Streets, bus stands, railway stations, parks and other public places should be for everyone to access and enjoy. Yet for many women they are the scenes of harassment. Everyday women face systematic assault on their fundamental right to free movement and personal dignity. Sexual harassment at public places is unwelcome, unsolicited behavior of a sexual nature including staring, gesticulating, touching, passing comments, trailing. These may not seem to be a big problem, but they can be quite upsetting. It makes women feel ashamed, humiliated or frightened
Sexual Harassment affects all women in some form or the other. Lewd remarks, touching, wolf-whistles, “looks” are part of any woman’s life, so much so that it is dismissed as normal. Working women are no exception. In fact, working women most commonly face the backlash, to women taking new roles, which belong to male domains especially in the organized sector. In the unorganized sector also it is widely prevalent. Studies have shown that sexual harassment is still endemic, often hidden, and present in all kinds of organisations. 40-60% working women face harassment at working places.
India's new worldly women, the country's younger generation is shedding submissive attitudes, aiming for higher education, careers, and longs for freedom and want to live independently. A number of sociological studies show that young Indian females now prize financial independence, freedom to decide when to marry and have children, and have glamorous careers. The boom in software industry especially BPO’s has given employment for not so qualified girls also. Single women still an oddity in India. But young, single Indian women face different challenges than their male peers. Renting an apartment is the major difficulty for them as the owners tend to think that she will bring plethora of male friends home. However, we thought we should guide all those who prefer to live alone.
Rape/sexual assault is one of the ugliest and most brutal expression of masculine violence against women. Rape is a violent crime, an Invasion and a frightening experience. Rape affects all women, no matter what their age, caste or economic status. Rape is not sex but violence on women/girls. Rape/Sexual abuse makes women feel humiliated and degraded. The rape or the threat of rape always makes women feel unsafe and forced to remain alert all the time. All women are potential victims of sexual assault. By being aware, a woman can reduce the likelihood of becoming a rape victim.
Within the four walls of homes, the violence against women is quite high. Domestic violence against women is widely prevalent, but has remained largely invisible. Statistics reveal that 45% of Indian women are slapped, kicked or beaten by their husbands. (ICRW 2002) .32% had committed acts of violence against their pregnant wives. Every 60 minutes a woman dies in India due to domestic violence. Women accept violence because social norms sanction them. At the same time, cultural conditioning and economic dependence prevent the vast majority of women leaving their marital homes. Though there is criminal law to prevent domestic violence, the recent civil law “Protection of women from Domestic Violence” is aimed at providing relief, compensation and support to a woman.
In India, Dowry system that has been prevailing amongst every society and affected lives of the people who are involved in marriage and on those who are around. This dubious matrimonial tradition however, seeped into the homes of the poor and downtrodden people to muster a false respect. By then there was already present a guilty conscious feeling of giving birth to and fostering of girl children. Also the growing percentage of female births over male children contributed its share to the corrupt system. The fact that every home having more girls than boys alarmed the elders make hurry the marriage of their daughters and created a ground for competition. The Dowry system has recently become so popular that every groom feels proud and gaudy on the number of items, weight of gold and amount of money he receive. The parents of the girls too sighed in relief over gifting their sons-in-law with such things. They relaxed indebted because their daughters will be well respected and best treated by their in-laws, as compared to their counterparts. The daughters too take pride in grabbing so much from their parents and loose no opportunity to highlight their material superiority over other girls of their position in the family they enter. The less adorned daughter feels small of the situation and either quarrels with her in-laws or pesters her parents to give her more so that she could also gain equal respect in the family of her husband.