Subjective Opinions or Unmissable Facts? What Makes India 'Most Unsafe' Country for Women
The clubbing of data would mean that there are more than the actual instances of rapes and sexual harassment recorded, which don’t show up in the larger figure.
News18 Creative by Mir Suhail
The most recent Thomson Reuters survey, which has been making the rounds, ranked India the world’s most dangerous country for women. The foundation posted statistics that showed how reported cases of crime against women rose by 83 percent between 2007 and 2016, with four cases of rape reported every hour.
The survey based itself on six different factors – comparing the situations for healthcare, discrimination, cultural traditions, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, and human trafficking.
Maneka Gandhi, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development, put out a statement saying that the ranking is based on a perception poll based on responses to simply six questions, and “the results are not derived from any kind of data and are solely based on inherently subjective opinions."
However, taking into account the National Crime Records Bureau data (the latest one being the 2016 figures), it is not shocking why there has been a huge spike in women-related crimes, putting India at the top of the list.
The report which separately collates data for rapes, physical body harm, and crimes resulting in death, mentioned in its methodology how “many offences were registered in a single FIR case, where only most heinous crime (maximum punishment) will be considered as the counting unit”.
This implies, that in situations like rape and murder, only murder will be counted, and in cases of domestic abuse and sexual violence that end in death, it will only be categorised for crimes under the Dowry Prevention Act.
This clubbing of data would mean that there are more than the actual instances of rapes and sexual harassment recorded which don’t show up in the larger figure – meaning the absolute number of cases India has recorded is much higher than what absolute numbers show.
Number of Cases Reported
The total number of rape cases reported in India for the year 2016 was 38,947, while the number of cases reported for assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty was 84,746.
The state-wise data shows that the highest numbers of cases were reported in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Maharasthra and Madhya Pradesh.
Cases Reported vs Convictions
From the total number of reported rape cases, only 4,739 go to the trial. The conviction rate for rape cases in 2016 was just 25.5%.
This conviction rate is very low, considering a total number of 1,52,165 (from previous years, plus 2016) cases that went to trial in 2016.
The rate of rape has also increased in India overall from 2015 by 0.2%
Crime Rates Against Women in Metropolitan Cities
In the data calculated for cities, having a population of over 2 million, Delhi ranks highest in the number of crimes committed against women, followed closely by Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, and Jaipur in Rajasthan. Patna in Bihar and Nagpur in Maharashtra rank 4th and 5th, while other major metropolitan cities like Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai rank much lower down on the scale.
For the total number of cases for investigation, the data varies, but Delhi overshoots the other by a vast majority, by having 31,930 cases followed by Mumbai which has 10,458 cases, three times lesser than Delhi.
Delhi also has the highest number of cases, which had dismissals owing to “true but insufficient information” at 2188, followed by Lucknow, which has 950 of the same.
The Thomas Reuters report also stated that India is at number one for crimes committed based on “cultural traditions” which are defined as, “acid attacks; female genital mutilation; child marriage; forced marriage; stoning, physical abuse or mutilation as a form of punishment/retribution and female infanticide.”
This proves true as there has been an increase in backlash crimes (including acid attacks and physical violence) by 0.2% from the year 2015.
Delhi ranks the highest with the number of crimes like acid attack victims at 21, followed by Kolkata and Pune and Mumbai in Maharsthra.
Physical Violence and Assault
Ministry of Women and Child Development may have pointed out how there has been a “positive change” in violent crimes revolving around women, and that may be true to some extent.
While there has been a 0.1% decline in dowry related rates, crimes like abatement of suicide in women, has increased by 9.7 and Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives has declined by 6.2% .
However, the division of crimes against women in India still remains at large dominated by physical violence and assault.
(The story is part of News18 series #BeingAWoman. This edition of the series focuses on the safety of women in both private and public spaces.)
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