Elise Zenck, Infromation Office of Akhshara, a women’s resource centre has said that “when the study was conducted, we did expect the sexual harassment incidents to be high but were quite shocked by the results,”.
“It’s the men who have perpetrated the myth Mumbai is safe for women,” she adds.
Ninety five per cent of women interviewed in a Hindustan Times-Akshara survey conducted by Cfore, a market research company, revealed they had experienced some kind of harassment or assault. Whether it is lewd comments, touching or violent attacks, 68 per cent of Mumbai’s women do nothing about it while 15 per cent seek the help of police and only four per cent file a complaint. And only seven per cent call up helplines, although Helpline 103 is available across Maharashtra for women as well as senior citizens and children in distress.
Even Akshara’s 2009 study on sexual harassment in colleges in Mumbai showed there was rampant harassment but young women were not reporting it.
Mumbai Police recorded only 473 incidents of outraging the modesty of a woman under section 354 of the Indian Penal Code and 137 cases of intended insults to the modesty of a woman under section 509 from January 1 to October 31, 2011.