Crimes against women

Ram Rattan Sharma
Woman in today’s world has created a distinct place for her self . In India , women were respected even in Ancient times. The Vedas and the epics have upheld the equality of men and women. During the medieval period, the position of women deteriorated. The dowry system, Sati and Purdah system downgraded women. The British brought along with them western education. This led to the empowerment of women. After Independence, sadly, crimes against women have taken varied forms. These include female feticide or infanticide, dowry deaths, eve-teasing, molestation, abuse at work place, domestic violence and rape.
The world health organization has prepared a world report on violence and health. Even in a developed society like the USA the statistics on the women, victims of violence are alarming. Nearly 22 percent of women in the USA have reportedly been physically assaulted by an intimate partner or beaten at least once. In a national survey, 14.8 percent of women over 17 years of age reported having been raped atleast once in their life time. About 45,000 to 50,000 women and children are trafficked annually to the USA. The national crime records bureau registered a case of cruelty by husbands and relatives every nine minutes. The crime graph against women has been going up every year.
Violence against women has the tacit approval of society all over the world. Crimes against women stem from the fact that men, even today cannot accept them as their equal. They are not ready to accept the fact that women can earn more money respect and social eminence than them and are breaking every glass ceiling with the passage of time. The term rape is defined as forceful sexual assault on a women against her will. However there are quite a few obstacles in delivering justice to the victim.
In 2011, national crime records bureau released reports which show that rape is India’s fastest growing crime and has increased by 873.3% since 1971. Delhi retained its tag of the country’s rape capital topping the list of 35 major cities in the country reporting the highest numbers of rape cases in 2010. Mumbai was next to Delhi followed by Pune, Jabalpur, Bhopal and Jaipur. Crimes have continuously increased during 2010-2014. Activists believe the tide of growing rape cases is, not working diligently handled by the investigation agencies. This could in fact be contributing to increasing incidences of rapes The process of reportage, apprehension, trail and conviction is seem to be weak. Several women’s organizations have been demanding changes in rape laws to widen its umbrella and incorporate stringent punishment. In most verdicts, the accused is usually let off for lack of evidence. Hence the fear of law does not come as a potent force that can deter man from committing such a shameful crime. We have to begin by changing our perception of women as a domesticated being without a voice. If we want to make society safer for women then approach has to be multi-dimensional. We have to tackle the issue of women liberation from the social, legal and procedural points of view. The police must also build an image of trust worthy force, so that people can readily seek their help rather than fight shy of them.
Indian laws laid down upto 10 years of imprisonment for various sexual offences, including rape. But the system is such that even this sentence is rarely awarded. Apart from rape, women suffer from various other forms of crimes and abuse. Domestic Violence where a women is subjected to cruelty and inhuman treatment common in India. According to the National, Family Health survey, nearly two in five married women have experienced physical and sexual violence at the hands of their husbands. According to the National family and health survey-3, Dowry related violence, and abuse are quite common and sometimes even murder is committed. Women are sometimes harassed in offices, public places, during travel. Unfortunately most of these cases go unnoticed as the victims are too scared to complain. While others around them are too callous about it to raise a voice.
Financial empowerment of women not only enhances their security, but also instills confidence in them . Domestication of women have turned them into house maids and child bearing machines. Women have to attain the freedom to get educated, pursue a profession and have control over their income, the Govt. needs to take necessary steps to start more women’s colleges and institutions with job oriented courses so that women become moreself reliant and thereby escape exploitation.
Adding new laws have seldom solved social problems, we need a social awakening, which has to be brought about by the people themselves. The entire mindset of Indian society in general has to undergo a drastic change so as to eradicate this scourge. Social reformers should devote sometime to educate people and make them aware that it is inhuman to ostracize a rape. The police should be sensitized, so as to be ready to cooperate. One is given to believe that in future, crimes against women would decrease greatly and would finally disappear. It is important to understand that women is a man’s partner, matching strides with him and that she deserves equal power and respect.
(The author is former Dy Librarian University of Jammu)


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