By Bhawana Bisht
Rape is a heinous crime. It happens every minute of every day in one part of the country or another. The crime happens to women across social and economic standing; it happens across religion, caste and regions.
This is regardless of which political party has formed the government. What’s also a crime, which is zero contribution towards the welfare of women, is politicizing rape. The society, like political parties, is equally responsible in failing to free the country of its rape culture.
After the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case, the BJP condemned the Congress, which was in power then. Today, the Congress is doing no different. The closer we are getting to the general elections, due to be held in in April 2019, the dirtier the blame game is becoming. Sadly, the motive to better women’s safety issues in the country has faded amid all the noise.
The brutality of the Nirbhaya case and the Kathua rape earlier this year sparked movements, marches and anger. Nothing, however, could change people’s attitude. People are not scared of the law. Political parties, on the other hand, manipulate situations for their own agenda.
Recently, Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweeted, calling out the PM for his silence on a certain rape case. “Shame on a government that leaves India’s women unprotected and afraid and allows rapists to walk free,” he wrote.
This was in light of a recent incident where a 19-year-old girl was allegedly abducted and gang-raped in Haryana. The gang apparently drugged her before committing the gruesome act.
Earlier in April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at an event in London’s town hall, said “rape is rape” and that it should not be politicized. The thing is — who is actually politicizing rape?
Data before 2014
In 2011, Delhi Police released figures stating a woman was raped every 18 hours in the Capital.
As per reports, 92 women, on an average, were raped every day in India, in 2013. Also, New Delhi recorded the highest number of such crimes, among all cities, with 1,636 cases. Four rape cases, on an average, were reported in Delhi every day in 2013.
According to figures released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the number of these cases, across the country rose to 33,707 in 2013 from 24,923 in 2012. In 2013, in about 15,556 cases, rape survivors and victims were aged between 18 and 30 years.
According to the NCRB data, Madhya Pradesh, on an average, recorded 11 rapes every day. With a total of 4,335 such cases in 2013 alone, MP recorded the highest cases among all other states. Rajasthan with 3,285 cases, Maharashtra with 3,063 and Uttar Pradesh with 3,050 rape cases followed MP. The data also revealed that the offenders, in the majority of cases, were known to the victims.
Yes, the government did introduce fast-track courts and tougher rape laws post the 2012 incident. However, data shows that the situation has hit the nadir today.
Rape cases after 2014
The NCRB data shows a total 34,651 rape cases were reported in India in 2015. Of these, in 33,098 cases, the offenders were known to the women. The survivors and victims, in these cases, mostly belonged to age group of below six years to over 60 years. Madhya Pradesh, again the highest, reported 4,391 rape cases, with Rajasthan following suit.
The capital recorded 2,199 such cases in 2015. The National Crime Records Bureau in August 2016, released data revealing that over 34,600 cases of rape were reported across the country. Needless to say, the world is aware of the recent Kathua case. The case showed us everything that is wrong with the communal harmony in the country. The incident also revealed the worst of the system and problems rotting the country’s police and courts.
Statistics reveal that rape cases rose about 60 percent from 2012 to 2016. The rate by which rape accused were arrested, however, remained stuck at around 25 percent. National Crime Records Bureau data showed that each year, about 85 percent of the total rape cases being heard remained pending.
The exact data for 2018 has not been released as yet. However, we’ve already seen the horrific crimes the year started with.
When we talk about crimes against women, conviction rates for assault, dowry death, kidnapping and rape, are always on the lower side. A study by Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, showed that child sex abuse cases in the courts take about two decades to clear.
What really should these parties be doing instead of mudslinging
Political parties, term by term, have let women down. Making women’s safety and empowerment a mere political agenda will only hamper the condition. There was a different party in power when the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape happened. There is a different government, today. But brutal assaults on children and women continue unabated. The common factor is their incapability and unwillingness in dealing with these issues diligently.
Blame game doesn’t help. Mudslinging is only capable of harming the sensitivity of women’s issues. Yes, the system needs a change, so does the direction most citizens of the country are headed to.
Everyone, across the country, was so agitated by the fact that Reuters’ limited researched survey pointed out India as the most dangerous country for women. Everyone debated how the report targeted India, unnecessarily. Deep down, however, all of us know our real standing. Do we really need numbers or an international survey to prove how unsafe women are in the country? Don’t we all know by now?
What we need is families, educational institutions, social bodies and organizations, and all political parties to educate the society, collectively. Mindsets have to change and as for the first step, how about not electing criminals to state governments and the Parliament?