1 in 3 Women In India Still Get Sexual Harassment Calls, Delhi Tops The List

Despite heightened actions and attempts by the government, public safety agencies and telecom operators, women in India are still being flooded with sexual harassment and inappropriate calls and SMS over phone. So much so that one in every three women in India still gets such calls, a report revealed.

And it will not surprise anyone in India that women in Delhi get the maximum number of such calls or SMS, a latest report by Truecaller, a call and messages identifying application said.

The report showed that out of the surveyed women who received harassment calls and SMS, 52% received unknown calls and SMS with inappropriate content at least once a week. 74% of calls received were from unknown people to the victim and a staggering 23% calls were made by stalkers followed by 11% calls that were made from a person known to the user.

The report surveyed across key cities also revealed that 28% of women from Delhi have reported receiving sexual harassment calls and SMS every week, making it the highest in India. Interestingly, most women were also subjected to unprecedented phishing calls with 53% of them receiving calls from fraudsters seeking to collect sensitive personal data once a week and 8% receiving counterfeit calls almost daily.

Close to four-fifth (78%) of women reported feeling angry or irritated by harassment calls (compared to last year 65%), while more than one-third (37%) felt troubled, worried or frightened (compared to last year 22%).

Furthermore, the report also highlighted that three-fourths (74%) of the women took measures against these calls through various means that included blocking numbers, request for DND activation, shamming on social media and filing complaints with authorities. There is a 12 % increase compared to last year (62%.) Besides this, 99% of women surveyed used Truecaller app to identify numbers and 66% used the app to protect their privacy.

In an attempt to bring down such unpleasant incidents Truecaller Thursday launched a nationwide campaign to raise awareness against women harassment that occurs through mobile phones.

To provide a counter-narrative to the current rise of harassment, spam and phishing calls to women, Truecaller launched the #ItsNotOK campaign to challenge the current status quo of normalizing harassment calls and SMS to women. The campaign is aimed to empower people to call out the actions through conversation on the #ItsNotOK.

Truecaller partnered with WhiteBalance, a creative studio based in Delhi, for the concept and execution of a video series that features nine women across different ages, backgrounds and professions, who bravely narrated their bitter experiences about the types of messages and calls they have received from harassers and stalkers.

“Sexual harassment through messages and calls is a worldwide issue that has not been addressed. In fact, it seems to have become normalized that many women are able to share their experience about receiving disturbing unwanted messages with sexual content or advances from strangers. Our campaign is to bring awareness around the issue, to encourage discussion, and to make a societal impact that this behavior is not OK,” said Truecaller’s Global Brand Manager, Lindsey LaMont.

“While the report factually tells the story, shooting with real women gave us a sense of pain, anger & shamefulness most of them felt despite being mature confident individuals. It was truly eye opening to see how contaminated our mobile numbers really are, as these interviews unraveled. We hope this will bring more awareness to the vulnerability a woman faces in her daily life.“ says Gayatri Sethi, Business Head, WhiteBalance.

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