Some may have taken offence to Gul Panag’s comments that Delhi men don’t miss an opportunity to grope women in public, but statistics support the actor’s allegation. Panag claimed she was "groped and touched" by men at the Delhi Half Marathon on Sunday.
A study by women’s rights group Jagori, released on Monday shows that two out of three women in Delhi have faced sexual harassment in the past year. The women say they have experienced it at least two to five times in the past year.
Panag’s tweets — that "Delhi men won’t let go of any opportunity to touch women" and that Mumbai is a much safer place — drew angry reactions. "It’s not fair to blame the whole city for what a few people have done," says event manager Anshum Grover. "It is the men and not the city, which is at fault," says Priyanka Sethi, a media consultant.
The Jagori/UN study also showed that three out of every five women who faced sexual harassment, did so not only after dark but during the day as well.
Leering and groping are the most common offences. The survey, which sampled over 5000 Delhi women above the age of 16, said students and workers from unorganised sectors are most vulnerable to sexual harassment and that it is most rampant in public transport.
Panag is not backing down
“Why shouldn’t I generalise? I was groped not because I was a celebrity, but because I was a girl. Every girl, who has been on a bus, and stood in long queues outside temples and gurudwaras in Delhi, would agree.”
Panag said only 2-5% participants at the marathon comprised women, the lowest female turnout she has witnessed in the 12 marathons she has run till date. “This only shows how Delhi women, themselves, know the truth,” she adds.
What the survey found ...
*2 out of 3 women in Delhi have faced 2-5 incidents of sexual harassment in the past year
*Students in the 15-19 age group and workers in the unorganised sectors are particularly vulnerable
*Public transport, buses and roadsides are where women face high levels of sexual harassment
*The most common form of harassment reported is passing comments, leering and groping
Source: Safe City Free of Violence for Women and Girls Study 2010 by NGO Jagori and UN
(with inputs by Aakriti Sawhney and Namya Sinha)