Harassment most feared at colleges, Chhatra Marg during evenings

Around 70 per cent of the women between the ages of 19 and 25 admitted to feeling unsafe even with heavy police presence in Delhi University’s North Campus, while an overwhelming 93 per cent said they avoid hanging around the campus during evenings for fear of being harassed.

In a survey conducted by Parivartan, the gender forum of Kirori Mal College, around 95 per cent women admitted to doing nothing or not complaining when they had been harassed and 73 per cent said they had a bad experience when they approached any of the authorities, be it college or the police. Only 16.50 per cent bothered calling a helpline when in trouble and only 22.70 per cent admitted to helping somebody who was being harassed. A majority of 39.20 per cent said they felt it was futile reporting harassment while another 37.40 per cent said they were embarrassed to do so.

When asked how often they have found themselves stared at, or being at the receiving end of lewd comments or subjected to any other form of harassment, 56 per cent said “very often” while 31 per cent said “often”.

Individual colleges and Chhatra Marg were the places where the most harassment was feared during the evenings, followed by the areas around the Vice-Regal Lodge, the Ridge and the Metro station. As many as 62 per cent said they had curfews and 64 per cent said that curfews did not change anything.

On a scale of one to 10, around 76 per cent of the respondents rated the safety of the campus from “0 to 3”.

For the survey, around 163 people from 18 to 27 age group were approached. A questionnaire containing 13 queries related to various aspects of campus safety was prepared. “Five of these questions were multiple-choice questions and the rest were open-ended. The area was divided into specific zones, each of which was designated to a team of two or three student members. The respondents in each zone were encouraged to take their time and come up with whatever additional insights they wanted to share,” said Gaurav Kumar, a member.

“If there is anxiety about personal safety when pursuing a university education, then it is something to be worried about. The survey also has some recommendations which might help partially reduce sexual harassment and also give a sense of security to the women on campus,” said Shahana Bhattacharya, staff adviser to Parivartan.

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