Friday 18 August 2017 News Updated at 10:08 AM IST
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Rise in crime against women alarming - Deccan Herald
Rise in crime against women alarming
Deccan Herald
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Provisional figures provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) point to a worrying increase in crimes against women. Around 3.51 lakh crimes against women were reported in 2016 compared to 3.31 lakh the previous year. This is a significant rise; an 11% increase. What makes last year's crimes figures all the more distressing is that it reverses a decline in crimes against women set in motion in 2014, when there were 3.40 lakh cases. The figures for 2016 exceed the number of cases reported in the previous three years. Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra reported the largest number of crimes against women. In Karnataka, crimes against women surged from 12,786 in 2015 to 14,250 last year. A breakdown of the figures shows that major crimes like rape, attempt to rape, abduction and acid attacks increased last year. Only dowry deaths dipped last year. That decline was only marginal, however.

Some would argue that the rise in crimes reported against women is because women are now coming forward to report attacks and violence against them. Greater awareness of rights and laws contributed to the increase in figures last year, they will argue. There may be some truth in this argument. After all, public awareness on reporting crimes and women's rights is growing. However, accepting this argument as an explanation for rising crimes is untenable. Women continue to be vulnerable to violence and crime whether at home or outside, on the streets, at workplaces and schools. And the MHA figures indicate that this vulnerability is rising. It calls for a robust multi-pronged approach. Although India has begun reforming laws to punish such violence, these are not being implemented fully. Police remain reluctant to register cases involving crimes against women and insensitive courts prevent women from reporting crimes. Measures to prevent crimes remain weak. For instance, no measures have been put in place to tackle patriarchal mindsets. Many of our lawmakers often make observations that lay bare their misogynist views. We continue to believe that what happens inside the home should remain there and not be reported to the police or shared with support groups.

While our movies portray stalking of women as romance and advertisements objectify women, school curriculum reinforce the perception of women as submissive. These need to change. People need to realise that stalking and aggression are not acceptable ways of wooing women but crimes under Indian law that will be punished. The number of reported crimes against women should be taken seriously by the government and civil society as what the MHA has revealed is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg. The majority of women do not report crimes. It is time we acted.