Mumbai: India’s richest girls and young women, aged 11 to 18, felt the least safe among all income groups in public spaces, according to a new report that explored safety perceptions among adolescent girls. According to the new study titled ‘Wings 2018: World Of India’s Girls’, across urban (47 %) and rural (40%) areas, young girls felt more susceptible to molestation or abuse while using public transport.
- Conducted in six states: Assam, Delhi-NCR, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and West Bengal.
- Surveyed across 30 cities and 84 villages in 12 districts.
- The sample included 3,128 adolescent girls, 1,141 young men (aged 15-18), 248 young women (aged 19-22) forced to marry early, and 842 parents of adolescent girls.
- The selected states performed worst on: child sex ratio; incidence of crime against women; early marriage; spousal violence against women; and working women.
Abuse while using public transport
- 47% young girls across urban areas reported feeling more susceptible to molestation or abuse while using public transport
- 40% Young girls across rural areas reported feeling more susceptible to molestation or abuse while using public transport
- This finding was particularly true for girls from higher income groups –53%
Why greater fear among girls of higher income groups: These girls lead a cocooned life without required level of resilience & so feel more threatened.
Small town girls feel more insecure
- 51% Girls from medium and small towns reported feeling unsafe than those in large cities.
- 44% Girls from large cities said that they feel unsafe.
- 42% Girls from small villages said that they feel unsafe.
- 39% Girls from large villages said that they feel unsafe.
Other Most unsafe places
- Public transportation.
- Narrow roads leading to the school.
- Local markets or private tuition.
- Cinema hall.
- 28% Young women from large cities said they felt unsafe in cinema halls.
- Reason: These girls fear that their complaints may go unheard in a place occupied by the relatively better-placed class wise and caste-wise.
Less than half of girls play in parks
- 20% Girls from urban areas felt they could safely play in a public park or go for a morning walk
- 41% Young girls from urban India perceived a higher risk of molestation in crowded public places.
- 42% Here too, young women from higher and middle-economic classes reported a higher perception of risk.
Trust deficit over policing & judiciary
Mother: Most reliable person to report molestation besides father, close friends and peers.
Teachers and police: Reported as the least reliable persons to report molestation besides siblings.
- ‘Most of them were against going to the police because the police were considered insensitive. The process involves a lot of time and resources and damages the reputation of the girl.
- The second-most reported reason for not confiding in their families was fear of retribution.
- 49% Urban girls avoided confiding in families because they feared restrictions.
- 36% Rural girls felt the same.
- 44% Urban adolescent girls and 38% rural girls felt they would be scolded for letting’ themselves be harassed.
- 50% Or more parents agreed that they would ‘probably end up scolding their daughters’ for ‘letting’ sexual harassment occur.
- 42% Parents admitted they were likely to regulate their daughters’ movement in public spaces thereafter.