India has apparently become the most dangerous country for women, according to a Reuters survey. The poll cited high risk of sexual violence against women as the main reason for country's abysmal record in providing the safety and security to women. The survey was based on the views of over 500 'experts' on women issues. The second most populous country fared even worse than war-ravaged Afghanistan and Syria which ranked second and third, respectively. India ranked fourth in the same suvey seven years ago.
The survey said India fared worst on three out of six topic questions. The risk of sexual violence, domestic rape, rape by a stranger, the lack of access to justice in rape cases and harassment against women was highest in India, the survey pointed out.
The other two questions based on which the country bagged the top spot for being the 'most dangerous for women' include - the danger women face from cultural, tribal and practices like child marriage, forced marriage, female genital mutilation; human trafficking including forced labour, sex slavery and domestic servitude.
The pertinent point to mention here is that the survey is not based on any data but on the views of a few chosen respondents. Violence against women has caused national and international outrage in recent years. The 2012 gang-rape and murder of a girl on a bus in the national capital became a turning point after which several new laws were passed.
A week after the horrific rape in Delhi, the Justice JS Verma Committee was set up to review our criminal laws and recommend amendments. Stricter punishments and death sentence were brought in apart from fast-tracking of such cases. However, panel's recommendation on criminalising marital rape was not accepted
Critics have pointed fingers at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government for not doing enough to protect women, the survey said.
The only Western country in the top 10 was the United States, which ranked third when respondents were asked where women were most at risk of sexual violence, rape, harassment and being coerced into sex.
For the survey, the Thomson Reuters Foundation asked experts in women's issues which of the 193 United Nations member states they thought were most dangerous for women overall and in terms of healthcare, economic resources and discrimination, cultural, tribal, religious or customary practices, sexual violence and harassment, non-sexual violence and human trafficking.
The survey involving 548 respondents was conducted online, by phone and in person between March 26 and May 4 with an even geographic spread across 5 regions - Europe, Africa, the Americas, South East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific.