The fourth most common crime and the most obnoxious form of violence against women in India is rape. The increasing number of rape cases in India since the past few years, including the recent Hathras case have put light on the issues on gender and caste based sexual assaults.
This increased number in rape cases has called India to be amongst the most dangerous places to be a woman or for a woman to live. As time moves forward, the level of cruelty and degeneracy in these crimes are also increasing and what makes it more devastating is the fact that the victims from past few decades have mostly been minors. This a systematized social problem which has still not been looked into and acknowledged properly.
Let’s breakdown the problem and see what is actually wrong in the community.
Long Unresolved Related to Rapes In India
Rape in India is a non bailable offense, the penalty for which is still an elementary imprisonment in most of the cases. But people from long back have also escaped from punishments for this hideous crime due to lack of evidence or the policemen, lawyers or politicians having their back.
The problems occur when people in the country are more focused and give attention on removing caste based reservations but least attention to cast based violence.
This problem finds its root in the history of the country whose social aspect has always been a deep seated patriarchy in the society. Till this date, the female child seeing the society learns to be compliant from the beginning and this further passes on. Even the growing boys in the Indian households or society are familiar with subjugation of women within the family.
The society following patriarchal norms from long back, devalues women, showing rapes and sexual assaults as the worst symptom of that. The social issues behind this crime still remain unaddressed and the culture of escaping from them remains embedded. The fact that isn’t helping at all is that these cases still take more than a decade to seek justice. The trial and investigation done in an indecorous manner only prove to be traumatic for the victims.
Not only this discomforts women but also discourages them from reporting any kind of assault. However the cases in the category are no less where women have come forward to fight harassments and reported crimes, but police did not even register a formal complaint. The problem has exasperated with the rise in subjugation of the victim.
In most of the rape cases, the officials are just suspended or transferred if the public outrages or appropriate action is not seen to be taken. Stern actions i.e. dismissing them from their jobs permanently instead of temporarily suspending them would definitely play upright with police machinery. The police system is still not held accountable for the public.
Money in large amounts are spent on the security of the politicians in the country. Instead no effective law or scheme is run to spend money on the security of women in the public places. It is a shame that our country allows rapists to be elected backed by national parties.
Even in the presence of laws for harassments in our constitution, the system of judicial recommendations have embedded policies of exclusion. Rapes by men in uniform are often curbed down and excluded from punishment. To narrate there are many classic examples how impunity is practised in the country.
Rapes – A Matter of Myths and Misconceptions
Putting a spotlight on several surveys held recently, we will see that –
~some men believe that a woman dressed in Western clothes is morally wrong and is harassed because she is asking for it.
The primitive mindset which prevails, encourages to spread such retarded ideas.
~ If a person gets drunk then it’s their own fault if any misfortune takes place.
CHECK: Every person can drink alcohol without having to face assaults. Having sex or carrying out sexual violence with someone against their will who is very unconscious or drugged is rape and it is always the fault of the rapist.
~Women shouldn’t go out at night alone as they might get raped
CHECK: People have faced assaults in their workplace, home and many other environment settings where they have felt safe. And rapes have most probably occurred in most of the cases by the person one knows before. The risk of rape at night by a stranger is only a excuse to restrict women.
~Men are not likely to get raped.
CHECK: Sexual abuse and violence on men are no less devastating. They often get harassed by the same gender men. There are various cases to look upon as examples where men have been sexually assaulted.
~Men are most likely to commit rapes because their sexual needs are higher than those of women.
CHECK: No one needs or deserves to get raped for satisfaction of a men’s need. Men should control their urges just as a woman as rape is a hideous act of violence which in no way should be justified and there are no excuses.
The Judicial System handling Rapes
Rape victims in the country have to face substancial barriers in their demand for justice, and the fight against these harassments isnt easy because of the cold-blooded blind systems that will often blame the victims for their tragedy. The victims have to encounter uncongenial call conditions in police stations where often a lot of pressure is put on them to withdraw their cases. Most often people in power of positions undermine the authority of the police officers and threats of transfer or the fear of losing their jobs often impede officers from carrying out their duties faithfully.
Even if a case is chargesheeted by the police and sent to trial, it will pine away in the court system which faces an incredible backlog for decades. This toilsome fight for justice only adds to the victim’s trauma who not only endures the pressure from the society, accused and even from their own family.
Even if the victim manages to survive after getting past all these obstacles, it still doesn’t guarantee for justice. For reported rape crimes, the national conviction rate stands at only 25.5 percent which is much lower when compared to other cognizable crimes. A big cause behind this low conviction rate is the poor availability and mishandling of evidence; in most cases the evidence are tried to be demolished by those in power hence denying the victim of justice.
India is a secular country which means nothing is concerned with religion or caste. We live in a society where men and boys are not naturally violent, the existing patriarchal norms are what makes them insensitive. Even if every man is not a part of the problem, but every man can help to be a part of the solution. Public often outrages saying a tough law can bring about a change.
But what is exactly a tough law? Law in the country needs to be productive and the investigating systems and prosecution of the culprits more effective. Things won’t change and continue to go on as from the past, until the issue of rapes and sexual harassments becomes a problem of national pride and nationalism.