In India, one rape every 40 mins: Study

A recent study of ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation (ASDF) reveals that around 92 per cent of working women in all major cities across the country feel insecure, especially at night.

The random sample survey covered mostly women working in key segments such as BPO/ITeS, hospitality, civil aviation, hospitals and garment units, among others.

The assessment based on feedback collected from working and non-working women further reveals that 92 per cent of the working population in small-scale firms are extremely worried about their safety outside their offices and nearly 56 per cent of such workforce in medium sector is apprehensive about their safety and security, particularly at night. The same fear of security lapses is felt by about 36 per cent working women engaged in large-scale firms.

The survey has more alarming facts. Across the country, once every 40 minutes, a woman is kidnapped and raped. Molestation happens once every 25 minutes on the city streets, reveals the study.

The survey further highlighted that two in every three women in the national capital have faced some form of sexual harassment over the past year two years.

Women in the Delhi-NCR felt unsafe in public spaces and at all times of the day and night. Public transport, buses and roadsides have been reported as spaces where women and girls face high levels of sexual harassment, the survey said.

A majority of women surveyed said buses were the most unsafe form of transport. Many said the Metro system, which used to be safer earlier, is now equally crowded and unsafe.

The survey reveals that the most common forms of harassment are verbal (passing lewd comments), visual (staring and leering) and physical (touching or groping or leaning over).

Around 92 per cent women respondents strongly feel that any crime against women should be a non-bailable offence with severe punishment to those convicted in fast-track courts.

According to ASSOCHAM officials, the survey covered women in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Dehradun and other cities. The responses of nearly 5,000 women in the age group of 18-45 years were taken. Almost 1,200 women were interviewed in Delhi and NCR regions alone.

Not surprisingly, the study revealed that Delhi topped the list with 92 per cent women respondents complaining that they felt unsafe. While 85 per cent women felt the same in Bangalore, 82 per cent felt unsafe in Kolkata. The figure stood at 18 per cent in Hyderabad.

Only 62 per cent of the respondents perceived better pay package to be a major attraction for working night shifts. Demand by nature of job was the major reason for working in night shifts among all the cities surveyed.

Some of the measures suggested by ASSOCHAM are making it mandatory to install Global Positioning System in cabs and public transport and imparting self-defence training to the women staff.

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