Violence against women has become a prominent topic of discussion in India in recent years. Politicians and media have placed great focus on the issue due to continuously increasing trends but so far nothing concrete could have been done to stop these types of violence against woman.
More than 9,700 cases of atrocities against women, including domestic violence and rape, have been registered since April 01, this year. So far, many cases have been registered with the National Commission for Women this financial year. As per the State and Union Territory-wise data, Uttar Pradesh has seen the highest number of women rights violation cases so far this financial year at 6,110, followed by Delhi (1,179), Haryana (504), Rajasthan (447) and Bihar (256). Together, in the last three financial years and so far this fiscal, the total number of such cases in Uttar Pradesh stood at 44,328. The National Commission for Women has registered 16,584, 22,422, 32,118 and 9,786 cases of violation of rights of women in 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 (till date), respectively. Whenever these issues hit headlines, government officials and concerned ministry gives an eye wash and hush hush the data.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, reported incidents of crime against women increased 6.4 per cent during 2012, and a crime against a woman is committed every three minutes. In 2012, there were a total of 244,270 reported incidents of crime against women, while in 2011, there were 228,650 reported incidents. Of the women living in India, 7.5 per cent live in West Bengal where 12.7 per cent of the total reported crime against women occurs. Andhra Pradesh is home to 7.3 per cent of India’s female population and accounts for 11.5 per cent of the total reported crimes against women. 65 per cent of Indian men believe women should tolerate violence in order to keep the family together, and women sometimes deserve to be beaten. International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) Questionnaire reported that 24 per cent of Indian men had committed sexual violence at some point during their lives. A dowry death either murder or abetment to suicide of married woman is great concern.
The majority of these suicides are done through hanging, poisoning or self-immolation. When a dowry death is done by setting the woman on fire, it is called bride burning. Bride burning murder is often set up to appear to be a suicide or accident. Dowry is illegal in India, but it is still common practice to give expensive gifts to the groom and his relatives at weddings which are hosted by the family of the bride. Women are not always the only primary victims of dowry deaths. In some cases children are also killed along with their mothers. In eastern India, on January 30, 2014, for example, a women and her one-year-old child were burned alive for dowry. Incidents of dowry deaths have decreased 4.5 per cent from 2011 to 2012. However, abusing and molestation of married woman and marital rapes increased with modern era.
An honour killing is still a fashion in Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. UP and Bihar’s conservative family murder their family members who brought dishonour and shame to their family and reasons for honour killings include the refusal to enter an arranged marriage, committing adultery, choosing a partner that the family disapproves of, and becoming a victim of rape. Honour killings are rooted to tradition and cannot be justified by any major world religion, because none of the major world religions condone honour-related crimes. Honour killings are very violent. For example, in June 2012, a father chopped off his 20 year old daughter’s head with a sword in pure rage upon hearing that she was dating a man whom he did not approve of. Such killings are openly supported by both local villagers and neighbouring villagers. This was the case in September 2013, when a young couple who married after having a love affair was brutally murdered.
Murders of women accused of witchcraft still occur in India. Recently, two women were beaten to death in West Bengal. The victim is always a single helpless woman. Another most common and known factor is female infanticide which is the elected killing of a newborn female child or the termination of a female feotus through sex-selective abortion. In India, there is incentive to have a son, in contrast, daughters are considered to be a social and economic burden.
Even today, women are not safe in India. Every single day young girls, mothers and women from all walks of life are being assaulted, molested, and violated. There is an unspoken war on the streets. Girls and women cry in silence and most of them don’t complain even to their family members about the incidence. Young school and college going girls use books to shield themselves, other women wear full-covered attire to protect their bodies. We don’t need to look at statistics to confront the horrid truth. News stories of women from all over India being raped, beaten, killed are flashed across us day after day – and we all are aware of it. We also know that no government is bothered about these happenings.