Contributors : Madhur Dave, Niyas M, Nimay Sekhar, Diana Rose Verghese, Subham Mukhopadhyay
A study of the possible reasons and the numbers of rape cases between 2012 & 2014.
2012 With Figures
2013 With Figures
2014 With Figures
According to the Indian Penal Code, 1860, (section 375), “A man is said to commit rape, who except in the case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the following five descriptions:
- a) Against her will
- b) Without her consent
- c) With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her in fear of death or of hurt
- d) With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband, and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married:
- e) Fifthly, with or without her consent, when she is under sixteen years of age.
Since the Nirbhaya rape case of 2012, the number of registered rapes and crimes against women has increased at an alarming rate. This is not seen just in the rural areas but in urban areas too.
States like Maharashtra, West Bengal and Rajasthan top the list of states with the highest crime rate in 2014. In this research, we are planning to look the number of rape cases in the various states across the country and also find out the causes behind it. We are also looking at the opinions of people from the said states about the number of rapes that they hear or know of and the probable reasons behind those rapes.
Why are rapes so common in India?
- Caste and Religion.
India is a very patriarchal country and we’ve always placed women lower than men. It’s not just that women are disrespected; there are also places where they are treated like objects instead of humans. They are raped or murdered for the smallest of the things. And this isn’t a new phenomenon; this disrespect has been going on since the mythologies have been written.
For example, the Mahabharata, Book 13 Section 40, states, “There is no creature more sinful, than woman. She is poison, she is snake.” Some other texts say that, “Women are living lies.”
At the same time, there are also instances of “Gods” raping women and being glorified for that. Vishnu is said to have raped Tulsi/Vrinda by assuming the role of her husband. This act was justified and even glorified because people believed that Tulsi’s husband Jalandhar was invincible in war unless her chastity was first destroyed. Hence, to order Jalandhar, it was imperative for Vishnu to rape Tulsi. In the end, Vishnu is seen as a hero for raping her and gaining victory over Jalandhar.
This isn’t the only example. According to Matsya Purana there’s also the God Brihaspati. He is considered to be the Guru of all Indian Gods. And it was this “Guru” who raped his own pregnant sister-in-law.
Another factor that can be attributed to this spike in the rapes is urban areas, to women joining the workforce and facing aggressive male resistance; and in rural areas to the all-pervasive caste system, as in this case, where the girls belonged to a lower caste than the rapists.
- Poverty, Illiteracy and Unemployment –
Unemployment and poverty are common features among the gangs who rape. In this environment, and within a patriarchal structure, violence is one of the few things that can command respect. As young men become increasingly unable to participate in the “India shining” fairytale, they reassert their identities, and power, in a savage and cruel act.
And the police are often willing participants. In the Budaun case, not only were the rapists known to the victims’ family, but two of the suspects are policemen. Indeed, they have sympathisers at an even higher level: the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, said recently about jailed rapists: “Boys will be boys.”
Underlying all this is the fact that around half of India’s population is under 30. And thanks to years of systematic sex selection, a significant majority of them are men. In Uttar Pradesh, for instance, there are just 912 girls for every 1,000 boys. This shortage of young women makes it very difficult for these men to have a normal relationship.
- ‘Culture’ –
When a condemned killer said the woman he and others brutally gang-raped on a New Delhi bus was responsible for what had happened to her, his comments were shocking in their callousness and lack of remorse. But the underlying view has wide acceptance in India. Blaming women for rape is what hundreds of millions of men here are taught to believe. And the code for women in this country is simple: Dress modestly; don’t go out at night; don’t go to bars and clubs; don’t go out alone. If you break the code, you will be blamed for the consequences.
When one of the four men sentenced to death for the high-profile gang rape of the woman in 2012 was quoted in a new documentary as saying “a girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy,” he was repeating something community and religious leaders in this nation of 1.2 billion routinely say.
When a female journalist was shot dead in 2008 while driving home from work well past midnight, New Delhi’s top official at the time, Sheila Dixit, make clear she partly blamed the victim. “All on her own till 3 a.m. at night in a city where people believe, you know, you should not be so adventurous,” she told reporters. It’s a view that Sangwan hears all too often. “It’s a heinous view to hold, but it’s the view of our religious leaders, our community leaders, our legislators,” she said. The country’s women aren’t surprised either.
The Times of India reported that in Capital city of Delhi, 70 per cent of the Rape victims are poor, and illiterate. Every week, 19 women are abducted in Delhi another 7 are raped and two are killed for dowry. And while these statistics may be depressing, they only reflect the cases brought to the notice of the Police. Officials admit that several cases are never reported.
For years now, India has been known for not just its cultural heritage and brilliant history but also for the ill-treatment of their women. Even though, this scene was changing, the number of rapes and crimes against women shows an entirely different picture.
In this report, we attempt to look at the number of rapes in certain states of India from 2012 to 2014 and also analyse the causes behind the number of rapes.
In 2012, Madhya Pradesh, as a state saw 3425 reported cases of rape which just grew in 2013 when they had 4335 reported cases to 5076 cases in 2014. This statistical data goes on to show how rapes have just increased with every passing year.
But Madhya Pradesh isn’t the only state, following are the states that have seen a steep increase in the number of reported rapes from 2012-2014:
These numbers clearly indicate the rise in rapes in the past few years. More horrifying is the fact that most of these rapes were committed by educated people such as policemen, businessmen, doctors and very low number of unemployed people, the table below will shed better light on this:
|Occupation of the assailant||Number||Percentage|
Some other data that has been found by researches done on the same topic claim:
- Majority of the rape victims are poorly educated – 35% educated up to primary school standard and 34% illiterate.
- 38% victims were of the age group 11-17 years.
- 54% victims were unmarried.
- Majority of the victims were of the lower socio-economic strata (lower castes, tribes and others)
- In majority of the cases assailants were known to the rape victims (80% in all – 34% neighbours, 25% lovers and 29% relatives).
- Though majority of the cases were of single person raping (63%) gang-rape is not uncommon (37%).
Although the problem of rape is considered serious in all countries, in India it is statistically not as serious as it is in the Western society. For example, in the United States the annual rate of rape offences per 100,000 population is about 26, in Canada, it is about 8, and in the U.K. it is about 5.5. In comparison, the rate in India is 0.5 per 100,000 population. Taking into account the number of rape cases in our country, between 1990 and 1994, it may be said that India has 30 rapes a day. Again, age-wise, the percentage of victims of rape is highest in the age group 16 to 30 years (64%), while victims below 10 years account for about 3 per cent, victims between 10 and 16 years account for about 20% and victims above 30 years account for about 13 per cent (Crime in India 1992). It is not only the poor girls who become rape victim, but also the employees belonging to the middle class are sexually humiliated by their employers. Women inmates in jails are raped by the jail superintendents, women crime suspects by the police officers, women patients by hospital personnel, maid servants by their masters and women daily wage earners by labour contractors and middle men. Even deaf arid dumb, mentally challenged, visually impaired and women pan handlers are not spared. “Women who come from the lower middle class and who are the main bread winners of their families, bear sexual abuse quietly and without protest. The victims face social stigma and disgrace and suffer serious guilt pains and personality disorders if they register protest.
Population and rape:
There have been speculations population numbers having a direct correlation with the numbers of rapes in a state but in this study, we found that there was no substantive proof for the same. Uttar Pradesh has the highest population (199,812,341) according to the 2011 census but it does not feature on the top of the list with highest rape-crimes. Assam ranks 14th in the population list but in the rape-crime list, it ranks 5th. Thus, no direct conclusion can be drawn based on population figures.
The Role of Literacy and Economic Class in Rape
There are a number of social and economic forces at work in India that also lead to the high incidence of rape. To start with, a low literacy rate is associated with higher crime rates. It is important to understand the connection between sexual violence and the ability to read and write. Many adults with limited reading and writing skills often struggle economically are unemployed or working in jobs with low pay. They are often the easiest victims of sexual violence and abuse as they are easily disadvantaged by the lack of education and access to amenities. Moreover, due to their lack of access to necessary provisions for redressal or the inability to do so due to educational backwardness, most of such rape cases even go unreported. People with low reading and writing skills often have less control over their own lives, less understanding of their legal rights, low self-esteem, and lack of leadership and ultimately a higher risk of sexual violence. Data reveals that Sex Ratio and Literacy Rate do play a role in the occurrence and reporting of Rape cases across India.
Poverty is another serious factor that abets rape in India since it is responsible for the lack of adequate sanitation facilities. The absence of toilets within the house is one of the factors contributing to the large number of rape incidents. Women, who are forced to use open fields as toilets in the dark are easy targets for rapists who being from the same village, know when and where to attack. Social hierarchy plays an important role too, especially in the rape of Dalit and tribal women, who are treated like personal property without any human rights because of their lower social standing. By analyzing data from the Indian National Family Health Survey along with an overall representative sample of 75,000 women who answered questions on accessibility to toilets in their homes and experiences of various types of violence, it was found that women in India who don’t have adequate access to sanitation facilities and are forced to openly defecate are more likely to experience sexual violence.
The analysis of the statistics in Kerala, India’s most literate state reveals baffling results due to the dichotomy between the social indicators and violent crimes. According to the data on the Kerala Police website, the number of rape cases has recorded a rise of 11.5 per cent from 2011. From 1132 cases of rape in 2011, the number has increased to 1263 in 2015. As per another report, the incidence of rape in Kerala is 63 per lakh population while the national average stands at 56.3 – thrice as high as the rate in the neighbouring Tamil Nadu (18.3). It is quite ironic as Kerala has been performing consistently better in other parameters. Not only does the state have the highest literacy rate and a healthy sex ratio (966 per 1000 men), it also boasts of the highest women’s literacy at 92%.
The high rate of crime against women in Madhya Pradesh has been defended by the administration as a higher police competence in the state where every crime is reported. Mobility of population has also been blamed for the spurt in offences.
Thus we see, the problem lies somewhere deeper than the reach of education and literacy. The concept of ‘consent’ has to be imbibed through systematic public sensitization which will lead to a change of social perspective. Unless women are looked upon as equal individuals by their own capacity with abilities to make their own choices, the problem cannot be stopped. According to a recent news article, the state of Madhya Pradesh has decided to impose capital punishment for rape offences, it might dramatically bring down the frequency of the crime but does not address the root of the problem, although it is the strictest stance the legal system can offer. Unless women are looked upon as equal individuals by their own capacity with abilities to make their own choices, the problem cannot be stopped. According to a recent news article, the state of Madhya Pradesh has decided to impose capital punishment for rape offences, it might dramatically bring down the frequency of the crime but does not address the root of the problem, although it is the strictest stance the legal system can offer.