Date: 30 November
Original Story: Street survey on violence against women in the city
Post Bureau, Guwahati (Nov 29): Women facing abuse in Guwahati can now make their voices heard. Keeping in tune with the International Campaign to Stop Violence against Women, the North East Network (NEN) will be conducting a street survey on violence against women in the city.
The survey was formally launched on Thursday, at the Guwahati Press Club, Ambari. NEN is conducting this survey as a part of its safe city campaign. NEN chairperson, Monisha Behl said violence against women (VAW) in public places is very common in cities yet receives the least attention from the policy makers and law enforcement agencies.
Guwahati city itself witnesses scores of incidents of VAW in public places every day. “Lack of or extremely poor urban infrastructure such as safe public toilets, public transport, street lights, and footpaths is an important factor further contributing to the lack of safety and exclusion of vulnerable groups like women. The survey will attempt to bring forth the various forms of harassment and the role of different stakeholders in safeguarding the rights of women,” she said.
Elaborating on the survey, programme manager NEN Anurita Hazarika said the survey will be conducted among 500 women in public places like bus stands, railway stations, market place and other places and their feedbacks will be collected by 40 volunteers and compiled into a report.
“The survey will be conducted amongst girls and women above 14 years of age and the first phase of the survey will be completed by December 7-10. In the second phase, another 500 women will be interviewed,” she said.
The questionnaire contains queries on the idea of safety, problems of safety in public places and the government’s role in ensuring safety of women. The findings of the report will be made public later and suggestions will be taken from different quarters.
As part of the campaign, NEN is also organising a poster exhibition to convey the message to end all forms of discrimination against women and girls, both in private and public places.
Another poster exhibition to be held on December 2 will highlight the evil practice of witch hunting. The campaign activities will culminate in a play, Eti Mrinalinee, by Jirsong Theatre in which a woman critically redefines selfhood by questioning domestic oppression of married women in a family.
On the other hand, executive director Sreekala MG said there is an urgent need to address the issue of safety for women in public places and recognition of VAW in public places and gender sensitization of law enforcement agencies to respond to incidents of violence effectively.
“This year we are starting with mapping women’s safety through spaces in Guwahati city that assesses weather women are able to access those spaces freely without fear or anxiety. Through this survey we will be identifying factors that would make women feel safer in the city. We are hopeful that this study will bring out recommendations that our government will take up seriously to make Guwahati city more inclusive for women and make it safer for them and other vulnerable groups,” she said.