Despite her repeated pleas to shopkeepers and security staff, Abhilasha DasAdhikari’s request for a private space to breastfeed her child was denied at South City Mall in Kolkata.
Disappointed with the Mall’s facilities, Abhilasha DasAdhikari wrote a short review on the mall’s Facebook page two days later. She shared her ordeal but it was the reply that left her shocked and numb.
Rather than apologizing or updating their facilities, the South City Mall told her to plan her baby’s feeding arrangements properly and that she should “do her home chores at home and not at a mall“.
The FB posts that contain the young mom’s feedback and response from one of the city’s biggest mall has gone viral. It has brought back focus on how the social places lack the facilities to cater to the urgent need of breastfeeding.
To which Mall posted the following disgusted reply:
As per Abhilasha’s conversation with TOI, she shared that when she couldn’t locate the “changing room” near the washrooms, the janitor posted near the ladies’ washroom said there was no such facility and asked her to use women’s toilet to feed her daughter.
She further shared with TOI:
“I entered the washroom but it was smelly and I could not feed her there. My baby was hungry and crying by then, and, in desperation, I tried to use the corridor bench but it was extremely uncomfortable. I then approached a few storekeepers but they refused. I approached a multiplex there twice, pleading with security the first time and its officials thereafter, but they wouldn’t help. Others on the scene were moved by my wailing baby but the mall staff was unmoved. It was then that I spotted an apparel store that didn’t have any customers at the time and approached the staff. They allowed me to use the trial room”.
The posts have also triggered a public outcry that has forced mall to issue an “unconditional apology”. But, the attempt to issue an “unconditional apology” was met with so much of anger that the mall management had to remove the feedback option from its Facebook page.
This apology drew sharp reactions from women and men across many cities in India. Some of them that caught our attention were:
After the online criticism, the authorities spurred into action and by yesterday, the changing rooms in the mall were operational.
But it brings back the question of when would our society stop seeing breastfeeding as a house chore or an embarrassing act. It is one of the most important activities for human race survival. Then how can our society penalize women for such a critical act?
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