|Demand of the question|
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Discuss various reasons for rising crime against women. Suggest measures for the same.
Conclusion. Way forward.
Crime against women is increasing every year. According to NCRB report, it has reached a peak in 2018. Close to 3.78 lakh cases of crimes against women were recorded in 2018, the highest since gender-wise classifications were initiated in 1992 by the NCRB. In recent years, more than 560 cases of rape reported in Delhi. Violence against Indian women is increasing and has widespread and deep roots in social psyche.
Reasons for rise in crime against women in India:
- No fear of law: Various laws like Sexual harassment at workplace, Vishakha guidelines are in place. Unfortunately, these laws have failed to protect women and punish the culprits. Even law has a lot of loopholes. For example, under Sexual harassment at workplace act, the law states that there has to be an annual report that needs to be filed by companies, but there is no clarity with the format or filing procedure.
- Lack of accountability and conviction: Lack of accountability of the law and order institutions and lack of conviction of culprit lead to increase in crimes against women. A lack of centralised mechanism to collect data on women harassment, makes it difficult to analyse patterns on harassment that women face leading to poor law implementation.
- Patriarchy: Despite the increased education levels and various government efforts like Beto Bachao Beti Padao, women status has not improved much. People are not shedding their patriarchal mindset. Honour killing, domestic violence are on rise due to increasing women’s voices that is challenging patriarchal mindset.
- Police failure: Indifferent attitude of Police leads people to take law in their own hands. Police delays and inability to catch the criminals lead to more crime against women. The state police attitude is not good in implementing laws against sexual crime. Many cases of misbehave with women by police have been reported.
- A lack of public safety: Women generally aren’t protected outside their homes. Many streets are poorly lit, and there’s lack of women’s toilets. Women who drink, smoke or go to pubs are widely seen in Indian society as morally loose, and village clan councils have blamed a rise in women talking on cellphones and going to the bazaar for an increase in the incidence of rape.
- More reporting: A recent report reveals that there is a 12% increase in sexual offences. With women shedding their shyness and more women being educated, reporting of crimes has increased. More women are raising their voice as was seen in #MeToo movement. This has led to increased reported cases as reflected in NCRB report.
- A sluggish judicial system: India’s court system is painfully slow, because of a shortage of judges. The country has about 15 judges for every 1 million people. This leads to delay in justice. The Indian justice system has failed to investigate, prosecute, and punish the perpetrators and failed to provide effective redressal for victims.
What should be done?
- Civil society participation: The role of community and state has increased to stop such crimes. Active participation of civil society against such crimes and helping state and law enforcement agencies in nabbing the criminal is critical.
- State action: State should be more proactive in police reforms. Strict action should be taken against any police officials who do not record such incidents in criminal records.
- Police reforms: The government should carry a recruitment drive for women and should focus on gender focused training in police and judiciary. There is a need to create women police stations and more women should be taken as judges.
- Judicial reforms: Women harassment cases must be resolved in a time frame. The court dealing with rape cases should be sensitive towards the conditions of rape victims and award punishments to rapists with great seriousness towards women conditions in the Indian society.
- Compensation: The need of the hour is the creation of state sponsored victim compensatory fund particularly for heinous offences including rape. This award should be totally free from the result of the prosecution that is conviction or acquittal and should come into action the moment FIR is registered or cognisance is taken of a complaint.
- Media: The media must be sensitive to the plight of the rape victim and must not highlight the name or any inference leading to the identification of the victim, as it will be counterproductive. The media must invariably highlight those cases where the offender has been convicted, as it will infuse the feeling of deterrence among the people.
- Crisis centre: Rape Crisis Centres are set up in countries like Australia, Canada, America, United Kingdom, etc. These centres provide their help through their telephonic help lines also. These centres provide the rape victims with medical help, counselling, and financial help by way of providing job opportunities etc. Such centres should be set up in India to provide for medical aid and counselling to the rape victims.
Thus, women’s crime needs to be tackled at all levels with involvement of community and whole society. Everyday women are dealing with harassment from mild to extreme forms on our streets, workplaces, public transportation, and even in homes. This needs to be stopped by active vigil in society. Women’s issues need to be tackled with strong political will and government efforts.