Indian women face daily sexual harassment

2013-01-21 12:51
Female commuters board a women-only coach at a Delhi Metro train station (Prakash Singh, AFP)

Female commuters board a women-only coach at a Delhi Metro train station (Prakash Singh, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

Delhi Rape enrages Indians

2013-01-08 14:54

Indian gurus' opinions on the murder and gang rape of a 23-year-old student in Delhi have been met with disdain. Watch.WATCH

kalahari.com

New Delhi - On a wintry evening in Delhi, beautician Geeta Misarvan leaves work, steeling herself for a long wait until a bus arrives and with it the dreaded prospect of being groped by strangers during the ride home.

"Once a guy sees you travelling alone, he will come and stand right behind you. Then, he will lean in and press his body against yours and try to touch you," Misarvan said, describing an ordeal endured daily by many women in urban India.

In Delhi's crowded coaches, where men easily outnumber women, the sense of hostility and fear is particularly palpable in the wake of the widely-discussed gang-rape and murder of a young student on a moving bus in the city last month.

"It's terrifying," Misarvan told AFP. "Sometimes I just lose it and ask the guy to stand properly but then he just yells at you, telling you to shut up.

"It's upsetting, but what more can I do? If the guy gets even more aggressive or violent, no one on that bus is going to help me... so I just put up with it and wait for my bus stop," she said.

Once 34-year-old Misarvan steps off the bus, she hunts for an auto-rickshaw, three-wheeled vehicles which are cheaper than taxis, since it's too dark and unsafe to make the 35-minute walk alone to her house.

On most evenings it takes her 90 minutes to arrive home from work.

India's expanding economy has seen unprecedented numbers of women join the workforce, but their emergence has been accompanied by growing threats to their security.

Like many working women, Poonam, a 21-year-old barista at an upmarket coffee shop in the capital, often stays late serving customers and says her parents fret nonstop about her comings and goings, calling her every night.

"I try to get an auto-rickshaw (home) because it's safer but the drivers haggle for double pay and I can't always afford it. So I end up waiting late at night for the bus, which never arrives on time," she told AFP.

Once on board, Poonam, who declined to give her surname, says that sexual harassment is a constant risk.

"There's nothing you can do about it, if you tell your family, chances are they will just tell you to stay home," she said.

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that economic progress is impossible without the "active participation" of women, but there are signs that the Delhi gang-rape case has led some to turn their backs on the workplace.

A survey by industry group Assocham published this month showed a 40% fall in the productivity of female employees at call centres and IT firms in the country because many had reduced their hours or had quit their jobs.

Insensitive comments from politicians implying women are to blame for sexual assaults and clumsy "safety tips" from police have only fuelled anger among commuters.

A Delhi Police advisory posted on its official website suggests that women should "turn off" prospective attackers by vomiting or "acting crazy".

Delhi gang-rape

Just days after the December 16 gang-rape, KP Raghuvanshi, a senior police officer in Mumbai told female college students to carry a packet of chilli powder with them always and use it when threatened, the Press Trust of India reported.

While trains in Mumbai and Delhi run segregated women-only coaches in response to the high incidence of sexual harassment, many have now called for more vigilance by authorities and frequent police checks.

Police and prosecutors have outlined how the student and her male companion struggled to find transport to go home and so agreed to climb aboard the bus driven by the rapists.

The group allegedly beat up the man and repeatedly raped and assaulted the victim with a rusting metal bar in the back of the bus while driving around Delhi for about 45 minutes. Five adults were due to go on trial on Monday on charges of rape and murder in connection with the attack.

Since the attack, beautician Misarvan, who often boarded similar privately-run buses to visit her widowed mother in west Delhi, says she is too afraid to keep doing so and now spends more to take an auto-rickshaw instead.

Like her other female colleagues, she tries to leave work as early as possible and expresses no faith in the Indian police's ability to protect her.

"Nowhere in this country is safe," says the mother of two, the first woman in her family to have a job.

"I worry a lot about my daughter growing up here, whether she will have to endure the same problems, the same risks that I deal with every time I leave my house," she added.

- SAPA
Read more on:    india  |  india bus rape
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

3 must-do trail runs

If you love trail running, you have to put these on your bucket list.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route
Watch: Insane road bike skills!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

One day only! – 40% off Appliances!

Get 40% off 100’s of appliances at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may prefer to be in charge because then you can call the shots. You are not as flexible as you like to make out to be and you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.