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Modi Govt.’s ‘Genius’ Move To Solve ‘Rape Crisis’ – Slash The Funding!

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By Shambhavi Saxena:

In what comes as a shockingly regressive move, the budget for national rape crisis centres has been slashed from Rs 244.48 crore to Rs 18 crore, because of the Modi-government’s insistence that one independent centre to 640 districts in India, and 20 more for the 6 metropolitan cities is a waste of money. This means, India will have only 36 rape crisis centres for each state and its union territories to deal with a systemic problem in our society. Once again, that’s 36 RCCs for a population of over a billion.

anti rape

Even at a glance, the decision seems absurd, not just in terms of how little importance the problem of rape merits for the present government, but also in terms of practicality. Jagmati Sangwan of the All India Democratic Women’s Association said: “If a woman is raped in Jaisalmer, say, she will not go to a crisis centre in Jaipur.”

While the Prime Minister waxed eloquent on women’s empowerment and safety in his Independence Day speech, his and his government’s true attitude to the same is self-evident. How different are they, then, from the previous Congress-led government, when it comes to effective response to rape and other forms of sexual violence/assault?

Rape crisis centres offer a safe space for counselling, rehabilitation, medical examination and legal aid. The RCC proposal of June 2014, made provisions for lodging FIRs as well video-conferencing facilities, and is supposed to be geared towards protecting and ensuring justice for victims. It is truly heartbreaking to think that cutting down so dramatically the number of RCC’s available to victims of sexual assault can only mean that a large percentage of them will not receive the care and justice they deserve. It was hoped that with sophisticated infrastructure to handle rape cases, the first step towards eliminating rape culture would have been taken. As it is, one cannot know just how many instances of sexual violence go unreported for whatever reason. Compounded with the fact that corruption exists and the legal system moves at an excruciatingly slow pace, it appears we’ve hardly moved forward from square one, since Nirbhaya.

One has to ask why steps like these are taken to disadvantage the very people who are meant to benefit from RCCs. One must also question the logic behind budget cuts for these matters, while public money is gaily spent on, say, more ineffective coal projects, or gigantic statues. Are we to allow such a decision to slide, and pretend it does not affect us? Or are we to ensure our representatives act keeping our needs and best interests in mind? I would argue the latter.

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  1. Aditya

    The budget is yet to be presented and the newspapers/JNU junta have already got the details….Wow

  2. Monistaf

    I actually think the cuts are aligned with the empirical evidence for rape in India. Based on the National Bureau of Crime Records report for the year 2013, of the nearly 6.67 million violations of the IPC, approximately 34000 were rapes. This puts it at 0.5% of the total crime. I am as much against rape as everyone else, but unlike most feminists out there, I also feel that there is a lot of other crime where victims deserve equal sympathy and compassion. Even just recognizing rape against men and boys would be a good start. Legally, men and boys cannot be raped in India, because IPC section 375 defines rapes in terms of male perpetrators and female victims. In the spirit of gender equality (Dictionary definition) I would challenge the feminists in India to recognize that rape is a crime that can affect both genders and fight for victim rights regardless of gender instead of trying to bolster their own victim complex by building more crises centers exclusively for female victims. As if, no one else or no other crime matters!!

    1. Shambhavi Saxena

      Please remember that in many cases that do get registered, justice is not meted out for various reasons. The figures available to the public are of cases that are reported. Rape is a problem that is extremely under reported because of stigma, threats and more violence, and also women wanting to avoid the hassle of snail’s pace justice and corruption etc. And I remind you that I have stated very deliberately “36 RCCs for 1bn PEOPLE, not ‘women’, because I recognize that persons of any gender can be rape victims. Feminists have been long fighting to change problematic laws, and believe us, we’re doing our best, but to our chagrin change comes very slowly. Rest assured that the fight will continue, and we demand the original 660 RCCs to provide for any and every individual subjected to rape.

      I thank you for your comment, but there is no need to deflate the urgency and importance of this issue by pitting it against ‘other crimes’.


    2. Monistaf

      @Shambhavi, thank you for your response and while I agree with you that there are plenty of cases where rape goes unreported, it is just as true of other crimes as well. However, informed and policy decisions can only be made based on empirical or observed data. Feminists in India are vehemently opposed to changing section 375 to acknowledge that victims and perpetrators can come from both genders. Also, there is not a single RCC in India that will even admit or help a male victim of rape, so yes, the centers are dedicated for women only, not “people” like you point out, because, apparently, men are not people. Moreover, if male rape is not acknowledged by law, how will a RCC help a male victim, because, legally he cannot be raped!! The conviction rate for rape in 2013 was 27%. That is 27% of 34K which is less than 10,000 rapes in India that can can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, in a court of law. While, I agree that it is 10,000 too many, for a population of 550 million (Because remember males do not count) it is hardly a crisis and let us stop making it one.

  3. Prasenjit Banerjee

    Somehow Filial Rape ( in Family) is not reported nor covered by Media. The Girl Child is told by the unable Mother “He will Love you like me, you have seen it before no?” Social bodies’ must have to take Anti Filial Rape stand to Protect the India’s Girl Population Please

    1. Shambhavi Saxena

      It is my hope that one day, these other forms of rape are also accommodating the law. Police rape and land-lord rape took many years to be recognized by law, and only sustained and collective agitation against marital rape, family or filial rape etc can bring an end to this horrendous system.

      Thanks for reading, and for the comment 🙂

  4. gk

    The womens department of Marxists is really busy trying to safeguard government job prospects for its subversive members. Anybody following western political history will know how the power hungry vested interests use identity politics in the name of ‘caste/dalit/gender/race/class/national/religious’ identities to secure livelihood and political power by misleading the public and making them pay for their own enslavement. The deracinated pseudo-secular elite are ready to be local franchisees for any social/color revolution designed in West.

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