A new study reveals the extent of daily harassment feared by girls in India in public spaces, including being subjected to lewd comments, inappropriate touching and other forms of sexual assault. This lack of safety in public spaces not only violates the girls’ right to security and mobility, but also leads to violation of rights provided to children in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
WINGS 2018, the report, which throws spotlight on the issue of safety of women and children, provides greater understanding of the factors that make girls feel unsafe & suggests recommendations to improve public safety for girls based on findings made during the research.
Wings 2018 (Maharashtra) has found that 38% girls are not safe especially in their familiar surroundings like Public Transport, Markets, cinema halls etc. This Maharashtra specific study interviewed 509 adolescent girls, 185 adolescent boys, 135 parents and 42 young women from Mumbai MC, Nanded MC, Ulhasnagar MC (large cities), and the smaller towns of Baramati and Lonavla. It was noticed that around 78% girls being shunned by society after harassment instead of the fear of being harassed. 85% parents also has the same feeling, that society will not accept their daughter and marriage will be impossible if found that the girl has been abused or harassed.
The study has come up with several measures to improve the situation of girls with suggestions like improved policing, greater representation of women in the police force, the installation of improved lighting in public spaces, greater development of community support mechanisms like self-help groups, children’s groups and mothers’ groups, mandatory gender training for all public transport drivers including cab and bus drivers, and greater resourcing at a political level for girls’ safety.
The sample was selected using nonprobability sampling technique on the basis of geographical location and required primary stakeholders.