Thousands of women commuters on local trains in Mumbai will soon receive information about how to report sexual violence and harassment, through a campaign run by Amnesty International India and the Mumbai Division of Western Railway.
The organisations have launched a five-year partnership that aims to engage at least 75,000 commuters about women’s right to safety, provide gender sensitisation training to 1200 railway staff, and develop 60 trainers on gender and sexual harassment at the Mumbai Division of Western Railway. The organisations will also promote women’s right to safety at railway stations and through their social media networks.
“Lakhs of women travel daily in Mumbai’s local trains and it is critical for them to be able to report instances of sexual harassment and violence in a safe and conducive environment. We are glad that the Mumbai Division, Western Railway recognises this need, and we hope to spread awareness about women’s right to safety while using public transport,” said Dipti Ramesh, Principal Coordinator, Outreach and Partnerships, Amnesty International India.
Mukul Jain, Divisional Railway Manager, Western Railways, said, “The Mumbai Division of the Indian Railways is the first to take up such a collaborative, committed and long-term initiative over five years to ensure the safety of women commuters.”
Saurabh Prasad, Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Western Railway, said, “This collaboration is a result of encouraging feedback from women passengers and based on the results of a pilot programme we conducted with Amnesty International last year. The training programme will make our frontline staff proactive towards ensuring women’s safety.”
As part of the partnership, Amnesty International India will conduct workshops on women’s right to safety for railway staff towards strengthening responses to complaints received and to prevent the violation of this right. Amnesty India will also develop modules and communication materials customised for women railway commuters on reporting sexual violence and harassment.
The pilot project, which ran over four months last year, was aimed at empowering women to come forward and report instances of sexual harassment and violence to the authorities without fear. Commuters received information through brochures and a jingle played at several railway stations. Amnesty International India also organised a workshop for 15 senior Railway Protection Force officers and 15 senior Government Railway Police officers on gender issues and women’s right to safety.
About Ready to Report
Ready to Report is an Amnesty International India campaign to ensure that women who choose to report sexual violence can do so safely, with dignity and without facing prejudice.
Government statistics show that an estimated 31 per cent of women who experience sexual violence tell someone about the incident, but only 1 per cent end up reporting it to the police. Women often do not report sexual violence due to concerns including security, social stigma and discrimination.
The website www.readytoreport.in highlights the multiple challenges that survivors of sexual violence face in reporting crimes to the police. The Ready to Report campaign aims to reduce barriers and change perceptions about reporting.
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