Women subjected to sexual harassment - on the roads, bus-stops or workplaces – in the form lewd comments or stalking, is a well known fact but what is lesser known is that many cases go unreported
Women subjected to sexual harassment - on the roads, bus-stops or workplaces – in the form lewd comments or stalking, is a well known fact but what is lesser known is that many cases go unreported.
Fear, apprehensions about police response, worry about getting embroiled in legal procedures, family name getting dragged into public are some of the reasons, say the fairer sex and women activists. “I go to college on scooter. Many a time, bike-borne men stalk me, tug at my clothes and even try to touch me,” says Sridevi about her traumatic daily harassment.
She is not inclined to approach the police as she believes it would only mean additional embarrassment. “It would have been comfortable if policewomen are available at the police stations, listen to our complaints and provide us some privacy,” she says.
Her friend, Shashikala, too undergoes similar suffering daily. “Auto-rickshaw drivers at Borabanda, Rajeevnagar, Motinagar don’t agree to use the fare metre. Instead, they start passing abusive comments if we question them,” she explains.
Women rights’ activists feel a special helpline where they can lodge complaints through messages, mails or phone calls is a solution as there is a great reluctance to go to the police station for varied reasons.
“We had been demanding for a special women helpline for years together. After the acid attack on two women students in Warangal, the Government came out with one but it is of no use,” says P. Sandhya, State president of Progressive Organisation for Women.
She says the present 1091 toll-free helpline for women should be improved on par with medical emergency service like 108. If the Government cannot create a new one, it can at least ensure the special women helpline is attached to 108 so that calls of emergency from women are attended with equal priority.
Police can check veracity of the complaints by moving at such localities in plainclothes and crack the whip on wrongdoers, many women feel.