New Delhi, April 24
India needs to do more to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 5 of eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls, with the largest decadal study on scale of sexual violence painting a grim picture.
In all, 15,97,466 rape-related cases were recorded in the country between 2001 and 2018 by the National Crime Records Bureau.
The number of cases rose from 59,945 in 2001 to 1,33,836 in 2018 — an increase of 70.7 per cent in the rate of all rape-related crimes between the two study years.
“Most of the 70.7 per cent rise in all rape-related crimes was witnessed after the Nirbhaya gangrape case of 2012,” study authors write in a research article published in the leading health services journal BMC Health.
The research documented the following crimes under the broad rape-related crimes — assault with the intent to outrage the modesty, rape and insult to the modesty of woman — and found that the largest proportion of crimes was recorded in the assault with the intent to outrage the modesty of woman category followed by rape.
“The cited offender in rape cases was for the majority a close known person (44.3 per cent) or other known person (43.1 per cent). By the end of 2018, only 9.6 per cent of the cases had completed trials, with acquittals in 73 per cent of cases,” the study reads.
The rate of all rape-related crimes in Indian states ranged from 1.8 in Bihar to 49.4 in Odisha per 1 lakh women and girls in 2018, with this rate being slightly but significantly higher in the low socio-demographic index (SDI) states as compared with the middle and high SDI states.
Almost all of the increase in the rape-related crime rate seen between 2001 and 2018 was after 2012 (56.4 per cent increase between 2013 and 2018), the authors say, attributing this to rise in reporting rather than increased incidence of these crimes. The rise in public discussion of crimes against women and the legal changes following the Nirbhaya case of December 2012 encouraged victims to report the offence.
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