India - A Country of Rape - Seeker's Thoughts

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India - A Country of Rape

 India was once famous for its rich diversity, different culture, and beautiful historical places. However, the country's name is maligned for something much more disturbing -- women and child rape.

 Rape is the fourth most common crime against women in India. According to government crime data, a rape is reported every 15 minutes in India.

Data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released in 2018, the data on violence against women showing shocking figures since 2018.

According to the NCRB data, 87 rape cases were reported per day in India. If we look at figures, Uttar Pradesh had most of the violence against women in 2019.

In India 4, 05,861 cases of crimes against women were reported in 2019, and Uttar Pradesh topped the list 59,853 such incidents. At the same time, Assam was the highest in crime rate against women at 117.8 per lakh population in NCRB's report 2019.

The crime against women has risen by 7.3% since 2018. 

A high number of these cases under the Indian Penal Code IPC were registered under cruelty by husband or his relatives (30.9%), followed by Assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (21.8%), kidnapping and abduction of women (17.9%).

Not only women, but there is also a high spike in cases of crime against children. From 2018, crimes against children went up by 4.5% in 2019. With a total of 1.48 lakh, issues of crime against children were registered in 2019. And about 46.6% were cases of kidnapping, and 35.3% cases were related to sexual offenses.

The NCRBs collected data from 36 states and Union Territories and 53 metropolitan cities. Uttar Pradesh also had the highest number of crimes against girls under the POCSO Act, with 7,444 cases, followed by Maharashtra 6,402 and Madhya Pradesh 6,053.

 According to Thomson Reuters Foundation Survey - India is the world's most dangerous country for women and minor girls. Due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labor.

 India has shown utter disgraced and disrespect for women. Child rape, marital rape, Sexual Assault, and harassment female infanticide has gone unabated. The world's fastest-growing economy and leader in space and technology is shamed for violence committed against women and minors.

 Afghanistan and Syria ranked second and third in the survey, followed by Somalia and Saudi Arabia.

How has the Indian government badly failed to curb such a brutal crime?

Today India has become a country of rape; despite several strict laws Indian government has failed to protect women in the country.

 In 2013, the criminal law amendment act was passed, which criminalized sexual offenses like acid attacks, voyeurism, and stalking, and provided 20-years sentences for rape and the death penalty in extreme rape cases.

The central government set a particular "Nirbhaya Fund" to help women attack and improve women's public safety. But none of these moves led to a decrease in the number of rape.

Most of the cases take close to a decade to finish has not helped. Studies have also carefully recorded that the investigation and trial of such cases are traumatic for the victims. 

This leads to a high level of discomfort and harassment for women, discouraging them from filing any violence report. Still, there have been many cases where brave women have come forward, and they raised voice against such crime and injustice. 

A primary reason why rape cases so poorly investigated and prosecuted in India is the power structures confirming deeply patriarchal societies. 

Pendency of Cases

 The NCRB report shows that the backlog of cases, including cases of child rape, is enormous. For all crimes against women, the pendency of patients is as high as 89.6%.

In 2017, there were as many as 1.17 lakh rape cases from previous years pending trial.
Even the conviction rate is way too low (only 5,822 accused were convicted in 28,750 cases sent for trial in that year that makes around 20%).

This failure to reform the justice system and ensure conviction leads to an increase in the impunity with which crimes against women are committed.

Bureaucratic Hurdles
The negligent behavior by the concerned official authorities while investigating a time-bound manner destroys the criminal justice system's very purpose.

The government tries to turn the attention to the extent of punishment, instead of focusing on the urgent steps required for the prevention of such crimes. For example, the Muzaffarpur Shelter Home sexual abuse, rape, and torture of at least 35 girls reported early last year (2018), is still under investigation with no justice of any kind in sight for the girls. It later came to light how the perpetrators misused government funding.

Most of the time, laws and legislation for women's safety are either not in compliance with the international standards or are not appropriately implemented.

 The National Family Health Survey-4 revealed that every third married woman had experienced physical and sexual violence, but only 1.5% had sought help from the police.
In many cases, it has been noted that the culprit is the familiar individual. This is the reason why victims become more vulnerable and helpless from raising any voice against them.

The reluctant and less-sensitive attitude of the police officials while registering the cases, makes the victim feel more victimized, leading to under-reporting cases.

 Psychological reasons behind the rape and sexual abuse

According to a psychologist, the kind of sexual violence and brutality and the dangerous behavior are seen; every second person is a psychopath. If an offender abuse one child, there are high chances of him continuing to abuse other children. Some of the identified reasons for sexual offenses are--
 --Sex education is still a taboo in India
 -- Minors are less aware of wrongly touching.

 --Suppressing and restrict kids make them more curious, and they eventually indulge in watching porn.
 --Easy and affordable access for pornography.
 --Lack of government's policies to regulate pornography.
 -- There is violence on the streets and within the family.

 A way forward

 Preventive measures such as education and awareness (important in a profoundly patriarchal society) help ensure women's safety.

Equally important is recognizing that sexual violence acts are deeply traumatic for survivors and that it takes great courage and faith in the system to report them.

The police, dominated by men, must do more to clear all obstacles in the path of survivors.
Infrastructure: In India, after the Nirbhaya case, the committee under Justice J.S. Verma had made a series of recommendations for preventing crimes that placed the responsibility on the Central and State governments to ensure the presence of social and physical infrastructure to prevent crimes against women.

The suggestions included school and college syllabi changes to educate social values of equality and respect for women's autonomy, ensuring safe public transport, city and street lighting, CCTV cameras, unsafe mapping areas, and providing increased police patrolling areas.

There is a need for comprehensive and systematic research and analysis on crime against women at Central, State, district, and block levels. Accurate data collection is essential to inform policy initiatives. India needs an ecosystem of care and empathy that focuses on the prevention of sexual Assault, the protection of victims, and the certainty of action against culprits. 

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