Emerging Leaders: Sanaya Patel


Safecity is celebrating the journey of people who have emerged as leaders as our campaigns progressed in their communities through our blog series “Safecity Emerging Leaders“. Read the inspiring stories of these individuals who are passionate about making their neighbourhoods safer with Safecity and have taken action in their own special ways.

Sanaya Patel is a student at Government Law College, Mumbai. She is passionate about art, the environment, problem solving, human rights, and western classical music. Sanaya is a volunteer at Safecity because she believes in an India where women are respected and treated as equal citizens.

                                          Safecity Emerging Leader : Sanaya Patel

I am a law student from Bombay. I joined Safecity because I was intrigued by what the organisation does — crowd-sourcing experiences to create a map with visual data is an evidence-based approach to sexual harassment in public spaces. I work with the Policy and Legal team to review the law related to gender equality and sexual harassment in India.

I worked on the Legal Resources on Safecity’s website, compiling and editing the laws related to sexual harassment in the domestic, professional, and education sphere, to make it readable and accessible. This made me realise that there are several protective, institutional mechanisms in place to check violence and provide punishment to offenders, but the implementation is grossly neglected at every level — from the Internal Complaints Committees at colleges, to judicial and executive officers dealing with these cases.

We also began a monthly series, Gender Equality Watch, to track the significant developments within the courts in India, with respect to sexual harassment, free agency of women, and equality for all genders. The courts of India do not have a uniform approach when it comes to equality and autonomy of women. It is important for judicial decisions to be more accessible and more open to scrutiny, which is our aim with the blog.

Along with my team, I co-authored Safecity’s submission to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on existing laws and best practices related to protection against online harassment. This involved a review of Indian penal provisions, and their application to online abuse. We have also drafted the privacy policy and terms and conditions for the Safecity App which allows people to report and access information to deal with sexual violence.

I work with a bunch of women who are examples of performative feminism, of compassion, and intelligence. My experience with Safecity has been a journey inward. Our work nudges me to understand the ways in which society has shaped my life. I am only beginning to realise what it means to be a woman in a very patriarchal India/ world. Safecity has encouraged me to speak up. I am taking steps to unlearn the ‘norms’ of society with respect to my interactions with others, my perception of my own body, and what it means to be a woman and a feminist.


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