Help on Sexual Harassment on the streets, a phone call away

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Thane, Nov 26 (UNI) A 24 X 7 helpline--25443535- for victims of sexual harassment on the streets was today inaugurated by Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) S Pandey.

Pandey called upon the people to take personal responsibility towards taking issue of sexual harassment very seriously and help the police to punish offenders.

The helpline is the beginning of ''Leher- Ek Awaaz, Ek Saath'', a year long campaign, a collaboration of Akshara, Special Cell for Women and Children and Thane Police, against sexual harassment of girls.

Film actress Shefali Shah, who released three posters on sexual harassment, said ''Getting teased or harassed in any public space is not the girl's fault and they need to accept it as an assault on her dignity.

Congratulating Akshara and the Thane Police for taking the first step towards eradicating the crime against women, she pointed out that sexual harassment happens to all girls on the streets, irrespective of their age and their dress.

Giving a background of the campaign, Nandita Shah, Co-Director Akshara, said their organization conducted a study on sexual harassment in 46 colleges of Mumbai. The objective was to assess the awareness, impact of sexual harassment on female students and evaluate redressal mechanisms.

The findings of the study highlighted that the majority of students lack holistic awareness of the issue. About 62 per cent were not aware of Supreme Court guidelines on sexual harassment and 61 per cent of female respondents admitted a high level of sexual harassment in colleges. The study concluded that 66.6 per cent of men agreed that sexual harassment was for fun.

A ten minute film on Sexual Harassment on Streets, produced by Akshara, was shown on the occasion. It had interviews from girls sharing their experiences and also boys as to why they tend to indulge in harassing girls.


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