A rape epidemic in Delhi, India, has working women afraid and the police ordering companies to ensure their female employees get home safely.
An epidemic of rapes across Delhi, India, has led police to issue orders for taxis and employers to protect female employees at night. Taxis and companies that don't comply could face criminal charges and fines.
Over the past few weeks, Delhi has experienced a string of rapes, none worse than the brutal gang rape of a 30-year-old call center worker after a taxi dropped her off near her home three weeks ago, reports the BBC. Since the start of the year, 433 rapes have been reported in New Delhi, more than one a day, notes India's Business Standard. A recent Times of India poll found that approximately two-thirds of women in Delhi and nearby Gargaon feel unsafe .
To protect women who travel home from work at night, the Delhi Police orders mandate call centers, corporations, and media organizations ensure female employees arrive home safely. To ensure that occurs, a company security guard must accompany the woman home, verify she is safely inside her quarters, and make sure she is neither the first nor last employee to be picked up or dropped off, according to The Economic Times .
Employers who violate the law could face six months in jail, a fine of 1,000 rupees, or both , reports the Indo-Asian News Service.
But the Business Standard casts a skeptical eye toward the regulation.
"Those who do not follow the order issued by Delhi Police are liable to be punished with a fine or even jail for six months, but it’s not very clear whether the guidelines are being followed by companies or even being monitored," according to the business daily.
Many businesses had already instituted similar protocols before the police orders were issued.
"Our office has become more sensitive about safety of all women employees. I usually reach home around 1am in the office cab. There is either a security guard with me or a male employee who gets dropped last,'' said Vandana Khanna told The Times of India in November after the gang rape incident.
Madhu Chandra, a Delhi human rights activist, told the Business Standard that police must do a better job at patrolling unsafe neighborhoods, ensuring police control room staff know English, and installing security cameras.
To read why Chandra believes woman in Delhi are being raped and sexually assualted, read this interview with The Wall Street Journal conducted before the police orders were implemented.
♦ Photo of New Delhi at night by WomEOS/Flickr