A survey has revealed that one in three women live in paralysing fear of facing inappropriate touch, harassment, molestation or lewd comments in public spaces.

The survey was done in six regions of the country. It revealed that 24% women never report cases of sexual abuse as they fear their parents might restrict their movement. NGO, World of India’s Girls (WINGS), which conducted the survey, found that women don’t feel comfortable reporting about sexual crime to law-enforcing agencies.

Pankaja Munde, Minister for Women and Child Welfare, unveiled this report on May 29. She said, “There hasn’t been an increase in crimes against women, they have always existed. We only see it now because now the rate of conviction has increased. Police are recording more number of cases. People are asking for justice, that is a good thing.”

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She said that the ordinance passed recently of granting death penalty to rapists of children below 12 years of age will refrain predators from committing such crimes. “I’m not saying that girls should not wear this or that, not drink alcohol or go out with their boyfriends but they need to be aware and sensible. If you are going to an area where something can happen, you have to be careful. It may not be only rape or molestation, it could be even robbery or an accident.”

“Sometimes people climb up to the hilltop to take selfies. There is a 99 per cent possibility that they will slip and fall. In the same way, girls should avoid situations that may lead to harm. Don’t go on that cliff, that’s all we can tell our girls.” She also recommended introducing self-defence classes in schools as a compulsory activity. “Make cultural changes in the society, teach boys to look at women differently, then hopefully the situation will improve.”

“I’m not saying that girls should not wear this or that, not drink alcohol or go out with their boyfriends but they need to be aware and sensible. If you are going to an area where something can happen you have to be careful. It may not be only rape or molestation, it could be even robbery or an accident.”

One of the key findings of the survey is that 38 per cent girls do not feel safe even in their familiar surroundings like roads near their house, public transport, markets, cinema halls. The researchers interviewed 509 adolescent girls, 185 adolescent boys, 135 parents and 42 young women from Mumbai, Nanded, Ulhasnagar and the smaller towns of Baramati and Lonavla.

The report found that society ostracized 78% of girls after they faced any sort of harassment. It also reported that 85% parents don’t feel society will accept their daughters if they face harassment. They also feel these girls face difficulty in getting married.

Picture credit- Wikileaks-forum

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