NEW DELHI: A study on bystander behaviour has revealed that 38.5 per cent of them didn't intervene during violence in public spaces because they did not know what to do.
According to the study -- 'Decoding Bystander Behaviour: Actions to Address Violence Against Women' -- 78.4 per cent of the respondents said that they had faced violence in public spaces.
The study by Breakthrough with support from Uber India and IKEA Foundation was conducted in Jharkhand (Hazaribagh district), Bihar (Gaya district), Haryana (Jhajjar district), Delhi, Maharashtra (Mumbai), Telangana (Hyderabad) and Kolkata, covering over 721 respondents through digital survey and 91 in-depth interviews.
Most participants, particularly women, identified violence as a broad term, consisting of physical, mental, verbal, and sexual abuse.
The study also highlighted how patriarchal practices were culturally embedded in society and its correlation between deteriorating mental health and everyday misogyny and patriarchy.
The study found that 54.6 per cent of the respondents said that they have intervened in an incident of violence against women in a public space, while 55.3 per cent respondents observed the discomfort of woman/girl facing violence.
Around 67.7 per cent respondents said that their intervention resulted in the violence stopping.
People who intervened to stop the violence did so in a variety of ways which included swapping seats with the survivors/victims, giving one's mobile number to connect later, taking the survivor for medical help.
Respondents also said they helped by physically escorting someone home when she is being harassed.
The study also found 45.4 per cent of the respondents said that they have not intervened in an incident of violence against women.
Over 38 per cent respondents said that they did not intervene because they did not know what to do.
Around 31 per cent of them said that they were worried about their own safety, and about 11.5 per cent of them felt that they would be dragged into police/legal matters if they intervened.
"For us, promoting positive bystander action to address violence against women has been a consistent focus area.
Breakthrough's intent in undertaking such campaigns is to move the general public from identifying violence against women and girls as a personal issue to identifying violence against women and girls as a shared community issue, a shared responsibility, requiring community action," said Sohini Bhattacharya, President & CEO, Breakthrough.