Singapore is a city I have called home since 1996. A city which many argue is imperfect. But it is a city where girls can walk freely in their spaghetti tops and shorts any time of the day and night. I watched them this morning, striding with confidence in the streets, as they rightly should.
A few years ago, I had dinner with the Indian actress Shabana Azmi. When it ended close to midnight, I offered her a lift home in my car. She declined, saying it was "liberating" to take a taxi alone at midnight.
These are things I had forgotten.
• For six years, I took a cab at 1.45am to get to work at a television station, never once fearing that the taxi driver would do me harm.
• Most of my movie watching is done close to midnight and I love the stillness of the streets as I drive back home in the wee hours of the morning.
• In the country you and I hail from, and whose passport I still carry, there is so much that needs to be improved.
Amanat, you have made us pause and reflect on these things.
Deepika Shetty, Correspondent, Life! The Straits Times, Singapore (written the morning the gang-rape victim passed away in Singapore on 29 December 2012)
Most important is to make violence against women and girls socially unacceptable. For this there is need to change attitudes and behaviour at an early age.
To reduce disruptive influence that violence has on children's education we have to make schools harassment free places. Women also have to be empowered to develop the confidence to report cases of violence.
Samina Parvez Khalid, Ministry of Information, Islamabad, Pakistan
The Thai people largely respect women. Though there are a handful of stray pockets, especially in far flung islands where a woman has to be careful, safety in general has never been an issue. One can see sex workers, masseuse, tourists, transvestites freely walking without lewd comments being passed.
A relatively safe country where one's clothes, and it's varying lengths, seldom spell trouble.
Jaishree Balasubramanian, PTI Correspondent, Bangkok, Thailand
Taiwan is one of the safest places I have experienced. A deep-rooted Chinese culture, along with a financial independence have created an honest compassionate society that allows women to function freely without fear of traveling alone at any hour of the day or night.
Roma Mehta, Creative Designer,Taipei, Taiwan
Growing up in Hong Kong in the 1980s, we played freely on the streets as children. As adults, there has never been a time when we've had to look over our shoulder and worry for our safety.
Watching the news about the violence against women India has been a serious wake-up call. While it is encouraging to see the public rally to draw attention to the plight of women, perhaps what is most worrying is the systemic nature of the problem. To see the government take measures that go beyond the surface would be a first step in the right direction.
Payal Uttam, Freelance journalist, Hong Kong
I have lived in Edmonton for 20 years. I consider myself lucky to live in a country with a low crime rate, where safety of women is not a major issue. One, of course, needs to take the usual common sense precautions of avoiding trouble areas at night, like a few rowdy pubs and drug dealing areas, but on the whole, Edmonton is a safe city for both men and women. I am quite comfortable going out on my own at night, whether it is in the car or on public transit. Jyoti Kembhavi, Home Maker, Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Flashback: May 1976. I was a new bride, with a new husband, in a new city and in a new country. Returning from the movies ("Jaws") well after midnight - I saw a young girl walking alone. I distinctly remember commenting about the fact to my husband who replied that Montreal was a safe city - even for a young girl to walk home alone so late at night. Coming, as I recently had, from India where it was ingrained in us not to go out alone after dark, it made a huge impact on me! Fast-forward: February 2013. 37 years later, I was driving home around 1:30 a.m. and saw a young woman walking alone . I thought of that other young girl many years earlier and the thought crossed my mind that Montreal was still a comparatively safe city for women so many years later. Yet, this is also the city where on December 6, 1989 a 25-year old man, Mark Lepine, barged into a classroom at the Ecole Polytechnique of the University of Montreal, separated the female from the male students and after claiming that he was "fighting feminism" killed 14 of them, injured another 14 and then turned the gun on himself. It was later revealed that he had been physically abused by his father. Violence is a complex issue and the reasons for violence against women even more complex. A February 2013 report from the government agency Statistics Canada reveals that in a country of 35 million people, just over 173,600 women aged 15 and older were victims of violent crime in 2011 i.e. 0.5% . Rates of police-reported physical assaults against women, including common assaults and serious physical assaults, reportedly fell 5% between 2009 and 2011. There was also a drop in the rates of attempted murders against women over this same 3-year period.