India: “Safe City Free of Violence Against Women and Girls” Full Report Published
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 2:35 PM

The “Safe City Free of Violence Against Women and Girls” report is now available online in its entirety. 

As noted in the preliminary findings, this survey was created by New Concept Information Systems along with five other organizations, including the Department of Women and Child Development, the Government of Delhi, JAGORI, UNIFEM South Asia Regional Office, and UN Habitat. Departing from the “truism” that women suffer a widespread feeling of danger in Delhi, this report explains the sources of the fears of women and proposes measures to create “greater safety and inclusion for women in public spaces around the city.” Specifically, it compiles information on five points: the forms of violence perpetrated against women in Delhi, the locations where these abuses happen, the methods women employ to guard themselves from harassment, how the government protects women’s rights, and the perception and attitude of society towards violence against women. 

The online report finds that verbal harassment is the main form of violence against women. The pervasiveness of sexual harassment occurring publicly is also highlighted by the report, as it explains that 84.9% of incidents happen in market places, followed by 83% at metro stations, and 82.4% in areas surrounding academic institutions. School and college students constitute the most vulnerable populations, with 87% and 86% of students being victims of verbal harassment. They also face the highest rates of visual harassment (staring and leering) (73% among school and 75% among college students). Physical harassment is highest among school students (41%), while stalking is highest among college students (51%). This report notes that the factors that contribute to women’s feeling of danger are “lack of gender friendly and proper, functional infrastructure […] and male behavior”. Specifically, in order of relevance according to women, some of the main factors to consider are crowded public transportation, men handling drugs or alcohol, lack of safe public toilets, and lack of a visible police presence.

Counteracting these factors and protecting themselves from the forms of harassment previously listed, women in Delhi respond to harassment by avoiding being outside after certain hours, dressing conservatively, avoiding specific areas of the city (whether public or secluded), and not walking alone after dark. Surprisingly, only 0.8% of women report incidents of harassment to the police. As a solution to the issue, women suggested installing undercover policemen, publicly shaming harassers, limiting public drinking, and introducing special buses and metros for women among other measures. The report concludes by recommending that the bus, lighting, and bathroom systems in Delhi be improved and that public places be used by the elderly and children too in order to prevent harassers from acting due to public shame.

Compiled from:  "Safe City Free of Violence Against Women and Girls" (26 April 2011), Jagori (2011),  WUNRN (2011).