Yet another gang rape in Mumbai of a photojournalist has drawn the nation's attention to the safety of women of all ages in the country. The anger is justified and the outbursts are legitimate. As usual the electronic media has raised a hue and cry, wherein members drawn from different sections of the society express their views for giving severe punishment to the rapist including death sentence. 

The politicians play the usual blame game. The police wants police reforms. The social scientists explain the reasons why rapes take place. The lawyers state fast track courts should be set up. However there seems to be no unanimity of how to tackle the ever increasing incidences of rapes in the country. the recent legislation providing for enhanced punishments does not seem to have had any effect on the potential rapists. The incidence of rapes, surprisingly, is on the rise.

This is because the act of rape originates in the mind of the rapist and he works towards it very methodically. He does not declare his evil intentions in advance. In fact a very high percentage of these rapists exhibit normal  behavior and also lead normal lives. It is very rare for others to know about their intentions. It is therefore a problem which can not be detected in advance.

Unfortunately rape is a global problem. It exists in all countries and in all types of political structures. There is no co-relation between a particular type of political system under which their incidence increases or decreases. Similarly the economic status of a country is no guarantee against rape. It is equally widely prevalent in poor to very advanced countries. Also the level of education does not seem to prevent occurrence of rapes. Highly educated persons are also known to have committed rapes as have the uneducated persons. The provision in law of very severe punishment like death sentence also does not seem to deter the rapists. We are also sadly aware of godmen and members of many religious orders indulging in rapes to satisfy their lust.

The analysis of data on rapes in a very advanced country reveals many aspects worth considering. Data indicates that nearly 60% of the rapes take place in enclosed premises either at the rapist place or the victim's place, and 10% in premises commonly owned by both.  7% rapes take place in parties. Another 7% take place in moving vehicles and 2% in bars. Only 4% rapes take place outdoors. Around 70 to 90%% of rapes are committed by persons known to the victim in data reported from three advanced nations.

Data from India shows that the rape cases have doubled between 1990 and 2008. Small children and teenage girls are abused by family members in close-knit families. It is repeatedly stated in TV debates that nearly 90 to 95 % of rapists are either family members or otherwise known to the victim. 

In almost all countries the actual rape cases are under reported due to a variety of reasons, the most common being avoiding the identity of the hapless girl victim. This gives a high degree of protection to the rapist from either getting exposed or punishment. The society has within it confirmed rapists who are neither identified nor punished. They are thus potential repeat rapists.

In view of the above it is therefore to be noted that neither politicians nor police can stop rapes. It may appear surprising but sadly actual data suggests otherwise. The politicians can legislate tough laws. The police can do a good job of tracing the rapist. Both are post rape measures and are not preventive in nature. Therefore calling their representatives to discuss how rapes can be stopped is a fruitless activity. Not surprising that the politicians resort to blaming their rivals.

There is thus a pressing need for emboldening the girl to save herself from possible rape attempts. It may go a long way in preventing the incidence of rapes. Creating gender awareness in growing boys and teaching them to look at girls with respect has to be started immediately. Growing girls should be taught self defence exercises. Girls should avoid going to known danger areas and if at all they have to they should go in large groups. The rapists should be tried by fast track courts and convicted very fast for long periods in jail preferably for not less than 30-40 years. 

The police can help by effectively policing especially vulnerable areas. A beat system where the policeman walks the area under his control many times a day should be introduced.  Many a politician state that the way girls dress invites rape. Such politicians should be boycotted and their parties should take strict action against them. Politicians with charges of crimes against women should in no case be given tickets to fight elections. In school texts respect for women should be taught through appropriate lessons.

The above will not stop rapes but may go a long way in reducing their incidence. It is sad that rapes continue increasingly in our country.

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Comments (1)

  1. Xavier Bage

The police and politicians cannot stop rapes. A sincere effort to enforce laws against such crimes may curb to some extent. What may stop it is the inculcation of value of respect in men for women. This learning of value must start early in life.

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