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Over 4 in 10 women in India experience harassment before the age of 19

New ActionAid poll highlights global epidemic of harassment and violence against women

New Delhi, November 25, 2016

More than four in 10 women (41%) in India experience harassment or violence before the age of 19, according to a new ActionAid research released today. The four-nation survey also revealed that women around the world experience harassment for the first time at a shockingly young age with 6% experiencing harassment before the age of 10 in India. The figure for Brazil is 16% while it is 12% in UK and 8% in Thailand

The research also found that around three fourth (73%) of women in India have experienced some form of violence or harassment in the past month. The figure is even higher in other countries and highlighted an increased risk of women with 67% of women polled in Thailand and 87% in Brazil having been subjected to harassment or violence in the past month. In UK, 57% women experienced the same.

More than one in four (26%) women in India said they have been groped in the past month. This compared with one in five women in Brazil (20%), one in four women in Thailand (26%) and one in six in UK (16%), found the YouGov poll of 2,200 women aged 18 and over commissioned to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The findings also shows that how it is now becoming common for women to take steps in their everyday lives to guard against the threat of harassment and violence. More than 8 in 10 women (82%) in India said they have taken steps to protect themselves against harassment. This figure rises to 91% for women between 25 and 34 years old. Steps range from avoiding parks and poorly lit areas (35%) and changing a travel route (36%) to using an everyday object like keys as a weapon (23%) or carrying a protective device such as a rape alarm or pepper spray (18%).

Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director at ActionAid India, said:

“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 for half of our humanity. How can we build a better world for all, with a large section of our humanity living in an indefinite loop of fear and intimidation.

Threats to safety of women is directly related to the patriarchal mindsets that manifests itself in streets, workplace and at homes. On the 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”

- Ends –

For more information, please contact Saroj Pattnaik on: Mob: +91 (0) 9910452820 / Email: Saroj.Pattnaik@actionaid.org

Notes to Editors

  • All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,518 women, 1,038 in Britain, 500 in Brazil, 500 in Thailand, 200 in India. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1 - 14 November. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all women (aged 18+) in each respective country.
  • ActionAid is calling on the public to stand with fearless women and girls to end violence by calling on the governments to fund the life changing work of women’s rights organisations around the world.
  • ActionAid works with and for women and girls in some of the poorest communities in the developing world. Because we know that violence against women and girls is a global issue, including in the UK, where we work in association with women’s rights organisations.

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