According to the data provided by the United Nations (UN) Women, in the previous 12 months, 243 million women and girls from ages 15-49 have been subjected to sexual or physical violence, across the world. It is also to be noted that from the actual number of cases, only 40% women think of seeking help and only 10% go through with it. With the current pandemic going on, the toll of suffering women is bound to go higher.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau report on Crime in India, crime rate registered per lakh population went up marginally to 385.5 in 2019. This concludes in an increase of 1.6 percent in registration of cases when compared to 2018. In 2018, crime rate registered per lakh population was 383.5. The report says that a total of 51.56 lakh cognizable offences consisting 32.25 lakh Indian Penal Code(IPC) crimes and 19.30 lakh Special and Local Laws (SLL) crimes were registered in 2019.
Crimes against women saw a 7.3% increase in 2019. The majority of cases under crime against women under 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%) and ‘rape’ (7.9%).
The rape cases see a surge every year, and with each year, they grow more violent, sickening and horrifying. Though the public is much more expressive about their opinions now, it does not seem to be enough as public outrage itself comes in patterns.
Every day, at least 87 cases of physical abuse and rape come up, but not all the violators see the extent of public outrage every time.
The main highlight of the issue is the negligence of media and public in general to a woman’s identity. Crimes against women or crimes in general are oftentimes associated with other factors and those other factors draw outrage, not the crimes themselves.
Other factors like caste, political involvement, the relationship with the violator seem to be more important and highlighted during the report and outrage, than the victim.
Their is a dire need of understanding the problem first, before seeking a solution.
The ‘Dalit’ girl, the ’23-year old’, the ‘girl raped by her own father’
The victim in this case is being regarded as ‘another Nirbhaya’. Nirbhaya was a name given to the girl who suffered heinous brutality in 2012. The girl was raped in a moving bus by four men and then dumped, unconscious, naked and with a few breaths left inside her. Their was a public outrage and eventually, the culprits got justice. Everyone was happy and went home, but on the same day, when Nirbhaya was raped, another case from Meghalya was reported, where a girl was raped by 16 people.
After another one week a couple more cases of girls being abducted and raped came up. The outrage had died and only a few people were speaking about it. Since then, the cases have not declined, they have only increased and they are still increasing rapidly.
After eight years, now we have ‘another Nirbhaya’ who was raped by four men in Hathras, UP on September 14. The case has drawn widespread public outrage, but the main thing that is being highlighted in the case is the caste of the girl and her violators. In every story covering the issue, she is a ‘dalit’ girl, raped by four ‘upper caste’ men. The issue is being politicised again, like every other case. The negligence of the UP police is being co-related with the negligence of the government. What if all it is about is the negligence of understanding the issue by all of us ?
We don’t just have one ‘another Nirbhaya’, their are crores. India records 87 reported cases of rapes and sexual abuse on a daily basis. All those women, are another Nirbhayas and they all deserve outrage, and justice.
The terms and other components added as details in the story has only one purpose, to sensationalise it. What is the need to sensationalise?
The need arrives because the Indian society has started regarding violence against women as normal. We as a society, collectively, has neglected the every day violence that takes place against women at our homes and in our neighborhood since decades. Now, with the mediums we have to read about it daily, we have decided to neglect and normalise it.
Their are at least two articles in the local newspaper each day, reporting violence against women. But does all these stories get the outrage they deserve? No. We just silently turn the page on the news, the issue and the innocent violated girl, every day.
One case drew comments about the victim being dressed inappropriately. Next time, a girl was raped while she was in a Burkha. “The rape was because of casteism”, a brahmin girl was raped by 3 men the next time. “The rape happened because the violator ate “chowmien” which increases testosterone in a male”. “It happened because she was alone outside in the middle of the night.” “It happened because she was with a friend, they (violators) thought she has no ‘sharam ‘ and was available”. These are some of the excuses that were given by people, in a rape case. All people finding excuses for a rape, are also violators of a girl’s beliefs, her modesty and her trust.
According to a survey, rape has nothing to do with a person’s clothes. It states that 48% of the victims were wearing salwar kurta, 41% were clad in sari and 10% of toddlers wore frocks and pajamas at the time of the incident.
Rape, Sexual Violence, Domestic Violence, Physical Abuse, Assaults, Mental and Emotional Abuse, are not just a one or two-timers in the country, it is an every day thing.
It doesn’t only happen to a ‘dalit’ girl, or an ‘educated’ woman wearing something that does not precedes with our so called culture, or at a certain age, or at a certain time or because of a certain food, It happens every-day and it can happen to anyone. It is a grave issue which we need to address and we have to stop beating around the bush.
Rapes do not happen because of other factors, rapes happen due to the need of power.
With feminism at par, patriarchy is slipping away slowly, females have become the bread winners of the family. Females are experiencing growth in every aspect of life. This puts patriarchy in a tough spot. Women with a voice does not coincide with rigid patriarchy driven men. According to a report, in 93% of all rapes in India the violator is a person known to the victim.
A feminist activist, Shruti Kapoor said, We have a patriarchal society in India, which gives more importance to men. Women are usually considered second-class citizens,” She adds that, “children internalise this at a very young age. A girl’s wishes and her opinions are not considered as important as that of a boy’s. The female child learns to be subservient from the beginning,”
From the beginning of an infant’s life, discrimination starts. This discrimination turns into the idea of ‘superiority’ in men. Even women believe that men are superior than them. This ideology has turned everyone into believing something that is not true.
People think that rigid and tough laws can help the situation. But what we actually and really need is effective law and the investigative agencies who are equipped and determined to solve cases and the issue.
Lastly, what we really need at ground zero is people who believe in equality and the need to uplift women. Strong people who can address the issue, but are we as a society ready to address the issue? We should be by now, but are we?