Thomas Reuters Foundation named India as the most dangerous country for women in the world as per the poll conducted on six parameters : healthcare, discrimination, cultural traditions, sexual violence, non-sexual violence and human trafficking.
The poll results are nothing but a bitter confirmation of an uncomfortable truth.
India was ranked fourth in the first edition of the survey seven years ago. The conditions have further deteriorated since then with the country witnessing national and international outrage over rape incidents like the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and more recently the Kathua rape case of an eight year old girl.
The poll ranked India as the most dangerous on three of the topic questions – the risk of sexual violence and harassment against women, the danger women face from cultural, tribal and traditional practices, and the country where women are most in danger of human trafficking including forced labour, sex slavery and domestic servitude. It also pointed out that the India’s rape epidemic is getting worse by the year and critics have pointed fingers at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for not doing enough to protect women.
Much have been said and written over the issue of women safety in India. Laws have been amended, punishments have been made stricter, women empowerment schemes have been formulated and launched, but the country still lacks behind the rest of the world in protecting its women and assuring their safety.
The problem lies in the fact is that much effort is made only on paper and not on the ground. It take years to bring justice to victims of sexual and non-sexual harassment. Discrimination against women begins right from birth and continues in all aspects of life. Women across India – from executives in gleaming corporate towers to those toiling behind closed doors of middle-class homes, in factories or farms – face the same dangers of sexual violence and harassment.
Crimes against women in India spiked more than 80 percent between 2007 and 2016, according to government data. About 70 percent of sexual harassment cases go unreported due to fear of backlash. There is culture of silence, says Nishtha Satyam – deputy chief of U.N. Women in India, not because women are okay to put up with it, but because women do not draw enough confidence from the way the issue is going to be dealt with, because those in power continue to be men.
No law, no schemes, no poll result will ensure safety of women in this country unless those who threaten this safety set aside their patriarchal mindset.
“The Most Dangerous Country for Women in the World” is certainly not a tag to be proud of, one that cannot be ignored in Silence.