Violence against girls, women in UP rose over 14% in 4 years: Study

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New Delhi: Violence against girls and women in the country's most populous state Uttar Pradesh rose from 23.5 percent in 2015-16 to 51 percent in 2018-19 while sexual violence increased from 30 percent to 48 percent in the same period, according to a new study based on a survey of 10,100 adolescents.

The results of the findings were released on the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

When asked why UP was chosen for the study, the Population Council said it is because it is the most populous state in the country.

The UDAYA (Understanding the lives of adolescents and young adults) study by NGO Population Council was carried out on 10,100 adolescents in Uttar Pradesh in 2015-16. The same set of adolescents were re-interviewed in 2018-19.

According to the study, the number of married girls who reported ever experiencing emotional, physical, or sexual violence almost doubled over the two survey waves.

"In 2015-16, physical violence with married girls (15-19 years) was recorded at 23.5 percent which more than doubled and shot up to 51 percent in 2018-19. In 2015-16 sexual violence was recorded at 30 percent, which increased up to 48 percent. Emotional violence in 2015-16 was recorded at 19 percent, which increased to 35 percent," the study said.

The study also captures mobile-phone/internet-based harassment. It clearly shows an increasing trend in the survey years from 2015-16 to 2018-19. Married girl respondents in UP aged between 15-19 in 2015-16 experienced 3 percent internet-based harassment, which increased to 4.8 percent in 2018-19.

However, the study also observed that gender discriminatory practices among adolescent girls have reduced over time. Girls aged between 15-19 years in 2015-16 was 23 percent improved to 18 percent in 2018-19.

Besides Uttar Pradesh, the study has been conducted also in Bihar. UP and Bihar comprise 25 percent of the country's adolescents population.

Both states together constitute almost one-fourth of the adolescent population. Also, the vulnerabilities such as early age at marriage, sexual and reproductive health risks are high in both the states

The Population Council said it is planning to extend its study to other states too.

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