Sexual assault on women is a common phenomenon in our country. Under sexual assault comes; molestation, eve-teasing, child sex abuse, rape, marital rape, domestic violence.
Of all these crimes, Rape is the most violent crime which is committed against women. According to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, Rape means an unlawful intercourse done by a man with a woman without her valid consent.
Rape outrages a woman’s modesty. After a rape incident, a woman lives a pathetic life which includes fear, depression, guilt complex, suicidal action and social stigma.
In recent times, Rape incidents have increased manifold. According to statistics, two women are raped in the country every hour. If further statistics are to be believed, every 10 hours a girl of age 1-10 is being raped in India.It appears that the rapists are not scared of laws. Also, cases are being reported where minors and elderly women are being raped. The recent incident which shook the nation was the gang rape of a 23 year old para-medical student in a moving bus on the streets of Delhi.
The cruelty which was shown towards the girl by the rapists filled every Indian with wrath. So much so was the anger, that thousands of people poured into the streets to demand justice for the young lady.
The protests compelled our leaders to sit up and think and now amendments of the laws concerned with sexual assault on women our underway.
Every day the newspaper reports of rape incidents. In majority of rape cases the accused is known to the victim. The accused may be a friend, a relative, neighbor.
Some cases are a rude shock to humanity like that of a five year innocent girl being raped by her neighbor. Not only he raped her, but damaged her internal organs beyond cure. Some cases have come into light wherein teachers have raped their students.
The important question which arises when we talk of rapes is what causes rape. Why rape cases are increasing at an alarming rate? First and the foremost cause of increasing rape cases is the lack of public safety. Women are not safe outside their homes and why only outside they are not safe even inside their homes.
A number of cases have been reported wherein the guilty has committed the crime in the very house of the victim. Rapes are being done in moving vehicles also which raise a question on the effectiveness of the traffic system of our country. Another important reason is the dearth of police officials and female police officers in particular. According to the Times of India, there is 1 officer for every 200 citizens.
Studies show that rape victims are more likely to report sex crimes if female police officers are available. Lack of female police further aggravates the problem.
Another very important reason is a sluggish court system of India and few convictions. India’s court system is painfully slow and for rapes that do get reported, the conviction rate is not more than 26%.
As the accused is not convicted, others think that they can go around freely and rape whosoever they like. Stigmatizing the victim and encouraging the victim to compromise gives a further impetus to this horrendous crime.
In many rural areas, the victim is pressurized to drop charges against the guilty. Not only this they are encouraged to marry their rapist by telling them that nobody will marry them now and it will bring shame to her family.
In recent times, prominent leaders and experts have blamed women’s clothing as responsible for increasing rape cases which is totally wrong. No clothing is an invitation to rape
The dire need of today is to curb this violent crime. The most important step to be taken in this direction is the strengthening of laws dealing with sexual assaults.
Death penalty should be imposed on a rape accused.
A woman’s squad should be formed in every district which would exclusively deal with problems of women.
Fast track courts must be established so that justice is given as early as possible.
Some NGO should start Rape Crisis Centre where victim can approach by calling a toll-free number or physically visiting the local centres. Such centre should play a vital role in supporting rape victims to cope up with the psychological trauma and also guide them to obtain legal remedy.
Women are wonderful daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers. They should be loved, cared, respected and should be protected