ICRW study contributes to debate on women and sexual violence in India

03 February 2013
Alexandra Hyde

Findings from research conducted by STRIVE partner ICRW have contributed to debates about women and sexual violence in India. In a full-page article in The Times of India, the study is explored in relation to the recent gang rape of a woman in Delhi and the questions it raises.

The ICRW study, conducted with UN Women, the government of Delhi and the NGO Jagori, found that 95% of the 2000 women taking part felt unsafe outdoors. The study also included 1000 men, 78% of whom said they had witnessed sexual violence but only 15.8% said they had intervened.

The article singles out three reasons that make Delhi a particularly problematic city for women and the risk of sexual violence:

  • its location in North-West India, where more ‘traditional’ attitudes towards women’s rights are the norm and the sex-ratio is heavily tilted towards men
  • the existence of many smaller, individual villages and neighbourhoods within the city means that women’s position in society varies hugely
  • social and financial disparities that cause inequality in caste and income. 

ICRW’s senior technical specialist, Nandita Bhatla, argues that "Many women...feel ashamed about sexual harassment they may face on a bus, or that they deserve it because they dared to tip-toe outside the 'boundaries' drawn for them by men."

Read the article in full online.

Watch a documentary from CNN-IBN featuring ICRW's Ravi Verna on women's safety in India.

Read commentary by Shoma Chaudhury and analysis on the Delhi rape case at Tehelka.com and the Hoot.