Images – Courtesy Google

Shocking! Beyond words! But words we do need to inform the kind of shameless inhuman crimes that occur against women throughout the length and breadth of our land. Despite the huge public furor after the ignominious Nirbhaya case, just a few years back, there appears to be no sign of the scourge stopping, anywhere. The callous molestation of women continues.

Trending currently is the news of a twenty year-old drunk man raping a woman in broad daylight on the footpath of a busy road in Visakhapatnam. The video going viral on social media makes it clear that passersby remain impervious to this animal-like behavior. While the person who shot the incident did make his way to the police station, but did not do anything to prevent the crime.

A similar incident today has the Mumbai police slapping sections 354 and 509 of IPC on a man shamelessly outraging the modesty of a young girl traveling with her family in a local train. Likewise, is the case of the young girl who jumped off a running train in Mumbai to escape her molester. Pick up a newspaper, follow social media or check out on the internet – you will get a spate of molestation accounts from all over, every day!

All of us on social media would be aware of the “#MeToo” campaign on Twitter and Facebook recently. This campaign has become a global rallying point for women to expose the scale of sexual exploitation in the world today. The movement started on October 15 in response to accusations of sexual misconduct against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein by actress Alyssa Milano. She tweeted: “Suggested by a friend: If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘#MeToo’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem”.

In just 24 hours #MeToo became one of largest trending issue on Twitter with over half a million tweets and shares on Facebook. From celebrities to ordinary women from both sides of the globe, millions and millions of women had this campaign going viral. Actresses from Hollywood to Bollywood, media women from west and east, corporate women, working women, college girls and school girls everywhere had the #MeToo hash-tag appended to their social media sites.

You just had to scroll through social media sites to read of accounts posted by friends and friends of friends to make you realize how pervasive the problem really is. The anecdotes all sounded so similar and so familiar that it added to the sense of solidarity against sexual harassment. The culture of silence around such incidents as if lifted in unison and allowed victims to be heard. Mumbai-based HR Professional, Trevor Mark Fernandes rightly called it a “collective catharsis”.

The campaign leaves one feeling flabbergasted. The enormity of the problem comes home when you see almost everyone that you know has had some sordid experience. You are aware that such things happen. You keep reading about them. But to realize that these things happen every day around you, to people whom you know – family, friends and acquaintances shakes you completely.

Rape today is the fourth most common crime against women. The National Crime Records Bureau 2013 report has 24,923 rape cases reported across India, of which 24,470 were committed by someone known to the victim! India is characterized as one of the “countries with the lowest per capita rates of rape”! According to 2012 statistics, New Delhi has the highest number of rape reports among Indian cities, while Jabalpur has the highest per capita rate of rape reports.

In the wake of the infamous Nirbhaya rape case, followed by several other heinous rape cases that received media outrage and public protests, the Government of India reformed its penal code for crimes of rape and sexual assault. However, molestation and rape continue unabated. But the two ghastly incidents trending today are so shocking and disgusting; they call for strict enforcement of the harshest punitive measures.

Crimes Against Women – Reality Check

Crimes Against Women

           Crimes Against Women

Not a day goes by that newspapers and TV reports do not mention multiple instances of crimes against women, the more gory of them having to do with rape. Despite the hullaballoo of the past nearly two years in the wake of the infamous Nirbhaya case, rapes continue to be reported from all parts of the country. It comes as no surprise now, even when such instances occur in your own neighborhood.

For all the efforts towards drawing attention to the mitigation of these horrific acts, the exact opposite seems to be happening. What is even more barbaric is that they are happening to children and infants. Who are these men who commit such dastardly acts and what kind of minds operate to target infants, daughters and neighboring children. Even schools are rife grounds for such heinous crimes.

All talk of improving the status of women appears to be a huge humbug when daily we encounter such instances. Add to this the ‘experts’ obtuse comments that have become de rigueur. They come as little surprise in a land where male supremacy still pervades predominantly. Despite the strident hue and cry after the horrendous Delhi rape case, women – including infants and little girls continue to be subject to vicious crimes.

As a society we too have become, more or less, immune to the malaise. We simply bypass the text lines carrying these snippets in the newspapers. Perhaps they do not bother us anymore. Conversely there is another type that vicariously takes in the dramatized versions that are ‘gori-fied’ by news channels as a form of entertainment! In fact if truth be told several news channels appear to be no more than entertainment shows.

The following crimes against women (Source National Crimes Record Bureau) continue unabated in our country. This information may well serve as a reminder of the status of our female populations.
• Female feticide — increased by 40%.
• Rape — 16,373 women ‘reported’ raped during the year. The truth is there are no figures on unreported numbers of women raped every day. It has been ascertained that 45 women are raped daily in our country, 1 woman raped every 32 minutes. There has been an unprecedented increase in the incidents of rapes from earlier years.
• Incest — 2.25% of total rape cases turn out to be cases of incest.
• Sexual Harassment — 44,098 incidents of sexual harassment reported. 121 women sexually harassed every day. 1 woman sexually harassed every 12 minutes. An increase of 20.6% is seen in incidents of sexual harassment.
• Importation of Girls/Trafficking — 11,332 women and girls trafficked. 31 women and girls trafficked every day. 1 woman or girl trafficked every 46 minute.
• Kidnapping and abduction — 14,630 women and minor girls kidnapped or abducted. 40 women and minor girls kidnapped every day. 1 woman or minor girl abducted every 36 minutes.
• Dowry Related Murders — 7,895 women murdered due to dowry demands. 21 women murdered every day. 1 woman murdered due to dowry every 66 minutes.
• Domestic Violence — 49,237 women face domestic violence in marital homes. 135 women tortured by husbands/ in-laws every day. 1 woman faces torture in marital relationship every 11 minutes. Domestic violence constitutes 33.3% of the total crimes against women.
• Suicide — 12,134 women driven to commit suicide for dowry. 1,10,424 housewives commit suicide and account for 52% of the total female suicide victims.
• Child Sexual Abuse – A study reveals that of 350 school girls 63% had experienced sexual abuse at the hands of family members. 25% had been raped, forced to indulge the perpetrators sexual whims. Nearly 33% said perpetrator had been close family member or male friend of family.
• Sexual Abuse — Out of 600 women respondents 76% were sexually abused in childhood or adolescence. Of the abusers 42% were ‘uncle’ or ‘cousin’, 4% were ‘father’ or ‘brother’.
• Domestic Violence — Over 40% of married Indian women face physical abuse by their husband. 1 in every 2 women faces domestic violence in any of its forms – physical, sexual, psychological and/or economic.

Crimes Against Women - Facts & Figures

Crimes Against Women – Facts & Figures