India is known worldwide for its unity in diversity, rich heritage and tradition. Recent initiative of ‘Swachh Bharat’ no doubt has added to the richness of Indian culture. However, there is a need to pay attention to building a ‘Swachh society and Swacch mentality’ in order to ensure crimes against women, including rapes, are under control.
The growing rape cases and other crimes against women have been tarnishing the image of India. The Government's initiatives of ‘Beti-Bachao, Beti-Padhao’, ‘Sakhi’, ‘Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana’ and ‘STEP’ for women empowerment seem pointless.
The NCRB data of 2018 and other Government sources on rape have shocked the nation that in every 15/16 minutes a rape case is reported in India and there are a few States leading on this front. Similarly, the Human Rights Watch 2013 survey found 1 lakh minors were raped each year in India.
Further, 2017 Global Peace Index reported that India was the most unsafe country for women travellers. These apart, the NCRB data of 2019 reveals that average rape cases stand 87 daily and crime against the women rise upto 7 percent compared to 2018 data.
Therefore, starting from the Nirbhaya, Unnao, Hyderabad and to now Hathras, rape cases are only name-sake for administration and society.
Neither the Government and nor the Opposition has any solution to the existing issues of rape. Rather, they focused on stunts of shifting the blame and taking the mileage.
Analysing the world-wide data on sexual violence against women, it is also as worse as Indian situation. The World Population Index 2020 and UN Women report reveal that, all over the world approximately 35 per cent of women have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. Further as per the data available from different countries, less than 10 per cent seek help from law enforcement mechanism, while 40 per cent of women seek help only from family, friends and formal institutions for sexual violence.
Evaluating the age group of women on sexual violence, the data explained that women aged 16-19 are facing approximately four times more sexual violence and assault in comparison to the women aged 18-24.
The exact rape statistics reported by the World Population Index 2020 stands as USA 84,767, South Africa 66,196 and India 22,172 etc.The above data and reports indicate towards urgent attention from different Governments and policy makers in order to reform the existing laws on women and ensure justice to the growing rape epidemics across worldwide.
The world community has recently committed and adopted “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Agenda 2030)” in UN General Assembly in September 2015 that includes safety and security of women.
This ‘Agenda 2030’ looks for better world for women by achieving certain goals like achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation among others.The Indian Government needs to be proactive to end violence against women and achieve ‘Agenda 2030’ successfully.
The Government should ‘reconsider’ and ‘revisit’ the entire existing mechanism, legislation, policies and other social cultural evils in order to put the crime against women under check.
To my view the ‘Swachh Bharat’ is unsuccessful until we are not able to protect ‘Bharat’and ‘Mata’ completely from these heinous crimes. The term ‘Swachh Bharat’must include the ‘Swachh drive’ to clean up the very mindset towards evil.
(The writer is an Assistant Professor, Xavier Law School, Xavier University, Bhubaneswar. Ph: 9078879450/9953079450. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)