A new report by the World Bank, titled Making Public Transport and Urban Spaces Safer and Inclusive for Women, highlights a situation that Indian women know to be true through personal experience. The study showed that 88 per cent of women in Delhi faced sexual harassment while commuting via public transport, but only 1 per cent reported it to the police. More than 50 per cent Chennai women commuters experienced sexual harassment, but only 6 per cent registered official reports with the police. In Pune, 63 per cent women commuters faced harassment, but only 12 per cent reported it. In Mumbai, 75 per cent women railway commuters were unaware of women helpline numbers.If these statistics sound alarming, it is because, as the report suggests, women in India still face social norms that restrict mobility, barriers to public transport access, and lack of safety during travel. These are just some of the factors that contribute to Indias low female labour force participation rate, which is a meagre 22.8 per cent for 2019-2021. Evidence from Indian cities shows that while the prevalence of sexual harassment on public spaces is high, reporting and subsequent actions taken for redressal are perceived to be low, the report said.The study indicates that there are still many reasons why sexual harassment cases go unreported. While some women choose to not engage in complaints for the fear of escalation, others report their reluctance to create a scene. Lack of awareness, characterising sexual harassment as not serious enough a crime, fear of reprisals from perpetrators, social stigma, fear of victim-blaming are also the key reasons behind underreporting. The study also explains that despite the fact that India has many women helplines, the quantity of these doesnt matter as the redressal systems discourage women from reporting crimes due to the above-mentioned reasons.*Image used for representative purpose.