Ninety-two out of 100 Delhi men in the 18-25-year age bracket say some or all of their friends have made passes at women at public places, while more than 78% women in the Capital have been sexually harassed in the past year, according to a survey done by Hindustan Times.
The response of more than half the 146 men surveyed shows why Delhi is called the rape capital of India with 661 incidents last year till December 15. They say women invite harassment because of the way they dress and behave. And 52% said it’s okay to pass comments on women, as long as one doesn’t touch them.
The survey, done by research agency MaRS exclusively for HT during the last week of 2012, covered 356 women — apart from the 146 men — who use public transport. No country for women?
An overwhelming majority of the respondents support the decision to set up fast-track courts to try rape cases. And asked about measures to stop sexual harassment, more than three-fourths of them say swifter punishment is the way forward.
A few of Delhi’s citizens, however, think that the problem lies with the male attitude, which must be changed. While 24% men support this view, only 19% women think so — a sign of women feeling that changing male attitudes is a near-impossible task.
The survey also brought out the attitudinal differences between men and women. While a majority of women disagree that the issue of sexual harassment is exaggerated, 65% of men thought that it is. But both sides agree that there is no silver bullet to solve the problem.
Meera Basu, a 29-year-old resident of south Delhi, said, “You can't just put the onus on women, asking them to dress in a certain way or learn self-defence.”
She said, “Short-term steps, such as more policing or removing tinted-glass windows from buses need to be combined with longer-term measures, such as improving the way cases are handled in our courts and gender-sensitising young men in schools and universities.”