NEW DELHI -- More than four in every 10 women in India experience harassment or violence before they attain the age of 19, a survey has found.
The survey conducted by NGO ActionAid in four countries showed that 41% of Indian women experienced harassment before they attained the age of 19.
Six% of them experienced harassment before the age of 10 years in India, followed by Brazil (16%), the UK (12%) and Thailand (8%).
"41 per cent of women in India have experienced some form of violence or harassment in the past month. The figure is even higher in other countries as 67% of women polled in Thailand and 87% in Brazil having been subjected to harassment or violence in the past month. In UK, 57% women experienced the same.
"More than one in four (26%) women in India said they have been groped in the past month, while 20% women in Brazil, 26% in Thailand and 16% in the UK were groped," according to the survey report released on Friday.
The survey was commissioned to mark International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women.
The survey found that 82% of women in India said they have taken step to protect themselves against harassment.
This figure rises to 91% for women between 25 and 34 years old. Steps range from avoiding parks and poorly lit areas (35%) and changing a travel route (36%) to using an everyday object like keys as a weapon (23%) or carrying a protective device such as a rape alarm or pepper spray (18%).
"Cross country findings suggest immediate actions are needed on part of societies and governments to curb harassment and violence against women. While awareness on rights of women, women's abilities and potential has seen incremental advances over the last decades, we are still a long way off to realize a promise of a just and equal world.
"Threats to safety of women is directly related to the patriarchal mindsets that manifests itself in streets, workplace and at homes. On International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, ActionAid India urges all nations to take effective steps to challenge these patriarchal mindsets and sexist attitudes which are the root causes of this culture of harassment and violence against women," said Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director at ActionAid India.
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