Women’s safety is an issue that needs to be examined in greater detail. The governments have been trying to make India a safer place for women but it is the mentality and the type of education that people have that stops them from taking action. The safety of women has been an issue for a very long time and thus state governments and the central government have been trying to make new rules to stop perpetrators from preying on women. Even after this, the number of cases like rapes, domestic abuse, acid attacks is not reducing.
After COVID, the number of cases filed for domestic abuse and rape has increased substantially. Especially in Haryana, the rape cases have gone up and the conviction rates have gone down. Haryana governments need to dig deep into the problem and give the correct education to its citizens to break stereotypes, misogyny, and narrow-mindedness.
In 2019, according to the National Crime Record Bureau, 159 gang rapes were recorded in Haryana and 4 rape cases were filed every day. By the end of the year, 1480 rape cases were filed including gang rapes which were 14.2% more in 2018.
In the year 2020, 2000 rape cases were filed in Haryana. In April and May 2021, 206 rape cases were filed. While investigating these cases, it came to the notice of the police and the government that most victims were known to the offender, and even with a proper judicial system in place, the conviction rates were significantly low.
The above statistic is only for rape against women and does not include the rape cases that happened against minors. Anyone under the age of 18 in India is considered a minor. In the protection of children from sexual offender acts, minors are protected from predators that might lure them and are given proper justice if something would happen. Even though these acts exist, there was a rise of 69% from 2018 to 2019 in rape cases against minors in Haryana. In 2021, 4 rape cases were filed every day on average against minors. 300 rape cases against minors were recorded from April to May of 2021 in Haryana.
In a video by The Quint titled “Rape is Consensual: Inside Haryana’s Rape Culture I Documentary by The Quint” the views and outlook of the locals in Haryana are given. Throughout the video, a lot of people are heard saying that “tali Ek hath me nahi bhachti” that is, to clap one needs both hands, therefore rape is the fault of both the man and the woman, and only when both are at fault something like this can occur. A lot of attention is given to children and their thoughts about rape in this documentary are heard saying that rape is the fault of everyone involved. The children say that they have learned this from teachers and educators who tell them not to wear jeans and mingle with the opposite gender. The older members who were interviewed in this documentary say that after the age of 14-15 nothing is considered rape and everything that happens is consensual because even if a man rapes a woman, then the woman must have done something to lure the man into this act. Even police personnel is heard saying that there is a fault for both men and women in this act. How do women feel safe if the ones who are expected to keep us safe think otherwise?
Haryana gives compensation of a minimum of 4 lakh rupees to a maximum of 7 lakh rupees to rape survivors and for gang-rape, survivors receive a minimum of 5 lakh rupees and a maximum of 10 lakh rupees. This is the only amount victims are entitled to and that too only if their rapists are found guilty in court. No form of therapy or rehab is given to the rape victims to move on from their traumatic experiences, and even the money that they get as compensation is mostly used up in paying lawyers so that they can get justice. People can hire a public lawyer but there will always be extra charges here and there. The traumatic experience that women and minors go through needs therapy and rehab but they don’t have the resources or the education to execute what is right for their bodies and their mental health.
The issue of rape in Haryana needs to be resolved, be stricter and faster actions need to be taken against men who are accused of rape against women and minors. The biggest step towards battling a narrow-minded mentality is to give people proper education. Better treatment and rehab should be made easily available to rape survivors so that they can continue to grow as healthy people. Education is the only way, we can break the barriers that have been created for almost centuries, and for that, every state government will have to work hard. Patriarchy, misogyny, and victim-blaming are all in the mentality of people, and with better understanding, better exposure, and better and quality education, we as a country, can break these barriers and make India a much safer place for women.
Cover Image: Unsplash by Narinder Pal
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