GUWAHATI, June 17 - A latest survey conducted by Save the Children, an international NGO, in 12 districts of six States including Assam, has found that one in three adolescent girls feels unsafe and fears sexual violence while making her way to schools, markets and availing public transport.
The report titled World of India’s Girls 2018 – a study on girls’ safety in public spaces – was released recently by Social Welfare Minister Pramila Rani Brahma in Guwahati.
The report said one in every four adolescent girls perceived the threat of being physically assaulted, including getting raped, while venturing into public spaces, while one in three feared being inappropriately touched or even stalked.
“One in three adolescent boys, who were interviewed during the study, felt that girls should avoid ‘wearing certain types’ of clothes while going out in public spaces,” stated the report highlighting the taboo in society.
During the study, a total of 5,359 respondents including 3,128 adolescent girls (11-18 years), 1,141 adolescent boys (15-18 years), 248 young married women and 842 parents of adolescent girls were interviewed in Darrang and Hailakandi districts of Assam.
The other districts include Malda and Bankura in West Bengal, Khammam and Nalgonda in Telangana, Yavatmal and Bid in Maharashtra, Shadol and Bhind in Madhya Pradesh and Sonipat and Alawar in the National Capital Region (excluding Delhi).
The report also threw light on the below-par civic amenities, highlighting that “60 per cent of adolescent girls admitted to feeling unsafe in streets or other public spaces with inadequate lights”.
Limited family support for adolescent girls, absence of bystander support, inadequate support from police and lack of awareness on childline helpline numbers are some of the other reasons cited by the respondents that made them feel unsafe in public spaces.
During the survey, one in five parents confided that safety concerns for girls was leading them to get their daughters married early (child marriage).
Save the Children initiated WINGS 2018: World of India’s Girls: A study on the perception of girls’ safety in public spaces in 2017. This report aims to explore and understand how the perceptions of girls’ safety (or the lack of it) act as a barrier to these young girls accessing their basic rights and living productive lives.