When the religion of the perpetrators becomes more important than the crime of rape itself, then you know you are witnessing a civilisational breakdown.
To find evidence of the epidemic of violence against young girls and women gripping India, you have only to flick through your newspaper.
In the recent past: Two minor sisters, 13 and 15, gang-raped at gunpoint in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh (UP). In Singrauli district, Madhya Pradesh, an eight-year-old gang-raped by two boys aged 15 and 16. Also in Madhya Pradesh, near Bhopal, a 10-year-old girl first murdered, then raped and sodomised.
These are a fraction of the horror stories in a country where, according to National Crime Records Bureau data for 2016, not updated since, 19,764 rape cases were registered — an 82% jump in rape cases from the preceding year, with the worst rise in UP where figures have trebled. These are, of course, reported cases in a country where, according to Mint, 99% of sexual assault goes unreported.
Continue reading “India’s child rape crisis”
In IndiaSpend: Anti-trafficking activist Sunitha Krishnan, one of three finalists for the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity spoke to me on sex slavery, rehabilitating victims of sex trafficking and death for raping children.
New Delhi: She’s dodged an acid attack, had a fatwa issued against her and survived 17 separate physical assaults. But Sunitha Krishnan, 46, doesn’t seem to be the sort of person to be easily disheartened. The founder of Prajwala, an organisation that describes itself as a “pioneering anti-trafficking organisation working on the issue of sex trafficking and sex crime”, has just been chosen as one of three finalists for the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, a global humanitarian award established to recognize modern day heroes. The prize-winner gets $100,000 (Rs 66.3 lakh) and an additional $1,000,000 (Rs 6.63 crore) to distribute to organisations doing humanitarian work.
Continue reading “Children don’t seem to be a priority in this country”
In response to public outrage against a spate of reported rapes of children, the government has now brought in an ordinance that imposes death to anyone convicted of raping a girl below 11. Why I think this ordinance won’t work, and what I think will.
The remarkable fact about recent Indian law-making, particularly when it comes to crimes against women, is that it seems to be based entirely on public emotion.
Public anger against the gang-rape of a physiotherapy student in December 2012 led to tough new amendments to the law against sexual violence.
It was public anger again – media folklore had it that the juvenile rapist in that crime was the ‘most violent’ — that led to the lowering of the age of delinquency from 18 to 16. What if the rapist is aged 14, asked one MP, Anu Agha. Notwithstanding that objection, Parliament voted to reduce the age in line with public opinion.
Continue reading “Laws by public emotion”
In Hindustan Times: Recent gang-rapes and our reaction to them tell us how far we’ve descended in six years after Nirbhaya.
When we allowed our anger to spill over into the streets following the December 2012 gang-rape of a physiotherapy student, we didn’t ask about her religion. We didn’t put labels on our fellow protesters’ ideology. And we certainly didn’t entertain any of the usual questions about what she was wearing and why she was out after dark.
Our collective anger resulted in a new law and while we believed that mindset change would take longer, we trusted that it would inevitably follow.
Yet, how far we’ve descended in six years became clear as news of the premeditated gang-rape, torture and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua began to gain traction. Continue reading “No country for women”