More than four in every 10 women in India experience harassment or violence before they attain the age of 19, a survey has found. The survey conducted by NGO ActionAid in four countries showed that 41 per cent of Indian women experienced harassment before they attained the age of 19. Six per cent of them experienced harassment before the age of 10 years in India, followed by Brazil (16 per cent), the UK (12 per cent) and Thailand (8 per cent). "41 per cent of women in India have experienced some form of violence or harassment in the past month. The figure is even higher in other countries as 67 per cent of women polled in Thailand and 87 per cent in Brazil having been subjected to harassment or violence in the past month. In UK, 57 per cent women experienced the same. "More than one in four (26 per cent) women in India said they have been groped in the past month, while 20 per cent women in Brazil, 26 per cent in Thailand and 16 per cent in the UK were groped," according to the survey report released today. The survey was commissioned to mark International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women. The survey found that 82 per cent of women in India said they have taken step to protect themselves against harassment. This figure rises to 91 per cent for women between 25 and 34 years old.
Steps range from avoiding parks and poorly lit areas (35 per cent) and changing a travel route (36 per cent) to using an everyday object like keys as a weapon (23 per cent) or carrying a protective device such as a rape alarm or pepper spray (18 per cent). "Cross country findings suggest immediate actions are needed on part of societies and governments to curb harassment and violence against women. While awareness on rights of women, women's abilities and potential has seen incremental advances over the last decades, we are still a long way off to realize a promise of a just and equal world. "Threats to safety of women is directly related to the patriarchal mindsets that manifests itself in streets, workplace and at homes. On International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, ActionAid India urges all nations to take effective steps to challenge these patriarchal mindsets and sexist attitudes which are the root causes of this culture of harassment and violence against women," said Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director at ActionAid India.
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