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Is it safe to travel in India alone as a single female traveller? The media constantly reports of rape - how high is the risk?

For decades, India has been considered a safe country for women. However, only in recent year, the media portrayal suggests a significant increase in rape cases, contributing to the impression that India is now particularly unsafe for women. In fact, the number of such cases has not increased, but what is happening is that more cases are coming to light as women, empowered to speak out, are breaking their silence.

When compared to the vast population of India (almost twice that of the whole of Europe), and even when projections of unreported cases are considered, the incidence of rape is lower than in many other countries. There are 2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in India, as opposed to Central Europe with 8.1 cases, Latin America with 14.7 cases, and the US with 28.6 cases per 100,000 population.

While these statistics provide context, women need to exercise caution in terms of dressing style and interactions with local men. In schools, boys and girls are often strictly separated, and many young men may lack experience in interacting with women who are not their own mothers or sisters. Consequently, Western women's behavior, which may be typical when dealing with Western men, could be misinterpreted as "easy" or "loose" behavior.

Updated on: 02/01/2024