On International Women’s Day, across the world, we are celebrating womanhood. But this is also a day to look at the state of affairs for women in India. What has changed on the ground in the last few years? And the data are staggering. According to a survey conducted by LocalCircles, a community social media platform, 29% of Indian women have faced molestation or sexual advances in public places and 9% of them have faced it multiple times.
The findings of the survey have been released on the occasion of International Women’s Day. LocalCircles claims that the survey received more than 24,000 responses from over 14,000 unique citizens located in 319 districts of India.
On the question “how common are molestation and sexual advances in public places (trains, buses, stations, crowded gatherings, etc.) in India,” 54% of respondents said they or the members of their family never experienced it, 9% of them said they or their family members have experienced it several times” and 20% of them said they or their family members have experienced it once or twice.
23% women face molestation on trains and at stations: Survey
In the next question, the women were asked where did they or their family members face molestation or sexual advancement? 23% of respondents said “train or railway station”, 17% said “local train or metro or metro station”, 20% said “public gathering”, 17% said “street”, 10% said “market”, 7% said “religious place” and 6% said “other locations”.
What is notable that the molesters on the running trains, railway stations, or such public places can be easily caught with stronger and better CCTV surveillance and alertness and cooperation of co-passengers.
Only 23% women file complaint or FIR: LocalCircles survey
In the last question, the women were asked if they or their family members approach the police after the incident of molestation? 23% of respondents said they “filed an FIR or police complaint”, 15% said “the police did not register it, neither did they take any action”. 3% of them said, “the police did not register an FIR or police complaint but the culprits were beaten up or harassed by the police”. Another 3% of the respondents said that “the public around them went after the molesters but no complaint or FIR was filed”. 18% said, “thrashed the culprits on the spot but did not file a complaint or an FIR”.
Measures required to make India safe for women:
The survey further says women are unsafe in public places in India due to the absence of fast-track court, inadequate investigation, lack of effective vigilance, police inability and even the patriarchal mindset of most Indian families. The way forward, according to LocalCircles, is an effective monitoring system, such as CCTVs in public places like trains, railway stations and bus stands so that the perpetrators fear the law and order before committing such heinous crimes.
There is also an urgent need to sensitise police forces at the ground level effectively and ensure that every district has at least one police station where a woman police constable or officer is available 24X7 to file a complaint.