Rape and molestation violence against women increases by six percent in India
Rise in crimes against females linked to greater independence women are now experiencing
The statistics can be read as either worrisome of hopeful; while there was a six percent increase in reported crimes against women in India - including rapes, kidnappings and dowry deaths - this can be indicative of more women willing to come forward to report these crimes.
Police attribute the rise to more women breaking their silence in the largely patriarchal, conservative country. Many are far more brave and confident that their attackers will be brought to justice.
While this is true to a certain extent, women's groups say this indicates a rise in gender violence.
"The number of women coming forward is increasing for sure, but it's still a very tiny amount, so it [the increase] can't all be attributed to that," Ranjana Kumari, director of the Center for Social Research says. The center is a non-governmental organization that works for the rights of women and girls in India. "Crimes against women have increased also."
Historical attitudes here that see women as having a lower status than men means that Indian girls and women face a barrage of threats ranging from human trafficking and sexual violence to child marriage and acid attacks, experts say.
The murder and gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in Delhi last December has galvanized women into action here. Country-wide protests for better security have sparked national debate about gender inequalities in India. As a result, parliament passed a tougher law on sex crimes in March.
The number of rapes in the country rose by almost three percent to 24,923, with Delhi reporting 706 rapes in 2012 - making it the Indian city with the highest number of rapes and confirming its reputation as India's "rape capital."
India's biggest city and business capital Mumbai, known for being more women-friendly, recorded 232 rapes last year, while IT hub Bangalore registered 90 rapes.
Overall, reports of rape, dowry deaths, molestation, sexual harassment and other crimes against women in India rose by 6.4 percent in 2012 from the previous year.
Statistics showed that 244,270 crimes against women were reported to the Indian police in 2012 compared with 228,650 in 2011, according to the National Crimes Records Bureau.
The NCRB says that most rapes reported here were committed by people known to the victims. In fact, 98 percent of those who reported rapes last year named parents, relatives and neighbors as the accused.
Many Indian women remain too scared to come forward to report rapes or domestic violence for fear their families and communities will shun them.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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