“Women in the national capital feel unsafe in many public spaces, and at all times of the day and night,” the survey says.
Public transport, buses and roadsides are reported as spaces where women and girls face high levels of sexual harassment.
Most women who were 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 report says the most common forms of harassment are “verbal (passing lewd comments), visual (staring and leering) and physical (touching or groping or leaning over)”.
Women of all classes have to put up with harassment in their daily lives, but students between 15 and 19 years old and women employed in the informal sector are specially vulnerable, the survey says.
The findings come from a “Safe Cities Baseline Survey” of more than 5,000 people who were interviewed during Jan – March of this year, and the survey was commissioned by the NGO Jagori/Safe Delhi, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, and UN Habitat.
The report findings are unsurprising since a study conducted last fall showed that 96 percent of women surveyed in Delhi are afraid to be in public alone because of the high rates of harassment and risk of assault (view a newsclip about the study).
Also, another survey of women in Delhi from earlier this year tracked their experiences in specific areas of the city and found that 1/3 of the women faced verbal harassment and half of the women felt unsafe there. Several recommendations came out of that survey, including traffic monitoring.
Like most big cities, men’s harassment of women in public places is clearly a huge problem and one that impedes women’s mobility and equality with men. Thankfully, groups like the UN and Jagori/Safe Delhi are addressing this reality.
In addition to surveying people and writing reports, Jagori/Safe Delhi is doing great ground work to make the city safer for women.
- In June they held trainings on sexual harassment for bus authorities, who are now training the bus driver staff.
- They’re holding trainings for women about safety measures in August.
- They’re co-hosting the Third International Conference on Women’s Safety: Building Inclusive Cities, November 22 – 24, 2010 in New Delhi.
Also, check out some of their humorous anti-sexual harassment PSAs on YouTube.