Some subways in the city are unsafe even during the day. Women share their bitter experiences with Susanna Myrtle Lazarus
Women have time and again been told to be safe and not use subways late at night for fear of being harassed. But in some parts of the city, they have a difficult time even in broad daylight.
Walking through the subway from Tambaram Sanatorium station to GST Road is part of the daily commute for numerous women who work in the area.
The subway from the railway station leads to a small street and a short walk will take one to the main road.
“When I come for the morning shift, the station is quite crowded with office-goers. Pretending to be pushed by the crowd, some fall on me and my female colleagues. When we protest, they run away through the crowd,” says Krithika Raj*, a 25 year old software engineer. Once the office rush is over, the station is quite deserted, as is the subway, says Krithika, “There have been several instances of men following us threateningly. They also expose themselves indecently. It is very embarrassing.” For the past couple of weeks, she has been taking the office cab, although travelling by train saves her a lot of time.
Nalini Devan*, who works in the hospitality industry, narrates an incident that happened just last week: “I was crossing the subway at noon when a man started walking uncomfortably close to me.
I quickened my pace and so did he; when I moved closer to the wall, he tried to corner me. As no one else was there, I yelled at him and he walked away but stood at the top of the stairs and continued to stare at me till I got into an auto outside the subway.”
She added that in the one-and-half years that she has been travelling by EMU from Park Station to Tambaram Sanatorium, she has not seen a policeman manning the station or the subway.
“We see lots of policemen in Guindy, Mambalam and Tambaram stations. People don’t misbehave there as they know there might be a cop somewhere around to whom we can go to for help. Here we have no option but to fend for ourselves. Even one policeman will make a big difference in boosting our confidence to travel alone.” says Nalini.