BENGALURU: More than 90% of women in the city fear daily harassment, including lewd comments, inappropriate touch and other forms of sexual violations in public spaces, revealed an online survey by the NGO Save the Children. The survey of 2,967 men and women living in the city was released here at Mount Carmel College on Wednesday. Age groups in the survey were categorised in 15-18, 18-25, 25-30, and 35 and above.
Over 86% feel unsafe commuting by public transport, especially if they are alone. More than 8 out of every 10 female respondents said that a girl will be restricted by her family if they discover she was harassed, “creating barriers to her entitlements”, as safety of the girl (i.e., honour) is a bigger issue than empowering girls with education and other enablers, the report said. This percentage is a little less among boys/men, where 7 out of every 10 persons share this concern.
Approaching the police is also not a favoured option — 9 out of 10 female respondents said they would rather not. This sentiment is shared by male respondents as well. A large number of people, both males and females (almost seven out of 10 girls/women and six out of 10 boys/men) feel that girls generally do not know about helplines such as the Childline.
Fewer males (about 4 out of 5) as compared to females (around 9 out of 10) feel that girls are harassed on social media. “This is in conjunction with the other public space, i.e., public transport, considered for this survey. This could be because of boys/men being unaware of the situation of harassment girls/women have to face. This could also be because of the fact that boys/men choose to ignore or are unable to comprehend the full gamut of harassment,” it said.
Kala Krishnaswamy, DCP, Bangalore North-East said, “Considering the city’s concerns, all-women squads have been formed in various station limits to curb offences and create safe public spaces for women. After their success at Kempe Gowda bus station, squads will be stationed at more locations.”
Roopa D, IGP (Home Guards & Civil Defence), told TNIE, “I have experienced harassment when I used to travel by bus. A man flashed at me once. Women are molested so often that they think reporting it is a waste of time. Be it a school-going girl or an office-goer, they think about getting to school or work on time, so going to the police station is seen as a waste of time.”
“If mobile squads comprising women are stationed in public places, more will come forward to report harassment, and that should act as a deterrent,” she added.