BENGALURU: More than 90 per cent of women in Bengaluru 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, released at Mount Carmel College, categorised age groups of 15-18, 18-25, 25-30, and 35 and above.
Over 86 per cent women said they feel unsafe commuting by public transport, especially if they are alone. More than eight 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 is a bigger issue than empowering her with education and other enablers, the report said. This percentage is a little less among boys, where seven out of every 10 persons shared this concern.
Approaching the police is also not a favoured option — nine 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 male and female (almost seven out of 10 girls/women and six out of 10 boys/men) felt that girls generally do not know about helplines such as the childline.
Fewer males (four out of five) as compared to females (around nine out of 10) felt that girls are harassed on social media. “This is in conjunction with the other public spaces such as 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), said “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, and not going to the police station. If mobile squads comprising women are stationed in public places, more will come forward to report harassment, and that should act as a deterrent.”