Even as the Supreme Court hearing on the December 2012 Nirbhaya rapist-killer’s plea is slated for December 17, the significant rise in the crime rate against women in these seven years is a sobering pointer to how things have become worse as also to the grim and arduous battle still ahead towards making the country a safe place for its women. The government statistics are alarming: from just under 25,000 rape cases reported to the police in 2012, they rose to more than 38,000 in 2016. In 2017, on an average, more than 90 rapes a day were reported. Wrapped in these figures is the encouraging story of how more and more women are coming out and gathering the courage to call out the criminals who have abused and violated them.
The regular outpourings of public anger against the heinous rapes have slowly and steadily shifted the focus from the ‘stigma’ and ‘shame’ attached to the victim. Spotlight is rightly on the brutal monstrosity of the rapists and the need to not only duly punish them but also deter future criminals. That Nirbhaya became the ‘daughter of the nation’ was heartening as larger numbers of girls fought the stifling environment, seeking justice. No more the cowardly cowering into a dark corner for them.
At the same time, the shocking statistics reek of the abject inability of both the police and justice system and society to stem gender crimes. Haryana has the dubious tag of ‘rape capital’. As per the National Crime Records Bureau data, Haryana had 191 cases of gang-rape in 2016, the highest among all states. While the national average for gang-rapes was 0.3, it was 1.5 for Haryana. In the state, Gurugram earned the notoriety of seeing the maximum number of rape and murder cases in the last five years. Compared to last year, the Millennial City this year registered a shameful 22.3 per cent rise in rape cases in the first nine months. For every step forward taken by women, men manage to push them back half a step.
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