News : More Than 15,000 Women Suffer Telephonic Harassment in State
Vadodara, India, Nov, 2019 -- Obscene calls on her cellphone almost daily pushed Jaishree Patel (name changed), a resident of Bhavnagar, on the verge of losing her sanity around six months ago. She could neither confide to her kin or change her mobile number leading her to severe mental stress.
A few weeks later cops discovered the reason behind the calls: Someone had scribbled her mobile number on a wall of a public toilet in Ahmedabad district! Local cops erased her number from the wall thereby pouting an end to her misery too.
Patel is one of the 15,757 women of Gujarat who have undergone similar phone harassments in the last five years. The GVK- EMRI run 181 Abhayam helpline which help such women claim that the number of victims have increased every year since 2014.
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According to Abhayam counsellors, 65% of the victims are in the age group of 15 to 45 years, who are harassed either by known people or stark strangers.
Narendrasinh Gohil, general manager of GVK-EMRI said that the helpline had started an action desk to deal with telephonic harassment which is handled by counsellors and police constables.
"As women have become aware of the helpline, they approach us as more often than not, rural women are blamed by the family for the harassment," said Gohil. So, while a counsellor helps the victim come out of the trauma and learns how to block a harasser, the police contact the harasser and make him understand that his act is criminal in nature.
In 95% of the cases, the harassers stop bothering the women after the constables talk to them. The remaining 5% have faced legal action as the helpline members help the victim so that she can lodge a police complaint.
"If the caller is a known person, the harasser tries to take revenge of past enmity or broken relationship. They would call or send pictures to blackmail the female either for revenge or pressurize her to continue the relationship. Strangers make obscene demands or call merely for fun," Gohil added.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, November 11, 2019
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