Trigger Warning: Mention of sexual violence
The recent Hathras rape case made me think about women’s condition in the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP). A thought occurred in my mind about why Delhi and UP are the two states that find mention in most of the rape crimes reported. Are these the only unsafe places for women? Do rapes occur only in these cities?
I feel ashamed to be an Indian citizen, and that too, from Delhi. However, our media’s sole focus on these cities is biased towards the other cities, where the number of such crimes is even higher. To understand the condition of women more carefully, I turned to the internet. I was shocked to know that India is not even in the top five countries with the most number of rapes.
And Delhi is not the rape capital of India. There are other states (often avoided by our media) that top the list. Here is my analysis of this whole situation. The reference for the following information is Rape Statistics by Country 2020 published by World Population Review. The list includes a study of 119 countries and is based on the number of rape incidents per one lakh citizens in those countries. The list does not take into account unreported rape incidents.
According to the said statistics, with a rate of 1.80% (22,172 people), India is not even in the top 10 of the list. You will be shocked to know it’s on the 96th number (in the list of 119 countries).
South Africa has the highest rate of rape cases, with 132.40% (66,196 people). According to a survey by the South African Medical Research Council, it was reported that approximately one in every four men (who were surveyed) admitted to committing rape. Seeing some of the names in the top 20 was startling for me — like Australia at rank 12 (28.6%), the United States at 14 (27.3%) and New Zealand at 16 (25.8%). Australia ranked as the world’s happiest nation (among all developed economies) for the third consecutive year, while New Zealand is the eighth happiest country in the world in 2020.
In the United States, only 9% of the rapists get prosecuted, and 3% spend a day in prison. It is disheartening to know that 97% of the rapists walk free in a developed country such as America. This is the state of a country that is the dream country for so many youngsters across the world. I didn’t know that the so-called American dream is a horrifying reality for many women there.
According to the same report, 70% of the rapes committed in the United States are by someone the victim knows. This was the worldwide picture of the (reported) rape cases that occur in various countries in the world in the year 2020.
Now, let’s talk about India, the nation (often called the rape country by many).
What is the first name that comes to our mind when we think of the rape capital of India? Delhi. Isn’t it? Well, it’s not your fault if you think so. For higher TRPs support for a specific political party, our media always focuses on the capital city more than other parts of India. The following details are based on the information available online about registered rape cases (in which either the victim or the complainant reported to the police) in India in 2019.
According to the data available, there were 32,033 registered cases in 2019 across 36 states and Union Territories. I will discuss the facts of that report regarding the total number of rape cases, and not just the overall percentage. Let me clear one thing before I disclose the truth here; I am not defending Delhi, UP or any other state here. Even if it is just a single incident, rape is never acceptable. All I am questioning is why our media only focuses on the major metro cities and forgets about other parts of the country when reporting a crime.
According to the report, Rajasthan had the highest number of rapes cases in 2019 with 5,997 registered cases, and it was distressing to see that 1,313 of them were minors (under the age of 18 years). Uttar Pradesh was second on the list, with 3,065 registered cases (270 minors). And to my disbelief, Delhi was at the 10th rank, with 1,253 reported cases (no minors) in total. I thought Delhi is what the media calls it – India’s rape capital, but there are nine states way ahead of it.
Another of these revelations came from Kerala (at #5 with 2,023 cases). The state has the highest literacy rate (96.2%) in India, as per the 2018 literacy survey conducted by the National Statistical Office, India. So, illiteracy is not the only factor responsible for the growing number of crime rates.
Not just literacy, but the state also has the highest Human Development Index (0.784 in 2018 as compared to 0.712 in 2015) in the country. The top 10 states that have the highest number of rape cases include Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Assam, Haryana, Jharkhand, Odisha and Delhi. The only two states (or rather Union Territories) with zero reported rape cases are Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Lakshadweep.
According to the World Population Review, approximately 35% of women worldwide have experienced one or another sort of sexual harassment in their lifetime.
Less than 40% of the women who have faced sexual violence seek help, while less than 10% seek help from any law enforcement authorities. The primary reason is that many women rarely report or come forward about their incidences. The exact number of rapes can be challenging to report. Women aged between 16 and 19 years are four times more likely to have survived rape or sexual assault; female college students aged between 18 and 24 years are three times more likely to experience any sexual assault; and transgender persons and people with disabilities are twice as likely to have survived sexual assault or rape.
The crux of this article is that when a rape happens, it’s not about the place of the incident or education level of people, but the sick mentality of the person who commits such a heinous crime. Every survivor living on any corner of the planet should be able to get justice, and only then will we be able to improve the condition of women across the world in the future.