For Raman Garimella, the answer to women’s safety issues is not taking part in candlelight vigils or airing views about the injustice faced by the women, but arming them with pepper spray. This solution, he believes, will change the way men think about women. To this end, Raman is supplying pepper spray for free to one and all who cares to contact him. His Facebook status reads, “Pervs aren’t going to stop as long as consequences are not scary enough. What does scare men is the idea of being pepper sprayed their heads off. Ladies, if you are in Hyderabad and need it, message me for a free bottle of pepper spray and a whistle.”
After this, he has had many a woman knocking on his door for a can of pepper spray. “I used to give pepper spray to my sister and friends but after the Delhi incident, I decided to give away these cans to women who needed them. I think that every woman should carry one. They are not heavy and it can ward off a man for at least 20 minutes. I was surprised to see the impact the status created after I put that up on Facebook. I got many calls from girls who wanted these sprays. And some of my male friends too got pepper sprays for their sisters and relatives as New Year gifts,” he said. An engineer by qualification, Raman had given up his work to pursue his dream of becoming a professional cyclist. As this new profession he has chosen doesn’t bring him money yet, he has two part-time jobs that keep him going.
“Only about 15 to 20 girls asked for free pepper spray bottles. The rest asked me how they can get one for themselves. However, I am ready to give away free bottles to anyone who comes forward and asks me,” he added. He says through this, he doesn’t intend to start a campaign or a movement but wishes to do his bit for society and thus safeguard at least a few girls’ lives. “I am not here to give advice to men or women. I just want to do my bit so that if caught in such a situation, women can stand up for themselves and protect their lives rather than depending on someone else,” he said.