Perceived Stress among Young Working Women following Sexual Harassment in Public Transport: A Cross-sectional Study from Northeast India

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Dr. Anamika Nath, Dr. Anupam Datta, Dr. Shyamal Chandra Sarkar, Dr. Debaleena Dey


Sexual harassment on the move is one of the major atrocities against women globally and has consequences on their psychological well-being. This study aimed to scale the perceived stress following sexual harassment of young women in public transport. A structured questionnaire was used for collecting the socio-demographic data and data related to incidents of sexual harassment in public transport from 10 offices and 10 educational institutes from two districts belonging to two different states. Ethical clearance has been obtained from Institutional Ethical Clearance Committee. Perceived stress was scaled and scores were analyzed with socio-demographic components and components to incident proper. Data were entered into SPSS version 23.0. Pearson’s correlation was used for analyzing different determinants with perceived stress, keeping confidence interval 95% while P value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Out of 800 study participants, 95% commuted through public transport regularly. 82% were harassed at some time or other. Nearly 58% of participants, perceived severe stress. Perceived stress was higher in those where incidents happened in the past 30 days (48%). Pearson’s correlation was found to be -0.706. None informed the police following the incident. 4.5% of participants had been on anti-stress medication. Significant perceived stress was found in the survivors of sexual harassment on road. Perceived stress decreased with time elapsed following the incident(s). However, sensitization of reporting should be done. Counseling of sexual harassment survivors is an important need that should be made available. Public transport should be made safer with the intervention of law enforcement agencies and policymakers.

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