Recently, a fresh death warrant was issued in the Nirbhaya case, according to which convicted will be hanged till death on 3rd March 2020. There is a further possibility of delay in this execution, but in the end, they will be hanged some or the other day. The execution is much awaited for the whole country, everyone in the country is waiting for their death as it will setup precedence. But the question here is that despite new stringent laws against sexual violence, are sexual offenses decreasing? In this wake, today we will discuss the sexual offenses in India in the light of the latest data released by NCRB.
National Crime Record Bureau ( NCRB) is a government agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs, which is given with the task of collecting and analyzing the crime data of India. Data released by agency depicts how crime statistics are changing and which state shows improvement and diminishing crime. The data is imperative in policy formulation to control crime in India. According to data released by the agency, named as CRIME IN INDIA highlights that crime committed against women has increased by 6.1 percent. According to data of the past 17 years rape is one of the fastest-growing crimes in India. According to this data 4,15,786 cases of rape were reported in India between 2001 and 2017. If we average out this figure with a number of days, then it is 67 women were raped every day in these 17 years, also it means that about three women were raped every hour in this country. Rape cases reported in 2001 were 16075 and this number rose to double in 2017 when 32559 rape cases were reported in the given year. If we go by the increasing rate, there is an increase of approximately 103 percent. In the list, Goa observed the highest percentage of increase in rape cases in comparison to another state with a hike of 533 percent, followed by Uttarakhand with a 405 percent increase in the 17 years. The best performer was Dadar and Nagar Haveli which report a decrease of 83.3 percent in rape cases during this period. However, if we talk about a number of cases, Madhya Pradesh was the poorest performer, where 5562 rape cases were lodged in 2017, this number was 2851 in 2001. Madhya Pradesh was followed by Uttar Pradesh with 4246 rape cases, Rajasthan was third in the list with 3305 cases lodged in 2017. Bihar is among the list of states which show a decline in rape cases also Tamil Nadu, Mizoram, Tripura, and Nagaland are the other states, where the graph of rape cases gone down.
However, this may not be the true picture, as many experts raised questions on this because NCRB collects data from Police stations. This data lacks those incidents which went unreported. Still many cases go unreported in-country and the picture was drawn by NCRB is talking about rapes only. Women in this country are also facing molestation or sexual abuse at their workplace and public places as well. Cases of eve-teasing and stalking are not being taken seriously by the law, it is seen in many cases that these incidents of eve-teasing and stalking led to heinous crimes of rape and acid attack.
There is a paucity of police personnel dedicated to ordinary citizens, rather than elites, and the Personnel that is available are lacking basic evidence-gathering and investigative training and equipment. Delhi, for example, is home to one of the largest metropolitan police forces in the world with some 84,000 officers. But only one-third are involved in any kind of actual “policing” at any given time, while the rest provide protection services to various politicians, senior bureaucrats, diplomats, and other elites. According to the Times of India, there is one officer for every 200 citizens and about 20 officers for every VIP. Many of those who do perform police duties can be found shaking down motorists, participating in protection rackets and simply looking the other way as crimes take place. Apart from that, there is lack of female officers as well, women are more likely to report sex crimes if a female police officer is available. According to the Times of India, of the 161 police stations in Delhi, only one has a female station house officer. When women do report rape charges to male police, they are frequently demeaned, that is why many women refrain from lodging their reports. Underreporting the cases is the biggest challenge as this boosts the confidence of the perpetrators and they repeatedly do these offenses.
Patriarchal mindset is another major factor for this, A recent National Family-health Survey reported that a sizable percentage of women blame themselves for beatings by their husbands. “When a boy grows up seeing his father assault his mother, he starts to accept such a behavior and repeats it,” Anuradha Gupta, mission director for India’s National Rural Health Mission. India is one of the worst countries in the world in terms of domestic violence. Also, many men in India blame provocative clothing as a reason for rapes. In response to a gang-rape incident, a legislator in Rajasthan suggested banning skirts as a uniform for girls in private schools, citing it as the reason for increased cases of sexual harassment. Many people in the Nirbhaya incident blamed the victim, that why she was roaming on the road late-night.
In a 1996 survey of judges in India, 68 percent of the respondents believed that provocative clothing is an invitation to rape.
Also Read:Nirbhaya case: An anatomy after 7 years
Also, there is a prevalent stigma associated with rape, and sexual offenses, people do look at the victim with inferior sight. Rape survivors are often encouraged by village elders and panchayats to compromise with the family of the perpetrator and withdraw charges and even to marry the attacker. They focus more on prospects of marriage than bringing a rapist to justice. In recent years a girl who was allegedly gang-raped killed herself after police pressured her to drop the case and marry one of her attackers.
At last, the poor justice system also plays a major role in increasing this menace India’s conviction rate is less than 26 percent. Trials go on for many years, in some cases, it takes a decade to bring accused to justice. Also, the country is facing a lack of judges, currently, India has about 15 judges for every 1 million people. A Delhi high court judge once estimated it would take 466 years to get through the backlog in the capital alone.
After the Nirbhaya case, many statue books get overhauled by the Parliament, laws became more stringent against offenses against women and after that case, the collective conscience of the country was awakening. Judiciary, on the other hand, is taking these offenses very seriously and ordered the establishment of Fast track courts dedicated to these crimes. Also, Judiciary allowed victim to give testimony through video conferencing, some of these steps will promote women to file their cases. On the other hand, the government launched a dedicated portal for registering sexual offenses at workplace.
A big kudos to state machinery for taking such steps, but these steps alone are not sufficient for countering this threat. The country needs to tackle the root cause of such crimes, measures should be taken to remove the patriarchal mindset of the society, for these moral values regarding gender equality must be instilled in a child from an early age. Also, incidents of eve-teasing and stalking should be treated seriously. More women should be admitted in the Police force, this will make the victim comfortable to file her report. The government should also work in the direction of increasing public security.