Back in my Women’s Studies undergrad, I remember reading about a group of women who formed an alliance in India to fight sex offenders on gender divided trains. I guess at the time there had been a lot of men breaking into the women’s cars and engaging in acts of sexual violence. Not only did these women form a group, but they armed themselves with bats and when the men would break in, they would beat the crap out of them! Aight.
Following in this tradition, the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India just created the first the Tamil Nadu Special Forces Fifth Battalion: the world’s first all-female battalion.
Ms. Magazine reports:
Tamil Nadu has always been progressive regarding women, electing the first female chief minister (a state chief minister holds the power of a U.S. state governor). It boasts the first women’s university, first women’s engineering college, first female-staffed police station, first all-female police commando company, and now the first women’s special-forces police battalion.
Historically, women were allowed in police forces, but they were usually relegated to administrative positions. India’s first elected female chief minister, J. Jayalalitha believes that if 1/2 the population is women, then perhaps the police force should not only be representative of that, but sensitive to the needs of crimes against women. Prior to the creation of women’s battalion, Jayalalitha had created the All Women’s Police Station (AWPS), which were staffed by about 15 women, trained in crimes against women.
AWPS has been extremely successful.
Today, there are 188 AWPS, one in each Tamil Nadu district, along with two toll-free help lines — Woman in Distress and Child in Distress — through which anonymous complaints are pursued at the same priority level as regular complaints. The result: a 23 percent increase in reporting of crimes against women and children — and a higher conviction rate. Several other states have started pilot AWPS.
Finally, Kalpana Nayak, battalion commandant says, that “policewomen are equally motivated and fit to be on a par with their male counterparts. Before this program, the male-female ratio was 42 to one; it’s now 12 to one [85,000 men, 7,000 women], the highest in India.”
Following a historical legacy of warrior women in India, this is pretty rad. I definately support large groups of women trained to defend the needs of other women.
All female battalions in India tackle crimes against women
By Samhita | Published: March 31, 2005
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