Friday, November 13, 2009

In the news: 96% women feel unsafe in Delhi

The results of a survey carried out by Centre for Equity and Inclusion (Cequin), in association with the Centre for Media Studies (CMS) reconfirm the opinion many have, that Delhi is an unsafe city for women. We will look to find recent data for the other metros as well. I wonder, for instance, what a similar study would reveal about Chennai: personally, I feel very safe in some spaces and very unsafe in others, irrespective of the time of the day or night.

96 percent women feel unsafe in Delhi: Survey

Updated on Friday, November 13, 2009, 18:43 IST

New Delhi: Nearly 96 percent women do not feel safe in the national capital, especially so in the popular markets of Chandni Chowk, Connaught Place and Karol Bagh and in the buses, according to a survey.

The survey was conducted by the Centre for Equity and Inclusion (Cequin) in association with the Centre for Media Studies (CMS).

"Almost 96 percent of the women in Delhi believe that women are not very safe in the city and 44 percent of the abused respondents chose to remain silent after the incident," said Lora Prabhu, director and co-founder of Cequin.

"While sexual harassment in public places in Delhi is a common phenomenon, it is not dependent on the economic status of the individual," she added.

The report is based on the responses of 630 women in the age group 12-55 living in New Delhi and Old Delhi across the major socio-economic strata.

Sixty percent women feel that girls under 10 are most vulnerable to sexual harassment, according to the survey, and nearly 82 percent women feel that public buses are the most unsafe mode of transport in the national capital.

The survey also reveals that 88 percent women feel that when a woman is harassed in a public place she rarely gets help from bystanders.

And most women do not feel they can trust the police. Only 19 percent feel that the victims should report to the police.

"While there is always the provision of using the existing IPC (Indian Penal Code) sections like 375, 354 and 509 to deal with heinous crimes like rape, physical molestation and eve-teasing, it is the implementation of these laws which constitutes the major problem," said Sara Pilot, Cequin's chairperson.

"A large number of these incidents happen because of the flawed concept of masculinity giving rise to deviant male behaviour," Pilot added.

One of the key findings of the survey was that the level of awareness among the respondents on existing laws and support mechanisms is very low.

According to the findings, "harassment in public spaces has a hugely negative impact on women's mobility and access".

The survey is a part of Cequin's bigger initiative to sensitise Delhiites towards the problem.

"The Delhi Daredevils team is supporting the initiative," said cricketer Virender Sehwag.

"We are aiming at a public campaign which would include public advertisements on radio, television, posters, hoardings. The campaign would target young men and boys and effect a mindset change through sensitisation and deconstruction of stereotype images," Pilot added.

"This will encourage men and boys to respect women, and be proactive in shunning all violence against women," she said.


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