America is the only Western nation to make the top 10, a new report finds, while India ranks No. 1
The U.S. has a long way to go in terms of protecting women.
America is the tenth most dangerous place for women to live, according to a recent Thomson Reuters Foundation survey, and ties with Syria as the third most dangerous place for women with regard to sexual violence. The U.S. is also the only Western country to make the top 10, which includes several Middle Eastern and North African countries.
India ranked as the No. 1 most dangerous country, due to its high levels of sexual violence and harassment, cultural and traditional practices that harm women, and human trafficking including forced labor, sex slavery and domestic servitude, according to the report. Seventy percent of women living in India have experienced some form of sexual abuse, and domestic violence accounts for more than 50% of the reported crimes against women in the country, according to a report by the Mumbai-based social change organization Dasra.
Also high on the Thomson Reuters list was Saudi Arabia, which ranked as the fifth overall most dangerous country for women, and second in terms of women’s economic access and workplace discrimination. Although Saudi women recently celebrated the lift of a ban prohibiting them from driving, there are still a number of gender disparities that plague the country — including being unable to get a passport, travel or open a bank account without the permission of a male guardian.
In the survey, which was conducted between March 26 and May 4, 550 global experts on women’s issues ranked the 193 United Nations member states based on rates of violence against women, poor economic resources, lack of access to healthcare, and the prevalence of harmful traditional gender roles.
The Thomson Reuters Foundation experts’ survey seven years ago reported the five most dangerous countries for women were Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India and Somalia. Experts attribute America’s high ranking this year to the increase in sexual assault awareness over the past year, and the resulting worldwide perception of danger and violence against women in the U.S.
The report comes amid the #MeToo movement, which has raised awareness of sexual assault and harassment of women across the U.S. One in six American women has been the victim of rape in her lifetime, and nine out of every 10 victims of rape are women, according to data from the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
For victims of sexual assault, the U.S. ranking underscores the progress that still needs to be made to better protect women. “The United States is desperately in need of a reckoning over how we treat women and other marginalized groups,” Abby Honold, a sexual assault survivor and activist in Minneapolis, told Moneyish. “We need to focus on primary prevention for violence, readjusting our cultural values, and reforming our criminal justice system.”
“Sexual violence affects almost every single family in America, and ending these crimes means continuing to elevate the national conversation around sexual harassment and assault,” RAINN president Scott Berkowitz told Moneyish. “By educating the public about consent and prevention, strengthening the criminal justice system to bring more perpetrators to justice, we can end sexual violence. We must believe and support survivors.”
© 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved