Safety concerns for women have been grave from time immemorial in India, social evils so deeply entrenched that are difficult to eradicate.
In all these years, not enough is done to raise women out of their shackles of abuse. While most Indians argue that they are speaking up for women, or others insist that women are very free in India, they are not thinking of the millions of women in rural areas whose voices we never hear, weeping, and faces we never see.
Acid attacks, dowry deaths, female fetus infanticide, sexual abuse, rapes, domestic violence, child trafficking, and so much more have destroyed Indian women. The girl child is still considered a demerit even among educated Indians.
In fact, there is mostly silence on heinous crimes against women over thousands of cases because the cases are tremendous and we have become immune, we just can’t keep up! Initially, when Nirbhaya was raped in 2012, the Indian Media pledged to cover crimes against women but abandoned the “project” for reasons only known to them.
In a recent case in Delhi the capital, when a minor, a 9-year-old was allegedly raped, murdered, and then cremated, no one raised their voices except the people in the area. The matter caught Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi’s attention and he paid a visit to the grieving family. Suddenly, India took note of the heinous crime, but this raised a lot of criticism from the ruling party, which evidently led to the blocking of his Twitter handle.
The areas of the greatest concern of crimes against women were poverty-stricken areas such as Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Uttar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, and West Bengal. The state within India which has the most child trafficking is Assam, holding 38% of the nation’s cases.
Human trafficking hit a three-year high in 2019 as Maharashtra tops the list followed by Delhi according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Delhi where a total of 608 cases were registered in 2019 had the second-highest number of trafficked minors at 536. From 2017 to 2019, Delhi reported the second-most cases of trafficking of minors among the states and Union Territories (UTs).
The national capital was also the only place in the country, among 36 states and Union Territories, where human trafficking cases took place with the aim of ‘removal of organs’. Four of such cases were registered in Delhi.
In 2019, Rajasthan saw the highest number of cases where minors were trafficked. Out of the total 653 cases, 636 pertained to boys and the remaining 17 to girls.
Rapes have Increased
It is said in India, every eight minutes, a woman is raped, perhaps the frequency has increased. Data reveals that 93 percent of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim. Even though many rapes are not reported in the country. Although reports of rape have increased in recent years, it was still associated with shame for the victim, rather than the perpetrator.
Series of heinous sadistic crimes of rape and murder of women accompanied with body mutilations, slitting of necks, strangulation, and burning women alive after raping them have become incessant barbaric occurrences over the last few years. In 2019, we saw dozens of live videos of violent attacks on women in Uttar Pradesh and some other States in India, circulated on social media, which of course, later were restricted.
On December 7, 2019, a 23-year-old girl from Unnao in Pradesh, a rape victim was burned alive by five men while on her way to a court in Rae Bareli to attend a hearing in her rape case by the same men who raped her in December
Just recently, on Friday, August 14, 2020, horrific violent rape and brutal murder by strangulation of a 13-year-old girl occurred in the Lakhimpur Kheri District, Uttar Pradesh by two men. The 13-year-old girl’s body was found in a sugarcane field that belonged to one of the accused, quite close to a police station.
On 4 June 2017, brutal gang rape of a 17-year-old girl in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh was committed. This rocked the country as the Bharatiya Janata Party-led party legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar was charge-sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
On 27 May 2014, gang rape and murder of two teenage girls were reported in the Katra village of Budaun district, Uttar Pradesh. According to reports, in the evening the girls had gone out into a field used for defecation and did not return. Villagers searched for the girls throughout the night and they were found the following morning hanging from a tree and discovered they had been raped and then hanged on that tree.
While India has been characterized as one of the “countries with the lowest per capita rates of rape” due to the population of over a billion, we have to keep in mind that thousands of cases are unreported and unrecorded due to the shame factor associated with rape on women. Unreported rape is far higher and Indians just cannot think it is all okay, looking at statistics compared to other countries, we have a serious problem.
It looks like sheer hypocrisy when Indians run a hashtag on Twitter showing their deep concen for the women of Afghanistan while the same top people in the government have rarely spoken for a woman in India, nor have the Women’s Mahila’s ever raised a movement powerful enough eradicate these evils.
While it is important and necessary to show solidarity and raise voices of concern for Afghanistan, Indians are walking on eggshells when they speak out vociferously for the women in Afghanistan without ever trying to abolish the atrocities and brutalities committed to Indian women.
Privileged Indians have no idea of the horrors the majority of women undergo in rural regions and it is for them that we should speak. Today is Raksha Bandhan, and it is important that men too, promise to protect HER. Every woman is somebody’s sister, daughter, mother.