The fact – proved time and again by reports of assaults on women across the country – remains that it is still unsafe for women out there. So, how prepared are our women to handle threats to their safety? How do they react when harassed in public places?
The survey results revealed that most women take a sensible, intelligent approach to their safety. Bravado or foolhardiness won’t do when they know it’s not a perfectly safe environment. So, to the question ‘If you know you will be returning home late or have to pass through less-than-safe areas you would…?’ an overwhelming 77 % responded they would have someone accompany them; 18 % of feisty women thought pepper spray would be adequate protection, while only 5 % said they wouldn’t worry about it.
When asked how they would react to being groped in a crowded bus or street, 47 % said they would scream and attract attention to the harasser; 36% respondents chose to be more aggressive and retaliate by slapping the man, and 17% said they would ignore it, showing that some women believe suffering in silence is the only way.
When faced with the irritation of obscene calls or text messages a majority of 51 %, responses, said they would go to the police, which is what the experts advise, too. Some 33 % thought having a male tackle the caller may solve the problem while, again, a small number of 16% thought ignoring would be the solution.
To the more general question on the best way to handle a perceived threat from a man 46 % said it would be to equip oneself with self-defence tactics such as martial arts, while 34 % per cent said they would call for help. Some 20% believe that dressing conservatively could ward off threats; this, however, may be a misconception for other surveys have revealed that harassers don’t always discriminate between fully-covered women and those who wish to dress more daringly.
The survey asked how public transport could be made safer for women and, here again, a significant 50% said it was up to the women to be more alert and seek help when faced with threats to their safety; 39% said more security personnel should be deployed, while 11 % said it couldn’t be done.
Clearly, there’s no denying that women feel fear and threatened. In an ideal world, the cause of their fear should be tackled and eliminated. Until then, women simply find their own coping mechanisms and our survey shows they are taking charge of their safety.