The reputation of the family seems to be at stake when a woman’s dignity is tarnished. Society often pretends to have a soft corner for the victim but somewhere in that room of sympathy, criticism lies the tendency to corner ‘Her’ to the state of despondency. Shouting slogans and candle march have become a ritual in order to show condolences and support but as time passes, it fades away.
Hundreds and thousands of women and now even children are not being spared from these atrocities. If it is about a few numbers, then it might not be of much concern, but the actuality is a lot different and is known to everyone.
Coming to the real statistics, numbers are far more than reported. The unforgettable 16, December 2012 incident which shook the country to the core has somehow pulled up awareness and tightened investigations. But the continuous increase in such crimes has landed India in the list of most unsafe countries for women. The reported crimes have been going up consistently besides which, a bit of conviction rate has improved. As per the reports of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) there has been a slight decrease in the rates of the pending rape cases from 35.9% in 2012 to 31.5% in 2013.
However, this does not mask the slow judicial process which often blocks the way to justice. As per the data in 2016, total 3.38 lakh crime cases had been reported of which rape cases made up to 11.5% only. One out of four rape cases end up in conviction, which is actually a slow road to justice in our country.
What else can be expected? Nearly 30% of all legislatures have criminal background. A recent study released by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) shows that the most numbers of MPs/MLAs with the cases of crime against women are from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) followed by Shiv Sena and the All India Trinamool Congress. In a country where lawmakers are lawbreakers getting justice for the victim is like accomplishing Mt. Everest.
When the comparison comes at the global level, India’s average report constitutes to 6.3% only. But the reality is far different from the records. Cases suffer from under-reporting, most of the cases of sexual violence go unreported due to lack of awareness and education. If reported then it would land India among the nations with the highest levels of crimes against women.
However, in recent years, a massive jump in reporting against sexual violence has been witnessed, mainly due to outrage created out of the unfortunate Nirbhaya case. With the increased awareness, the reported crimes against women increased concurrently.
Another horrific Kathua case in which an 8-year-old girl was brutally tortured and gang-raped by a group of men in Jammu had drawn widespread condemnation. Following this brutal murder of a minor, it compelled the Cabinet to amend ‘The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act’ which enforces the death sentence for the accused in charge of rape of a child below 12 years.
To speed up the trial process, government came up with an idea of having fast-track courts (FTC). Over 14 states are still don’t any such courts despite releasing funds for building FTCs.
New laws have been enforced for guarding rights of women, children, big promises during elections and painful speeches have become common tools to gain support and garner votes.
It’s a perplexed situation where we can say we have better reporting of the rape cases but parallel to it, our criminal system remains vulnerable to political pressures and lets accused to walk free. In our society, we still feel that this is not of a major concern. We are living in an era where the mainstream parties are successful in setting the mind-sets of society to believe that issues like love jihad, temples or religions stand at greater importance than this.