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What else do we do to not get raped?

Even after following everyone's advice - don't step out late, don't be alone, don't wear that - Delhi girls say they're still public property on the roads.

They never forget to tell us that Delhi is not safe. We have been reminded time and again about what can happen if we become 'adventurous' by stepping out late, walking on secluded streets or daring to step into the general compartment of the Metro. So, we're always cautious. We have grown up with warnings, lessons, and guidelines to surviving the city - go out only if a guy drops you home, go to a place where there are other people around, don't dress to 'provocatively', etc etc. But was the girl who was gangraped in the South Delhi bus alone? No, she was with a male friend. Were they in a deserted area? Hell, no - they were picked up at a busy Munirka bus stop, and were driven all around South Delhi while the men had their fun.

Every time such an 'unfortunate incident' (in politician-speak) happens, all these 'tips' are proven grossly wrong, all the myths for surviving Delhi are busted. DT spoke to Delhi women who are still looking for a way to feel safe after doing everything that is told to them, so that they are not 'asking for it' when they are harassed or raped. Here's some rape-related mythbusting:

Myth no. 1: Have a male friend accompany you
Learn from the Munirka case. Whether it's your brother, boyfriend or even your husband, come to terms with the fact that none of them will be able to scare off goons, say Delhi's girls.

"My boyfriend and I were out for dinner on a Saturday night, at a mall near my house in Rajouri Garden. We left around 10pm, and were on the main road looking for an auto. A car with three guys stopped in front of us. The boys looked much younger than my boyfriend, who is tall and well built, but that didn't scare them. They had the guts to open the door in front of me, shouting for me to get in, while my boyfriend tried to tell them to leave us alone. Thankfully, the red light behind us changed, and the traffic forced them to move on."
- Kaveri Sinha (name changed), 26, marketing consultant

"I was driving to Pacific Mall with my elder brother sitting next to me. There was a queue of cars to enter the mall, and while we were waiting, two guys on bikes cut the queue and asked me to move my car to make way. My window was rolled down and maine ishare mein bola, bhai jagah nahi hai. The pillion rider put his head in my car, I screamed, my brother put his hand on his face, pushed him out, but even then, those two a******s just stood in front of the car laughing. As soon as my brother got out, they escaped on their bikes. My brother couldn't do anything about it because it was pointless."
- Harleen Kaur, 23, MBA student

Myth no. 2: Don't step out late
Two years ago, Sheila Dixit said girls shouldn't be "adventurous" and step out late at night, inviting trouble. But how early is 'late' becoming?

"On my 25th birthday, my friends and I met near our office in Gurgaon post work, around 7 pm. I didn't even think about the safety angle because 7pm should be safe, even in Gurgaon. I was obviously wrong. We were crossing the road from one mall to another on MG Road, and these guys on two bikes drove by us real close, and one of them pulled my friend's dupatta and took it with him. It all happened so fast that we couldn't even react."
- Mitali Sharma, 25, software engineer

Myth no. 3: always Be in a big group
"We were five girls and had gone for dinner to a Saket mall. When we stepped into the underground parking lot, there was a car full of shady looking guys - tinted glasses, loud music, the classic definition of scary. We got into our car quickly, locked the doors and windows and once we exited, we thought we were OK. But when we got to the main road, we realized the car was following us, and it stopped right next to us at the red light. We were so freaked out that I drove towards the police chowki near the Press Enclave road. Thankfully, the guys saw that and turned away."
- Tamanna Khanna, 24, HR consultant

Myth no. 4: Crowded places are safe zones
"I was coming back from my coaching classes in Satya Niketan, and was walking towards the main South Campus bus stop, or the Radhika murder bus stop, if you want to call it that. Nothing has changed. It's always crowded. Walking on that busy road too, guys in cars have blown kisses at us, tried to pull my bag and screamed all sorts of cheap crap. Moms kehti hain na, akele raaste mein mat chala karo, bheedh honi chahiye? Kya karte hain yeh log yaar? Once you have been harassed, you just feel worse that there were people all around, who did nothing, and just stood staring at you."
- Shreya Saxena, 20, DU student

Myth no. 5: Cover up
"Even if I have to wear a dress to a party, I wear leggings and use a stole to cover my sleeves and neck, keeping in mind the preachy 'don't-wear-clothes-that-attract-attention' nonsense. But in a city like ours, that doesn't help. As soon as you're on the roads, you're public property no matter what you're wearing. Two guys on a bike came from behind and hit me on my completely covered up a** when I was walking towards the Metro station."
- Sonali Tripathi, 22, Law student

By Aanchal Tuli, TNN