India is the most dangerous country in the world to be a woman because of the high risk of sexual violence and slave labour, a new survey of experts shows.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation released its results Tuesday of a survey of 550 experts on women’s issues, finding India to be the most dangerous nation for sexual violence against women, as well as human trafficking for domestic work, forced labour, forced marriage and sexual slavery, among other reasons.
It is also the most dangerous country in the world for cultural traditions that impact women, the survey found, citing acid attacks, female genital mutilation, child marriage and physical abuse.
The poll was a repeat of a survey in 2011 that found experts saw Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India, and Somalia as the most dangerous countries for women.
Experts said India moving to the top of poll showed not enough was being done to tackle the danger women faced, more than five years after the rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi made violence against women a national priority.
“India has shown utter disregard and disrespect for women … rape, marital rapes, sexual assault and harassment, female infanticide has gone unabated,” said Manjunath Gangadhara, an official at the Karnataka state government.
“The (world’s) fastest growing economy and leader in space and technology is shamed for violence committed against women.”
Government data shows reported cases of crime against women rose by 83% between 2007 and 2016, when there were four cases of rape reported every hour.
Experts said India moving to the top of poll showed not enough was being done to tackle the danger women faced.
The survey asked respondents which five of the 193 United Nations member states they thought were most dangerous for women and which country was worst in terms of healthcare, economic resources, cultural or traditional practices, sexual violence and harassment, non-sexual violence and human trafficking.
The release of the report comes amid mounting public outrage in India, where a series of high-profile rape cases, including two unrelated attacks on girls aged 16 and eight, have forced the issue of sexual violence back onto the national agenda.
In April, thousands of protesters took to the streets to demand stricter protections for women, in some of the largest mass demonstrations held in the country since the rape and murder of a female college student in Delhi in 2012. Attempts to introduce stricter legislation have so far failed to tackle the dangers women face.
In the months following the 2012 case, the central government passed numerous reforms to increase penalties for sexual violence, including extending the length of prison sentences and introducing the death penalty.
But despite the introduction of stricter laws, around 100 sexual assaults are reported to police in the country every day, according to the National Crime Records Bureau, with nearly 39,000 alleged attacks in 2016, an increase of 12% from the previous year.
Punjab Today courtesy.