Violence Against Women Has Increased Over The Past Decade. Have Things Even Changed Since Nirbhaya?

Violence Against Women Has Increased Over The Past Decade. Have Things Even Changed Since Nirbhaya?

Yesterday, I covered the news of a woman who was raped in UP by 5 men and was left bleeding on the ground. Not only me but also Twitter was appalled by this news and the case horrifyingly reminded people of the nirbhaya rape case which happened in 2012. Today I came across this paper by Praja Foundation which say that crimes against women have significantly increased over the past decade and this is terrifying to me. 

In Mumbai, rape cases increased by 235% (from 232 to 777) and molestation cases increased by 172% during the course of a decade, from 2012 to 2021, according to a white paper published by the nonprofit organisation Praja Foundation. According to experts, the statistics showed that more women were coming forward to report these crimes, which was a good sign. However, over time, murder cases decreased by 27%, while theft cases decreased by 16%. On the other hand, crimes related to kidnapping and abduction increased by more than 650% in a decade. According to the Praja data, 98% of abducted people were children, with the majority of them falling into the 16–18 age range.

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Every time they get a report of a missing child, the police are required under a Supreme Court ruling to file a FIR of kidnapping. Minor girl elopement cases are also reported as kidnappings. The Praja data, which shows an increase in abductions in the city of almost 650% between 2012 and 2021, reflect this. The city’s north central area, which encompasses the Vile Parle-Bandra-Kurla region, reported the most crimes throughout a five-year period between 2017 and 2021. Class II offences, which include major crimes including murder, rape, attempted murder, culpable homicide, bodily harm, etc., had a low conviction rate of 14% last year, according to data from the Praja Foundation. In reality, from 2017 through 2021, at least 95% of severe crime trials were still pending at year’s end.

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Milind Mhaske, CEO of the Praja Foundation said that their calculations show that it will take 34 years to resolve all cases pending as of 2021 after taking into account the average amount of verdicts and withdrawals made during the previous six years. Attorney Ashwin Thool said that the Covid-19 epidemic was a major factor in the high pendency rate of severe crime trials in 2020 and 2021 and the courts got busy handling pressing issues like bail and liberties as soon as the constraints were relaxed. He said that the older trials are only now, at the end of 2022, coming up for hearings.

I was around 14 when the Nirbhaya case happened. And as a child, I was absolutely terrified having heard the word “rape” for the first time. As a girl, even the notion of something this heinous happening to me absolutely scared me. Nirbhaya had caused a pretty big movement with candle marches and people coming together to demand justice for her. But was there a point? Didn’t we ultimately fail her by not only having any changes but also making it worse? And what does this mean for the women in India now?

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Priyadarshini Malavia

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