?
Self protection techniques
The eyes are the most vulnerable part of the body. Poke the attacker there and you have possibly your only window of opportunity to escape.
Aim for the groin area. A hard kick or a knee jammed into your attacker's groin will temporarily leave him unable to attack you.
The neck is also a vulnerable spot, but have you know where to grip and you have the strength to cut off his breath.
The last place is the knees. Everyone's knees are vulnerable and a swift kick here will get anyone down.
Take a self-defence course and carry pepper spray if you wish, but don't let either give you a false sense of security. Better to avoid areas where an attack can take place.
Don't depend on a dog to protect you all the time. If you are single and have a dog let it be trained professionally to defend you.
Finally, remember assuming that none of this will ever happen to you is ridiculous. No one expects it. But we must be aware and prepared.