About 95 percent of the women living in Delhi do not find public places safe, a United Nations (UN) Women study highlighted Saturday. The findings revealed that 78 percent of the men in Delhi have witnessed sexual violence while only 15 percent of them have intervened. The findings were revealed at the collaborative panel discussion held by the Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC), UN Women and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as a part of the UN Secretary General’s campaign ‘UNITE to end violence against women and children’.
“Violence against women is not just a women’s issue but a human rights issue. The UN Women joins the government and the people of India with the campaign in recognising and providing much needed solutions to end violence against women by promoting the engagement of men and boys to prevent gender violence,” said Anju D. Pandey of UN Women, India. The key areas of the campaign are to prevent trafficking, empowering widows through leadership and mobilisation training, safe cities programme and working with civil society to carry out research and advocacy. Speaking about the need for a safer city, Kalpana Vishwanath of Jagori, an NGO said, “It is significant that women’s safety is no longer being seen only as women’s issue but one that concerns all stakeholders in the city.”
While Dora Giusti, child protection specialist, UNICEF India said, “Girls are the most vulnerable in the society and face multiple forms of discrimination and violence. According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, every child has the right and should be protected from all forms of violence.” The panelists also spoke on the need to concentrate on the rural areas, especially in protecting the rights of Dalit women. “The dream for gender equality cannot be achieved in a caste stratified society like ours. Together we need to dismantle institutions that reek of patriarchy and caste to build a better word for all women from margins to the centre, from the poorest to the most empowered women,” said Asha Kowtal of All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch.