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see my story

The sociologist and photographer Sabine Felber from Germany has worked with “Blank Noise“ to reflect on the safety of women in public places,

as part of Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan’s „bangaloREsidency“ (2015).

With her project „See my story“, which has four digital stories and 21 self-portraits, she has launched a unique platform for women in Bengaluru.

Principals of schools, design students, street vendors, homemakers — she has put together all their experiences in the City.
  • 17 years, student at Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology

    Yastika

    In Bangalore when I am travelling - I am new to the city - alone or in a group I am always cautious. I need to look around for people and when people look. The place I come from, people are not really close-minded or orthodox about certain things. But the very fact that people look at you on the road just because you’re laughing loudly or something, those small things also make me feel insecure when I’m in a public space. I would ask for more street lights. Darkness calls for crime. Crime rates increase because of the darkness and streets really don‘t have enough lighting here. And better transportation. The auto rickshaw drivers, they rip you off and more often if they know you are not from here. They never go by the meter. Bus services aren’t very frequent. For me, I live near a bus stop, it is more convenient, but public transport is a little creepy.

  • 35 years, waste collector

    Pushpemma

    I am not concerned about safety. And I am not worried about my daughters - they are safe. What I would ask for? We want more income because we are poor. I earn Rs. 6500 every month. And my husband drinks.

  • 23 years, student journalist

    Lakshmi

    When I’m in open space in Bangalore, I am pretty secure. It took me a while to be secure, to find myself and to be comfortable being who I am. But I’m used to people looking at me weirdly because I dress differently and do things differently. I don‘t want to consider that they think I am weird, because I accept it now. Yeah, so I am pretty secure in open spaces. What I want from Bangalore as a city is pretty much what it gives me already. So I am pretty content. The thing is: I haven’t lived anywhere else. And I don’t know if my experience would be different. But the way I am now is because I’ve been here for so long. And I found myself being a part of the city, the city being a part of me. I am pretty happy with our Bangalore at present. The traffic and the noise and everything is its essence basically. So I love it right now.

  • 65 years, fruit seller

    Muthu Lakshmi

    I go home about 9 or 10 in the evening. Safety is a concern because it’s late at night. But I have to work till late. And then I go back by this auto and I am worried about my safety because nowadays they don’t discriminate between young and old. And although I am an elderly lady I am still scared. I have a heart problem. And I don‘t have sons but my two daughters look after me. Thanks to that, I am able to run my life. What I would ask for? I want a shop. I want a permanent structure where I can have a fruit stall.

  • 32 years, visual artist

    Indu

    My idea of being secure in an open space is quite limiting because I always feel quite intimidated and at the same time threatened in lot of ways when I’m alone outside. It could be walking on the road. It could be travelling in an auto, it could be anything. The only space I feel very secure in is my house. Because I can be myself. And not being myself in the outside... I mean I would really like both to match - the inside and the outside. But in this scenario it’s very hard in India for me to just dress the way I am. Just be myself. Which is limiting and it won’t feel very safe. What I would ask for as a woman in the year 2015 is this: A request to people to be sensitive to the fact that everybody around also has to participate in making women feel safe. It’s just not a self defence mechanism that women have to be very well adapted but it has also to do with how people in society acknowledge and accept that. Yes we also need to participate and eliminate that unsafe feeling that women get when they walk out of their homes.

  • 19 years, design student at Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology

    Priyanka

    Honestly I don’t feel that I am secure enough in Bangalore because the first day when I came here, I heard a lot of people saying that Bangalore is not a safe city and especially when it comes to Yelahanka it’s the scariest place in Bangalore. I have had an experience: I was walking down the road, it was 8 p.m., one bike with two men approached me. They started whistling and eve-teasing. That actually got into me and currently I am really scared in Yelahanka. As a woman in Bangalore I would ask for respect from people. I feel if you can give a little respect, than it would be really easier for women to walk on the road randomly with a feeling of security.

  • Journalist

    Pushpa

    When I think of security in Bangalore, especially of women and girls and perhaps I would also say trans-people, because they also face a lot of gender violence, I would not think it is great. I have experienced a couple of times in my own neighbourhood, where we have lived for over 10 years, small but kind of unforgettable incidents of people touching my back or following me. I am a journalist who also does a lot of photography. Twice at a protest against violence against women - silent demonstrations - when I was taking pictures of people assembled, male photographers pushed me and even touched me unnecessarily. And when I obviously fought back they said: “Behave like a woman”. According to them, that means you should be shy and coy and silent. I feel Bangalore, like many other towns and cities, familiar or unfamiliar, is not wonderfully safe but perhaps better than places like Delhi, which is unfortunately not just the capital of India politically but also in gender crimes. As a woman in Bangalore, I ask for respect. Not just for my physical presence but also in terms of crossing boundaries like asking me questions or being suggestive. Letting me have my space wherever. Whether I‘m walking or working outside in a public area or in a bus. This is not just about safety and security. It‘s also about feeling comfortable in a supposedly familiar environment. So that you don‘t have to be on your guard always. I ask for acceptance of me as another human being whose boundaries should be given proper respect.

  • 28 years, computer engineer

    Sonali

    I am one of the luckiest persons in the world. That‘s what I think. I have not experienced anything which led to insecurity. It’s been eight years in Bangalore and I live alone here. It’s always been nice and I often go to open spaces, like the park, or alone in buses. I have not had any particularly bad experience. But sometimes when it’s late at the night and I’m alone in a taxi, it’s my mind which makes me think: Oh, what if something goes wrong. Something that we hear about in the media. Fortunately such a thing has never happened to me in reality, but there is always this fear which is in the back of my mind. I’m not sure if it’s created by society or the media, but it’s a fact. As a woman in Bangalore in 2015 I see that Bangalore is already advancing towards IT. There are so many women working in the IT companies and I belong to IT as well. And I see that a woman achieves whatever she wants. There is no discrimination that is apparent. Women have the same rights that men have. But still I see that there is this topic going on about how the situation for women in Bangalore is. And I think it’s the same as it is for every man. The situation with respect for the city, traffic, money, earnings, or whatever, residences – it’s the same for men and women. I don‘t see any difference. I think it’s fair enough that we are just fine in the year 2015. And what I would ask for is: society should create less hype about women, women, women. It doesn‘t make sense to me.

  • 33 years, freelance writer, editor and theatre person

    Sunayana

    I mostly feel fairly comfortable in public spaces. Because I have spent many years of my life working with Blank Noise. Blank Noise works by engaging in public spaces with people appear in person in public. Also it helps being in a country which is mine. I know the way people think and what brings sympathy from them. I find for instance if I’m in a saree and have a baby and I’m very obviously a young mother then I can talk in certain ways and people will be very helpful, they just will! I find that I can get them to give me the same kind of sympathy even if I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt and don’t have a baby, just by putting on my young mother face and bringing on my young mother tones. So this really helps, because I would not know how to do this in a strange country with strange people. As a woman in Bangalore in the year 2015 I would ask for safer roads. Not safe in the sense of street sexual harassment exactly but safer - I would like to know that I would not get run over! I would like to have autos that take me home. Better public transport, more reliable public transport, public transport that runs later. Shops that stay open later. These things I feel make streets safe. If people are around, streets are automatically safe. If only certain kinds of people are around than safety is compromised. Given the way that Bangalore works and that people are at work day and night, it makes sense to work towards public safety by focusing on getting all kinds of people into all spaces and at all times.

  • 19 years, domestic worker

    Priya

    I am afraid to go outside because I am afraid of what I’m going to get from the public. I’m afraid that somebody would misbehave or I will meet some thieves. I’m more afraid of thieves, the people who commit robbery and all. Everybody tells me whenever I go out, someone will steal something right out of my hand. In terms of safety as a woman I have never experienced anything bad till now. But because of what the public says, I am afraid of people whenever I go out alone. Recently I have not gone out anywhere. Whenever I go out alone, I get a bit scared when someone passes by in a narrow lane when I am the only person or lady walking. When some person comes I feel afraid. I always have a companion to walk with me. I ask that people should change. The change will come from each and everyone. Everybody should think: I should change. And when people are good, I am fine to go out at any time. But now even in the morning, I have no chance to go outside. For the past three months I have been walking in the same place. I will go maximum 500 metres, there is a shop, I go and buy things. And I don‘t go alone. Somebody always accompanies me.