In an online survey conducted by Save The Children, a global NGO based in Karnataka, some hard-hitting facts and opinions surfaced recently. Ninety per cent of respondents from Karnataka, who took part in a seven-state online survey, felt that girls feared sexual abuse the most in public places.

As many as 8,000 men and women, 2,966 of who were from the state, were interviewed on women’s safety. They divided the respondents into four age groups: 15-18, 18-25, 25-30 and 30-35 and above 35.

The Changemaker

On Wednesday, the NGO held the second edition of its campaign, Change Maker Series. The series is a dialogue on women’s safety and encouraging young change makers. It aims to bring together public figures, political leaders, and local communities who are role models in gender sensitisation in their sectors. The NGO released the nationwide survey report, World of India’s Girls (WINGS) 2018, in May. However,  the Karnataka specific figures were released in its report ‘The Issue of Safety of Girls in Karnataka’ at the event at Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru.

86.4% believe travelling alone unsafe

Ninety per cent respondents listed harassment, lewd comments and inappropriate touching among other forms of sexual abuse. 86.4% of female respondents felt women are unsafe while travelling alone in public transport in the state. Among the five age-group categories, Many women in the 18-25 age group admitted fear of travelling alone in public transport systems across the state. A huge number in age group of 15- 30 felt unsafe in public transport.

Women above 30 years were less afraid of using public transport. However, almost all women respondents in age group 30-35 feared sexual abuse in all forms in public spaces. 94.8% respondents felt women face abuse in some one form or are afraid of it in the public space. One in three women, surveyed in seven states, fears travelling in narrow bylanes of localities or roads leading to schools and markets.

Online harassment

About 92% women surveyed felt unprotected on social media platforms. Also, 83% men felt that women are harassed on social media. Sadly, the study revealed that eight among ten girls feared restrictions if their families discovered their harassment experiences. Seven out of ten are not aware of childlines or helplines in case of emergency. Shockingly, a large percentage of girls revealed their discomfort of not being able to report such incidents to police.

Save the Children’s ‘Changemaker Series’ aims to create awareness among youth of the country. They want people to acknowledge issues relating to women and child abuse by encouraging them to take a stand against issues which make the country unsafe.

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