April 19, 2010


Look around, there may be a rapist in your neighbourhood

New Delhi: If the rape of a 19-year-old waitress by two army jawans in Pune on Wednesday did not wake up the government to the plight of working women, the latest data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) should.

According to NCRB, the number of rape and sexual assault cases rose sharply between 2004 and 2008, with rape cases shooting up by 17%.

In fact, there was an overall increase in crime against women — up by 27% — with rape, sexual harassment, molestation, cruelty and dowry deaths accounting for 95.3% of the cases in 2008.
NCRB says most (57.2%) rape victims were in the 18-30 age group, a time when women become more mobile due to needs such as higher education or employment. Madhya Pradesh (MP) reported the most (13.7%) rape cases.

Data shows offenders were known to victims in 91% of cases. Neighbours were involved in 33.1% of cases, relatives in 5.4% and parents/family members in 1.6% of cases. There were also 309 cases of incest registered in 2008, most of them in MP.

Molestation cases too increased by 4.3% over 2007, with again MP reporting the most at 15.9%. There was an 8% increase in child rape cases in 2008, with Uttar Pradesh reporting the most (900), followed by MP (892), and Maharashtra (690). The three states accounted for 45.6% of child rape cases.

Sociologists say this is a result of our male-dominated society becoming increasingly intolerant to women, particularly independent ones, and the increased access to pornography.

“Easy access to pornographic material, dating websites and phone sex is causing sexual frustration among men, resulting in an outburst in the form of rape and sexual assault. Men have access to virtual experience, while actual experience is missing,” Ranjana Kumari, director of Centre for Social Research, New Delhi, said.

A low conviction rate emboldens criminals. Of the 94% cases of rape charge-sheeted in 2008, only 33.4% resulted in convictions.

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