Despite the geographic and economic expansion of Delhi, a city, women’s safety always has been its Achilles heel. The increased rate of harassment cases has marred Delhi’s name repeatedly.
Safety over academic merit
Sexual harassment has effects manifold, and in the case of Delhi and its female students, it is choosing a college that is farther from their place of residence and spending up to Rs 20,000 per year, a college they perceive is safer in terms of sexual harassment over colleges that are higher ranked, according to a research paper titled - Safety First: Perceived Risk of Street Harassment and Educational Choices of Women, Brown University Ph.D. scholar Girija Broker.
Under the purview of the Delhi metro security
The same report found Delhi metro to be the safest mode of transportation, but 86 percent of the respondents reported they used the women’s coaches of the metro. Buses were said to be the least safe mode of transport, with 40 percent of respondents reported incidents of sexual harassment on buses.
Stark and appalling figures
Another study released by households survey conducted by UN Women and the International Center for Research on Women concluded that Delhi shows 95 percent of women and girls feel unsafe in public spaces.
Another research by the Thompson Reuters foundation concluded Delhi to be the worst city amongst 19 metro cities across the world.
Research reports aside, almost every woman in Delhi has reported feeling unsafe in the public place. The solutions for the widespread issue need to come from all the stakeholders in the process, the police, the government, and women themselves. Every woman for herself should be the first line of defense. Women in Delhi should take measures themselves like carrying items of self-defense, By installing whereabouts and safety applications on phones, Being vigilant, Learning how to judge people and situations, learning and practicing self defense which will help increase confidence levels which is required during incidents of sexual harassment to speak up and loud and practicing running and keeping fit in general. Poor lighting near bus stops and subways, lack of public toilets for women, and generalized fear have been the main concerns raised by women across safety audits, which are the sole responsibility of the government.