In this age when women have been scaling heights and making leaps, we live in a state equally plagued by incidents of rampant sexism and harassment. From the “seemingly” less harmful catcalls, whistling and sexist remarks to the extreme forms of groping, flashing and physical abuse, women have been braving many forms of harassment as part of their daily struggle.
We, at Safecity, crowdsource personal stories of sexual harassment and abuse in the public sphere. It is innate for the human brain to seek patterns and rules. Through the use of data analytics, we present some insights/patterns which throw light on the stark realities women face in public spaces. Though furnished with a slightly satirical undertone, these findings are of utmost concern and points to the need of a massive, committed and concordant effort from all pillars of society for a safe city.
We noticed that a pattern formed in the trends of sexual harassment pertaining to the days in the week, Monday blues affect all at work, branding it the safest day and party mode hits on Fridays and Saturdays with ~40% incidents reported on these two days.
With a spike of incidents reported in February, it accounts for 22% of reported incidents.
Almost 25% of the time, it constituted sexist remarks and comment. If not that, 15% of the time it was touching/groping or catcalling or ogling. We can say that catcalling or ogling or taking pictures without consent would be accompanied by commenting.
Most working women use public transport as the primary mode for commuting. A staggering one-fifth of all the data collected are incidents that happen in a public transportation space. Close to 40% of incidents had a mention of buses or the people in it. The second in line is metro/trains, which covers about 16% of the incidents. Based on the hour of the day, we have come up with the most and least dangerous mode.
It is a woman’s right to access and use public spaces and facilities just as much as a man can. Not using public transport is not only not an option, but a backtrack for the economy as well. Avoiding public transport not only inconveniences women but also restricts them from accessing something that is rightfully theirs thereby debilitating them.
Keeping in mind the stories that we hear of harassment, women are on their guard as soon as light falls. Armed with fear, tension and a pepper spray in hand, we put on scanning goggles and every passer-by seems a potential harasser. Close to two thousand cases of harassment are being reported to us every year, and this might just represent a miniscule proportion of the actual numbers. This needs to stop.
As a first step, we must confront it and tune our conviction to accept that harassment of any form is an outrageous offence and not accept it as a pervasive part of life or as eccentricities of the harasser. This also necessitates a paradigm shift from the defensive and regressive attitude of authorities for whom these insights might end up as just another statistic.
- Anupama Santhosh
A business analyst by profession, Anupama spends her day juggling between numbers and making plans for her next trip. An ardent solo traveller, an avid reader and a trained violinist, she makes it a point to systematicallydefy gender roles and break stereotypes. Rumi and Khalil Gibran add colour to her life.
This article was first published on SHEROES.