Stop violence against women
[Representational Image]Nileena Skaria

One in every seven women working in the garment industry in Bengaluru has been raped or forced into a sexual act at work, according to a report released on Saturday by the women's rights group, Sisters for Change, and the women's organisation, Munnade.

"We were shocked by the levels of sexual violence (we found) during our survey," Alison Gordon, the Executive Director of the U.K.-based Sisters for Change, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Violence, intimidation, unwanted sexual attention, being forced to watch pornography, being punched, choked and burnt are some of the complaints that emerged from Bengaluru's 1,200 garment factories, which employ 500,000 workers.

"There is such a permissive environment of abuse in the factory, with the ... supervisors often being the perpetrators. There is no fear of the existing laws," Gordon added.

The report, which is based on surveys of women workers, also mentions that there is massive under-reporting of these crimes as 82 percent respondents said that they did not report crimes because of lack of faith in the police or senior management.

"The laws are in place but the awareness about them and the implementation is negligible," Gordon told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The report recommends frequent inspections in factories to prevent cases of sexual harassment.