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HindustanTimes Fri,28 Nov 2014

A Capital punishment for women

Neelam Pandey and Faizan Haidar , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 09, 2013
First Published: 04:05 IST(9/9/2013) | Last Updated: 04:15 IST(9/9/2013)

When a woman demands security over freedom and everything else that she holds dear, just know you are in Delhi. And the problem is only growing, statistics show.

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Nearly 15 women in the national Capital face sexual assault (rape and molestation) every day.

Despite the outrage that broke out after the December 16 gang rape and the measures the government was forced to take thereafter, little has changed on the ground.

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In fact, cases of rape and molestation recorded a surge after the dastardly incident. 

According to a ‘perception survey’ published in the Delhi Human Development Report 2013, safety was the topmost concern for the city’s women while men rated it at the third place.

The report further pointed out only 23.3% felt that workplaces were safe for women.

The most unsafe place is public transport used by a majority of working women to commute daily.

 

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And if they are not safe in public, then there should be no prizes for guessing that isolated spots and poorly-lit stretches are some of the most unsafe places for women.

Poorly planned urban and public spaces, workplaces and even homes are not safe as is evident by police statistics that show that in many cases the rapists are known to their victims. 

“I don’t feel safe in the city at all. Women get molested every day and senior citizens are pushed around in crowded places. We need to identify these issues and try finding lasting solutions rather than wait for incidents such as the December 16 gang rape,” said Vasudha Agarwal, a resident of Jai Singh Road.

HT on Saturday had reported how a group of students from the UK, who were in the city to learn about Indian culture, had given a damning assessment of women safety in Delhi.

“Men would leer, comment and take our photos all the time,” said one of them.

For a city that prides itself on sprawling infrastructure and heritage, Delhi has a pathetic record on public safety.

Apart from women, the most vulnerable groups (to crime) — children and elderly — have no reason for hope either. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics, the rate of crime against children in Delhi in 2012 was 75.88.

The second worst was Mizoram with 28.19.

Rate of crime against children means the number of crimes against children per one lakh population of children.

Senior citizens felt more unsafe in their own localities. According a report by Helpage India, in 2012, Delhi NCR witnessed a rise in abuse over last year, with 29.82% elderly stating they faced abuse, as against 12% the year before.

After the December 16 gang rape, the Delhi government had launched a helpline for women in distress.

The helpline — 181 — which functions round-the-clock, has received nearly 2.5 lakh calls since it was launched. Most of the calls are about stalking, obscene calls, sexual abuse and domestic violence.

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