THE UNLUCKY RAPE SURVIVORS


ALI SUKHANVER

“The super power of the world USA is at the first position in the race of rapes,” said a report compiled two years back. It further said, “Males are majorly the rapist holding a proportion of 99%. Out of all the victims, 91% are females while 9% are males.” The U.S Bureau of Justice Statistics states in a report that 91% of rape victims are female and 9% are male, and nearly 99% of rapists are male. According to the National Violence against Women Survey, 1 in 6 U.S. women and 1 in 33 U.S. men has experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. More than a quarter of college-age women report having experienced a rape or rape attempt since age 14. Out of all, only 16% of the total cases are reported. Outdoor rape is not common in USA rather most of the rape cases take place inside homes.” But encouraging is the fact that the US government has always been doing all its best to put a check on these incidents. The culprits involved in this heinous crime are tackled with iron hands. New laws are being formulated and the law-department tries to settle all rape-related issues urgently on priority basis. If the US government were no so keen about putting a check on the increasing number of rape-incidents, the situation could have been much more horrible.

It is also a reality that the countries where rape-criminals are punished severely and without any delay, situation is far better there. For example rapists in Iran are sentenced to death, sometimes by hanging but sometimes allegedly also by stoning. The punishment for rape in Saudi Arabia is a public beheading after administering the rapist with a sedative. In Afghanistan convicted rapists are shot in the head within 4 days or hanged to death depending on the judgment handed out by the court. Unluckily India has the worst record and worst repute with reference to the rape victims. In most of the cases, the culprits remain scot-free. A very painful fact about India is that rape survivors there face significant barriers to obtaining justice and critical support service. Human Rights Watch said in a recent report, “Legal and other reforms adopted since the gang rape and murder of a student, Jyoti Singh Pandey, in Delhi in December 2012 have not been fully realized.” According to the report ‘women and girls who survive rape and other sexual violence often suffer humiliation at police stations and hospitals. Police are frequently unwilling to register their complaints, victims and witnesses receive little protection’.

Barkha Dutt is a renowned Indian television journalist and author. She has authored a very authentic book on serious issues which have become a threat to the Indian society. The name of her book is ‘Unquiet Land: Stories from India’s Fault Lines.’ In one of the chapters of her book she has pointed out the sorry plight of the women victim of rape in India. She says that even the educated and well off women are victims of harassment and abuse. It is ironical that Indian Judicial system in such cases does not give relief to victims. She has referred to a court case in which a low caste woman went to court against her culprits but the judge mercilessly acquitted the accused by saying that an upper caste man would not rape someone of a caste he considered untouchable. So horrible is the situation regarding rape and abuse of women in the Indian society.

Meenakshi Ganguly is the South Asia Director at Human Rights Watch. She said in a comment on deteriorating and worsening situation of women rights in India, “It takes time to change mindsets, but the Indian government should ensure medical, counseling, and legal support to victims and their families, and at the same time do more to sensitize police officers, judicial officials, and medical professionals on the proper handling of sexual violence cases.” Government’s inefficiency in dealing with the culprits involved in rape crimes is, in other words, giving a free hand to the rapists in India. And this inefficiency is patronizing those also who are involved in women- trafficking. According to the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, there were nearly 5,000 reported victims of sexual trafficking in India in 2013. Apart from other crimes against women, acid throwing, honor killings and dowry deaths are also very common in India. The people there are so much frightened of the women-related crimes in India that they go for abortion in case they get news of having a baby girl. According to 2006 UN report everyday 7,000 baby girls were aborted or killed right after birth in India.

The story does not stop here. The government of India is using rape as a weapon too. In the Indian Occupied Kashmir, every year, hundreds of innocent local girls are raped by the officers of the Indian forces forcibly deputed there. In Jammu and Kashmir, rape has always been used as a weapon of war against the Kashmiri population by Indian security forces. A recent report on the sexual exploitation of women in the Indian Occupied Kashmir says, “The frequent rape of Kashmiri Muslim women by Indian state security forces routinely always goes unpunished. Many women become victims to rape and sexual assault in Indian Held states of Jammu and Kashmir. It is the responsibility of the international NGOs to raise their voices against this wickedness.

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