SHUBHDA CHAUDHARY | 2 SEPTEMBER, 2016
Over 34,000 Recorded Rape Cases In 2015, But Where Is the Outrage?
NEW DELHI: The country where Nirbhaya’s rape galvanized thousands of people to the streets, marching audaciously for justice, is witnessing its own mayhem in myriad of ways. To start with, in quite a shocking revelation, National Crime Records Bureau revealed that there were 34,651 cases of rape reported in 2015. Why no hullabaloo has been created? Why is there is deafening silence, as if this inhuman tragedy is just a part of social contract?
Further worsening the matter, the rape victims range from a girl child as young as six years of age to a 60 year old woman. The largest number of rape victims, though, belongs to the age group of 18 to 30 years. As we grapple with these figures, it must be noted that these are ‘official’ figures that have been recorded. The tragedy befalls thousands of other women, who never reported the case and could not even become footnotes in the mainstream news.
But perhaps, what is much more shocking is that fact that in these cases, almost 95.5% of the women, which amounts to 33,098 of the reported cases, knew who their attackers were. To add to it, there were 4,437 cases of attempted rape in 2015.
Although, Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association brings a different narrative, while asking us to be cautious while scrutinizing the figures. She says, that in many cases, the parents of the girl have reported the case of consensual elopement as rape. But she does mention that the real reason behind this alarming number is undoubtedly the restriction on the woman’s sexual autonomy in India.
It’s quite disheartening that in spite of the national and international uproar over the 2012 Delhi rape case, the numbers haven’t decreased. It’s perhaps, quite necessary to pause and reflect why? On one hand we have the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ andolan going on to empower the masses, Indian women, belonging to different strata of society are yet not safe. It’s a shame that even now, reporting a rape is treated as a taboo, especially in the rural areas. Thankfully in the metros, the paradox of silence and strength is being tested. Women are coming out of the closets and reporting rape, thoroughly knowing the fact that the society is never going to forget it.
In June 2016, the Indian Parliament had passed a law according to which panic buttons would be installed in the buses so that any case of sexual violence can be immediately reported. Well, what happened to the law and how flawlessly it has been implemented is questionable.
Though on one hand we have several NGOs flourishing to safeguard a woman’s identity, rights and existence, very little is being done on the issue of safety. Our society is facing its own internal conflict when it comes to a grave matter like rape, because women in India, no matter how adamantly they break the glass ceiling, are at the end of the day, merely women. Well, if things do not improve and better surveillance is not implemented, it would not be wrong to summon India as the ‘Rape Capital of the World.’