Rape is one of the most heinous and most despised crimes since the inception of the concept of the crime itself. According to 2013 annual report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012. In the year 2015, the number of reported rape cases increased to 34,651. Statistics show that for the last 5 years, the rate of rape incidents committed in India has increased by 277, and as of now, about 92 women are raped every single day in India. The biggest mystery that lays unanswered is the cause of this much surge in the rate of this abominable crime, that too amidst a culture that worships women as Gods.
The primary problem lies in the mentality of the patriarchal Indian society wherein a woman is considered inferior to men. It lies in the thought that a man has the right to rule over the body, mind, and soul of a woman; that a woman is incomplete without a man. It lies in the thought that a woman dressed “provocatively” wants to be raped. A woman going out to discotheques and pubs, drinking, smoking or going out with a group of boys is considered to be an easy catch. She is labeled to be characterless, “a bad woman” and is considered to be giving an “invitation to rape”.
The question that arises in the mind of male individuals upon women’s freedom is: “She is a woman. How can she?”. On parallel lines, a man dressed fashionably is cool. He is a dude if he drinks and smokes and has girls swooning around him. How does the society justify this? The mentality that a man must prove his manhood by getting laid with a girl. This patriarchal mentality itself is the main cause of the increasing rape scenario. The root of all causes lies in this cheap mentality. Of course, it is not true for all sectors of the Indian society and cannot be generalized, but it stands true for a majority of the cases.
However, the things have begun to change. The confidence has made women come out of silence and speak up against crime. They have started to report the rape and molestation attempts they have faced with enough guts. It is not that earlier there were lesser rape attempts, but women wouldn’t come up and report them. Awareness amongst women in this regard has truly helped. Moreover, it is the realization that they have had enough of it. Loopholes still exist in our lawmaking system which as of now does not recognize “marital rape”.
There are opinions amongst the public that the main reason for increasing rates of rape is a lack of proper punishment. For example, in a very notoriously popular case from Kerala, the Soumya rape-murder case, the death sentence granted by the High Court of Kerala was commuted into a life imprisonment, on the basis of a few trifling twist of facts. Then again later in the Delhi rape case, the culprit who is said to have been the cruelest to the victim, was given lighter punishment, considering he was a few months away from attaining majority. Even though the Juvenile Justice Act was amended to overcome these types of situations in the future, the above said incidents along with many other innumerable examples, are causing the public to lose faith in the Indian Justice Administration system, which probably increases the crime rate as well.
In March 2013, a Swiss couple who were cycling from Orchha to Agra decided to camp for a night in a village in Datia District. There they were physically assaulted by eight locals, robbed, the man was overpowered and tied up, while the 39-year-old woman was gang-raped in front of her husband at the village. The Swiss government issued a travel advisory in 2013 about the “increasing numbers of rapes and other sexual offenses” happening in India. Rape cases against international tourists have led several countries to issue travel advisories that “women travellers should exercise caution when travelling in India even if they are travelling in a group; avoid hailing taxis from streets or using public transport at night, and to respect local dress codes and customs and avoid isolated areas”,which is a serious blotch on the face of India in front of the international community.
“women travellers should exercise caution when travelling in India even if they are travelling in a group; avoid hailing taxis from streets or using public transport at night, and to respect local dress codes and customs and avoid isolated areas”,
India is losing its self-respect due to these uncouth acts of certain Indians, which is far worse than losing an image before other communities. India which was once known for its diverse cultures and natural beauty is now known for its intolerance towards women, other communities and the overall rise in the crime rates.
In India, it always takes a very large Issue to address certain areas which should be thought of at the time of legislation. For example, it took Visaka v. State of Rajasthan to address the sexual harassment at workplaces and it took a Delhi rape case to reconsider the definition of juvenile. All these aspects had to be thought of by the so-called lawmakers, who are more interested in prospering their own wallets instead of prospering the society. As a result of the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case, the Indian government implemented a fast-track court system to rapidly prosecute rape cases, which again was supposed to be done earlier.
The conviction rate for rapists has fallen at a steep rate over the past 40 years. Out of all the rape trials in India, only one out of four leads to a conviction. The conviction rate for Rape cases in India was 44.3 percent in 1973, 37.7 percent in 1983, 26.9 percent in 2009, 26.6 percent in 2010, 26.4 percent in 2011, 24.2% in 2012 and 27.1% in 2013.
So the question that every Indian must ask himself is that whether he should be an actual Indian, by holding up the values of our country, one of the most ancient civilizations in the world, or to be an uncouth barbarian, destroying the very fabric of Indian Culture, the respect for women. No law can lay waste to any evil that cannot be destroyed by sheer human will.