Recently, a perception based survey was published. Survey was conducted by Thompson Reuter Foundation and opinions of global experts were collated. According to the findings of survey, India is the most dangerous country for women. India was placed below war torn Syria and Afghanistan, conservative Iran and Saudi Arabia among others.
Predictably, the findings of survey has kicked up a lot storm. Many nationalist Indians have suggested that the timing and findings of the survey is a conspiracy to defame India. Others have dug up data to demonstrate how India is not the most dangerous country for women. There is no doubt given the population size, the number of actual cases of sexual assault may be high in India. Yet, when compared in percentage terms, India actually ranks 32nd, where 6% women actually reported sexual assault compared to 29% in number one ranked Cameroon.
It can be argued that in many cases of sexual assault either victim do not come forward, and in many cases authorities do not register a case if victim is from lower section of social strata. Nevertheless, data suggest that rate of reporting of sexual violence per million population, nearly doubled post 2012 brutal rape and subsequent death of a nursing student in Delhi.
It is important to keep in mind the Thompson Reuter survey is a perception based opinion. One of the most difficult thing to improve in life is how the next person perceives us. No among of statistics and hard data can erase my low opinion of the next person. There may be various reasons for such opinion. One may read in news paper, social media or from word of mouth. One may have a personal bad experience too.
A sense of insecurity may arise not only from incidence of actual rape, but from the perception that something might happen hangs at the background. Such a sense of insecurity arises from incidences of groping, gawking, use of sexually laced innuendo, and a general harassment a woman faces at office, in public transport or even at home? As someone said, an expat lady, she feels safe in India as long as she does not have to venture out in odd hours. She cannot do things after dark in Delhi, that she takes for granted in France or in Chile. Honestly, how many Indians can say confidently that they do not worry about safety if a woman has to go out at night, be it for a party or for work?
I am not a woman. So I cannot speak how a woman feels in India. From what I read in news papers and hear on TV news, it appears that women had been feeling unsafe for a long time in India. Safety of a woman cannot be enumerated in the form of a statistical number. Even a single incidence of sexual may be one too many. Because for the victim, the incidence is real.
Safety of women is a concern that should be beyond party and political lines. Women were not safer during UPA era, they are no better under NDA era. Remember when the brutal gang rape of Nirbhaya, a.k.a Jyoti Singh happened, Delhi had a lady chief minister, speaker of Lok Sabha was a lady, lead of opposition in parliament was a lady, ruling congress party president also happened to be a lady. Still the brutal incident happened. I think irrespective of caste, creed, religion, all Indians must hang their heads in shame that half of Indian population feel insecure be at home or at workplace or at a recreational joint.