A spate of rape related stories like recent rape case in the middle of road in Delhi, and a series of rape cases of women in Mumbai in their homes, are all pointing towards the abysmal security we have in India for people in general and women in particular.
Police is no where to be found, and the moment a woman is found alone she is completely helpless against any aggression by men. No one can dispute that if one complains to police about crime in progress in India, the time it takes for police to show up and stop the crime is measured in hours and days if not weeks. Police has failed us.
Our courts have huge pendency, rape cases take forever to lead to conviction, so the punishment as a deterrence to crime is not working. Till 2000 the average time for a rape case was above 7 years before it can be closed. In most cases the guilty walks free because of loss of evidence with time and loss of interest of potential witnesses due to delays. Courts have failed us too.
Overall the society too takes a very backwards view on this issue, try to blame women for their dressing style, the way people walk and so on. Some elements in our society, the moral police, want women to lose their right for the "privilege" of security. We are a free country. Women must be allowed to do what they chose to within the limits of law, and it is societies responsibility to provide protection not moral lessons. Society is full of people who really believe "she goes to nightclubs or she wears jeans, she deserved it". Society has failed us too.
The lack of security, the environment in which women feel unsafe stepping out of the house not only affects freedom of women, it also affects their ability be self sufficient, to support a family, to live an independent life. Work requires us to travel, and if we can not travel because it is unsafe, we can not work at all. Many husbands can demand or request their wives to not work as it is unsafe. Families can not let their daughters to travel in unsafe areas and times, even at the expense on their education. Even people who are not getting raped are victims of rape, entire generations are being denied access to education, job opportunities because of this.
If the problem starts with people not taking things in their own hands, then problem ends too by other people taking things in their hands.
Tasers or stun guns are one of the best defense against rape. Unlike guns it does not require training or license to own it (for the models that do not taser from a distance). Unlike guns they are cheaply available.
One shot of the stun gun can immobilize an aggressor for 20-30 minutes rendering him completely helpless for that duration, without any long term impact on his well being, so it can be really used in a shoot first and ask questions later fashion without any real drawbacks.
Women must own it, at least in statistically sufficient number that a potential aggressor takes this into consideration before attacking someone. One can keep it handy when opening doors to strangers, or in purse when traveling in late hours or secluded areas.
With this a woman can intervene, not just when she is attacked, but also when she senses someone else is under threat.
A stun gun may not provide much protection when attacked by a gang, but it provides plenty of protection against one or two perpetrators.
It is not just about personal safety, it is a responsibility of women to do something to empower women. Even if one is not personally in threat, by spreading awareness about it, showing it to potential victims, educating them about it is also women's responsibility. Safety is a necessity for true freedom.
Police, judiciary and society is not coming to protect you. Women must protect themselves and help empower each others. In order for achieving equality with men, women must be dangerous too. They must be in a position to inflict severe damage to others if they chose to, to level the field. If men are trusted to not be rapist all of them, then women must be trusted that they wont all be misusing the tasers. If only those men who rape deserve punishment the only those women who actually misuse tasers deserver punishment. We do not take way penis of all men to make sure they never rape, similarly society can not take away tasers from women just so that they can not harm anyone.
Would Private Establishments Allow Stun-Guns?
A very interesting question was raise by @ayenaz. If malls, theaters, discs, shops, schools, etc, where they routinely inspect a person's belonging at entrance and do not allow "dangerous" things, if they do not allow stun guns, then women will be forced to not carry it when going to school, malls, theaters, etc. This might constitute majority of reasons for stepping out and women would be rendered helpless to either not go those places or not carry stun gun.
It is therefore an urgent duty for stronger women of society to demand they be allowed entry in all those places with stun gun. Strong women, more educated, well to do, well connected etc, probably face lesser risk of rape, yet they must carry stun guns in larger numbers so as to make it easy for other less fortunate women.
Airport faces a similar problem, but stun gun can be stored in check-in luggage before checking it in, and recovered when stepping out, so it is not a real problem.
In this regard, surprisingly, only private establishments would be a problem and not government. And private establishments we can hurt with our pocket. If some do not allow stun guns, then we must publish this fact and encourage all of our friends to not pay them any money.
If a woman is traveling alone in auto-rickshaw, bus or a train, police can not come for their protection if attacked. There is no other solution other than giving strength to women to defend themselves. Regular guns are difficult to obtain, maintain, use in time of threat, and keep safe, where as stun guns do not suffer from any of these drawbacks. Stun gun victims are only temporarily immobilized, it only takes away their capability to harm others.
It is the societies responsibility to give access to as many stun guns as required, and then some more. It is your and mine responsibility.
How to obtain Stun Gun
A quick search will reveal a lot more.
DISCLAIMER: I have no financial ties with any of these guys.