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One in three adolescent girls in India fear harassment daily: Study

NEW DELHI

One out of three adolescent girls in India fear harassment in public spaces on a daily basis, according to a study released here on Tuesday.

Also, one out of five feel they are at risk of physical assault, including rape, revealed the study titled “WINGS 2018: World of India’s Girls – A study on the perception of girls’ safety in public spaces”.

The study was conducted to find out how girls who venture out in public places fear sexual harassment/assault, including inappropriate touch, stalking and lewd comments.

The study interacted with more than 4,000 adolescent girls and boys in India, as well as 800 parents of adolescent girls in 30 cities and 84 villages in 12 districts of the National Capital Region-Delhi, Maharashtra, Telangana, West Bengal, Assam and Madhya Pradesh.

“More than two thirds of adolescent girls in urban and rural areas said they will confide in their mothers in case of harassment in public space,” the study said.

The study said nearly two of the five girls said that if their parents found out about their harassment, they would restrict their movement outside home.

The report also recommended steps to improve public safety for girls.

“These include improved policing, greater representation of women in police, improved lighting in public spaces, greater development of community support mechanisms like self-help groups, children’s groups and mothers’ groups.”

It also suggested mandatory training in gender sensitivity for all public transport drivers, including those of Uber and Ola, and greater resourcing at the political level for girls’ safety.

The findings reveal the danger and fear faced by millions of Indian girls every day when they venture out of their homes, and the harmful impact this can have on their self-confidence and ability to move around freely, “Save the Children in India” CEO Bidisha Pillai said.

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