Bangalore: When it comes to the number of women being subjected to violence on the streets of this tech hub of India, official figures conceal far more than they reveal.
According to the statistics released by Fearless Karnataka Nirbhaya Karnataka (FKNK), a social group working for safety and security of women in the state, for every single case reported in Bangalore, 10 or more lie hidden.
"Our experience says that out of every single reported case of violence against women in Bangalore, around 10 or more go unreported," FKNK Founder Member Jagdeesh B N said.
"That makes one equal to 11," he added.
FKNK also informed that most of the cases of physical and verbal abuse on women on the streets of Bangalore are not reported.
According to the figures available with the police here, while 170 cases were reported in Bangalore under section 354 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) in 2008, 180 cases were reported under the section in 2007.
Section 354 of IPC refers to outraging the modesty of a woman.
According to Jagdeesh, several cases of abuse in the city go unreported because police were not very cooperative and Indian society often ended up by blaming the victim, rather than punishing the culprit.
FKNK had been formed to make Bangalore streets safe for women and to encourage the victims to report at police stations about their trauma, Jagdeesh explained.
The forum was started on February 26 as a joint initiative by several social groups of Bangalore, almost an immediate reaction to the five cases of attack on women on various streets of the city within a fortnight.
There was a pattern to the five cases—motorcycle borne attackers targeted women by physically and verbally abusing them for wearing western outfits.
Talking about the forum, Shakun Mohini, a member of Vimochana, a women's rights group that is a part of FKNK informed that the organisation has already started sensitisation programmes among people across Bangalore, so that they help the women in distress.
On International Women's Day March 8, members of the group and other citizens have decided to walk down various prominent roads of the city. Christened "Take Back the Night Walk", the initiative is an attempt by women to reclaim their right to be safe at night across the state.
Shakun said that Bangalore immediately needs a special helpline for quick help to women who are abused and harassed on the roads.
"The helpline will ensure that immediate rescue measures for the victims could be ensured and arrest of those involved in such assaults on women," she stated.
In a memorandum submitted to Bangalore Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari Monday, FKNK has demanded that a dedicated 24 hour helpline be set up, exclusively for women in distress.