The end of this month will mark a year since a young woman died of her injuries after being gang-raped and brutally beaten in Delhi. The outpouring of rage that followed paralysed parts of the national capital and forced the government to amend the law to bring in stringent anti-rape legislation.
A year later, cynics may ask whether anything has really changed given that brutality against women still occurs with depressing regularity. It’s clear, however, that violence against women is still an issue for the thousands who braved police batons and freezing weather during last year’s protests that spilled into the beginning of 2013. Many of these protestors go to vote in two days.
An Avaaz/Hindustan Times/MDRA opinion poll released on Sunday reveals that the vast majority of voters in Delhi want the new government to prioritize policy on violence against women, and are more likely to vote for candidates who commit to strong action on this issue.
With a representative sample of 3,061 people across Delhi, the poll found that:
• 93% see violence against women as a priority in the upcoming Delhi elections.
• 88% are more likely to vote for a politician who commits to strong action to stop violence against women, with 56% much more likely to do so.
• 91% are in favour of the new Delhi government prioritising a policy to tackle violence against women.
• 94% are in favour of the new Delhi government launching a public education campaign to challenge the root causes of violence against women.
“With nearly all voters calling the protection of women an election issue, Sheila Dikshit is the first candidate to endorse the Womanifesto,” said Ricken Patel, Executive Director, Avaaz. He was referring to a 6-point plan to tackle violence against women in Delhi that is backed by over 50 prominent civil society leaders. “The only question now is, what are Arvind Kejriwal and Harsh Vardhan waiting for?” added Patel.