Rape in India
|Effects and motivations|
Rape in India is the fourth most common crime against women in India. According to the National Crime Records Bureau 2013 annual report, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012. Out of these, 24,470 were committed by relative or neighbor; in other words, the victim knew the alleged rapist in 98 per cent of the cases.
According to 2012 statistics, New Delhi has the highest number of rape-reports among Indian cities, while Jabalpur has the per capita incidence of reported rapes. Several rape cases in India received widespread media attention and triggered protests since 2012. This led the Government of India to reform its penal code for crimes of rape and sexual assault.
Compared to other developed and developing countries, incidence rates of rape per 100,000 people are quite low in India. The National Crime Records Bureau suggests a rape rate of 2 per 100,000 people. This compares to 8.1 rapes per 100,000 people in Western Europe, 14.7 per 100,000 in Latin America, 40.2 per 100,000 in Southern African region and 28.6 in the United States.
Marital rape is not a criminal offense in India unless the victim is separated from the perpetrator. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA),a Common law Act, provides protection against marital rape under statutes of domestic violence, in all states and union territories of India except Jammu and Kashmir.
- 1 Definition of rape per Indian penal code
- 2 Rape statistics
- 3 Notable incidents
- 4 Legal position
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
Definition of rape per Indian penal code
In recent decades, before February 3 2013, the Indian penal code defined rape under Article 375 as:
§375. Rape. A man is said to commit "rape" who, except case hereinafter excepted, has sexual intercourse with a woman circumstances falling under any of the six following descriptions:-
First. –– Against her will.
Secondly. –– Without her consent.
Thirdly. –– With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested in the under in fear of death or of hurt.
Fourthly. –– With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband, and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married.
Fifthly. –– With her consent, when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent.
Sixthly. –– With or without her consent, when she is under sixteen years of age.
Explanation. –– Penetration is sufficient to constitute the sexual intercourse necessary to the offence of rape.Exception. –– Sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.
The above definition excluded marital rape, same sex crimes and considered all sex with a minor below the age of 16 as rape. Effective February 3 2013, the definition was expanded to include same sex crimes and raised the age of consent to age 18. Rape is now included as a crime of sexual assault, which is currently defined for the purposes of Indian penal code as:
§375. A person is said to commit “sexual assault” if that person – (a) penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina, mouth urethra or anus of another person or makes the person to do so with him or any other person; or (b) inserts, to any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being the penis, into the vagina, the urethra or anus of another person or makes the person to do so with him or any other person; or (c) manipulates any part of the body of another person so as to cause penetration into the vagina, urethra, anus or any part of body of such person or makes the person to do so with him or any other person; or (d) applies his mouth to the penis, vagina, anus, urethra of another person or makes such person to do so with him or any other person; (e) touches the vagina, penis, anus or breast of the person or makes the person touch the vagina, penis, anus or breast of that person or any other person, except where such penetration or touching is carried out for proper hygienic or medical purposes under the circumstances falling under any of the following seven descriptions:––
First.–– Against the other person’s will.
Secondly. –– Without the other person’s consent.
Thirdly. –– With the other person’s consent when such consent has been obtained by putting such other person or any person in whom such other person is interested, in fear of death or of hurt.
Fourthly. –– When the person assaulted is a female, with her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes to be lawfully married.
Fifthly.–– With the consent of the other person when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by that person personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, the other person is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that action to which such other person gives consent.
Sixthly. –– With or without the other person’s consent, when such other person is under eighteen years of age.
Seventhly. –– When the person is unable to communicate consent.
Explanation 1.–– Penetration to any extent is “penetration” for the purposes of this section.
Explanation 2.–– For the purposes of this section, “vagina” shall also include labia majora.
Explanation 3.–– Consent means an unequivocal voluntary agreement when the person by words, gestures or any form of non-verbal communication, communicates willingness to participate in the specific act: provided that, a person who does not physically resist to the act of penetration shall not by the reason only of that fact, be regarded as consenting to the sexual activity.Exception.–– Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under sixteen years of age, is not sexual assault.
Even after the 2013 reform, marital rape is not a crime in India. However, it is considered a form of prosecutable domestic violence under different sections of Indian penal code, such as Section 498(A) as well as the Articles of Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
According to National Crime Records Bureau of India, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012, while the 5 year average over 2007-2011 was 22,000 rapes a year. Adjusted for population growth over time, the annual rape rate in India has increased from 1.9 to 2.0 per 100,000 people over 2008-2012 period. This compares to a reported rape rate of 1.2 per 100,000 in Japan, 3.6 per 100,000 in Morocco, 4.6 rapes per 100,000 in Bahrain, 12.3 per 100,000 in Mexico, 24.1 per 100,000 in United Kingdom, 28.6 per 100,000 in United States, 66.5 per 100,000 in Sweden, and world's highest rate of 114.9 rapes per 100,000 in South Africa.
Total reported number of rape crimes in 2012 were highest in Madhya Pradesh, followed by Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Among major cities, Delhi reported the highest number of rapes in 2012, followed by Mumbai.
Adjusted for population, the rape rate per 100,000 people was highest in Mizoram (10.4), followed by Tripura, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Assam. Among major cities, Delhi's rape rate of 4.1 per 100,000 people was highest in India. The rape rate per 100,000 people was lowest in Gujarat (0.98), followed by Bihar, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The highest number of victims, and majority of victims, were in the 18-30 year age group. Overall 96% of the rape cases led to charges and the offender being prosecuted. However, Indian courts completed the trial process of an estimated of 14,717 rape cases in 2012, while many cases remained pending in its trial process.
Rape of minors
Rape of minor, that is someone below the age of consent, is a form of statutory rape. Of all rapes, 12.5% of total or 3,125 rape victims in India were a minor. For a comparative perspective, 17.4% of total or 15,700 rape victims were a minor in the United States.
Using a small sample survey, Human Rights Watch projects more than 7,200 minors – 1.6 in 100,000 minors – are raped each year in India. Among these, victims who do report the assaults are alleged to suffer mistreatment and humiliation from the police. Minor girls are trafficked into prostitution in India, thus rape of minors conflates into lifetime of suffering. Of the countries studied by Maplecroft on sex trafficking and crime against minors, India was ranked 7th worst, between China (1st), Russia (11th) and Indonesia (14th).
Estimates of unreported rapes
Most rapes go unreported because the rape victims fear retaliation or humiliation - in India and the rest of the world. The estimates for unreported rapes in India vary widely. Madiha Kark estimates 54% of rape crimes are unreported; in contrast, Mihir Srivastava estimates 90% of rapes go unreported in India. In the United States, official estimates claim between 65% to 73% of rape cases go unreported every year. A University of Surrey study estimates 70% to 90% of rapes go unreported in the United Kingdom; while a UN study of 57 countries estimates just 11% of sexual assault cases worldwide are ever reported.
The Brahma Kumaris were founded in the 1930s and supported by a female leadership who believes those who are celibate and meditate will enjoy the fruits of paradise following the imminent destruction of the world.
In March 2004, a 59-year old Australian Brahma Kumari adherent Dawn Griggs was murdered and raped on her way to the sect's headquarters in Mount Abu. A senior homicide police official described Ms Griggs's killing as "savage". She was the third expatriate woman in a period of a few months but the first to be killed. Ms Griggs was carrying $8,000 to take to them when she arrived in India. Thorns were embedded in her palms and the soles of her feet were cut, indicating she put up strong resistance. In 2008, The rape and murder of English teenager Scarlett Keeling brought international attention to cases of rape in India.
A Russian national working in India claimed that she was raped by a Goan politician on 1 December 2009 after having dinner with him that evening. Shantaram Laxman Naik, an MP of the Indian National Congress, occasioned widespread disapproval, when he said, "...an alleged rape of a lady who moves with strangers for days together even beyond middle of the night is to be treated on a different footing." Mamata Banerji stated that free interaction between men and women today has led to these crimes.
The gang rape of a 23-year old student on a public bus, on 16 December 2012, sparked large protests across the capital Delhi. She was with a male friend who was severely beaten with an iron rod during the incident. This same rod was used to penetrate her so severely that the victim's intestines had to be surgically removed, before her death thirteen days after the attack.
The following day, there was an uproar in the Indian parliament over the incident. MPs in both houses had set aside their regular business to discuss the gruesome rape case and demanded strict punishment for those who carried out the attack. Leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, demanded that "the rapists should be hanged". Thousands of people, mostly young, participated in a massive demonstration in 22 December in protest. Police announced that six men suspected of rape had been arrested. As a result of this incident, the government has promised speedy trials in cases of violations. It will improve the lighting of roads and public transport and there will be more police patrols to ensure the safety of women. Ruchira Gupta, founder of Apne Aap Women Worldwide writing for The Hindu after the death of the young girl on the bus has said that she has "seen the steady creeping in of a rape culture into the fabric of India" It has been estimated that up to 100,000 children go missing each year, with the majority of them being sexually abused. The Justice Verma panel has said this is due to a rape culture and that missing children are trafficked, sexually assaulted and that the police are complicit in these crimes.
In 2012 Bikram Singh Brahma was accused of raping a woman in the Chirang district of Assam. He was caught by villagers who heard the woman's screams. He was stripped of his shirt and beaten by locals and was suspended from the ruling Congress party.
In March 2013 a Swiss couple who were cycling from Orchha to Agra, were physically assailed by 8 locals, the man was overpowered and tied up while the 39-year old woman was gang-raped in front of her husband at a village in Datia District where they decided to camp for a night.
In August 2013, a 22-year-old photojournalist, who was interning with an English-language magazine in Mumbai, was gang-raped by five persons, including a juvenile, when she had gone to the deserted Shakti Mills compound, near Mahalaxmi in South Mumbai, with a male colleague on an assignment. This caused protests throughout the country since Mumbai with its very active night-life was previously considered a safe haven for women. Justice was delivered quickly with a city sessions court handing out the death penalty to the three repeat offenders in the Shakti Mills gang rape case, making them the first in the country to get the maximum punishment stipulated under the newly-enacted Section 376E of the Indian Penal Code. 
In May 2014 two girls aged 14 and 16 were gang raped in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The girls were then hanged from a tree. At least two police officers were suspected of involvement in the crimes.
Jammu and Kashmir
There have been allegations of rape and mass rape in Jammu and Kashmir. Reports have shown that rape has been carried out by both Indian armed forces and Islamist militant groups. In 1991, the 4 Rajputana Rifles unit are alleged to have entered the village of Kunan Poshpora and raped between 30 and 100 women aged between 13 and 70. The Indian government carried out three inquiries into the allegations and concluded that it had been a hoax.
The rapes by Islamic militants have been reported since the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. On 22 October 1947, Pashtun militants invaded Baramulla in a Pakistan army truck, and raped women including European nuns. In March 1990, Mrs. M. N. Paul, the wife of a BSF inspector was kidnapped, tortured and gang-raped for many days. Then her body with broken limbs was abandoned on a road.
The International Commission of Jurists have stated that though the attacks had not been proven beyond a doubt, there was credible evidence that it had happened. In 2011, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) asked for the reopening of the case.
Extremist and Terrorist organisations such as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen and Harkat ul-Ansar have been accused of carrying out rapes. The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front have been accused of ethnic cleansing by using murder, arson and rape as a weapon of war to drive out hundreds of thousands of Hindu pandits from the region. Following the rise of rapes by the terrorist organizations, HRW has submitted that the victims of raper suffer ostracism and there is a "code of silence and fear" that prevents people from reporting such abuse. According to the HRW, the investigation of case of rape by militants is difficult because many Kashmiris are reluctant to discuss it for the fear of violent reprisals.
Human rights groups allege that the Indian armed forces under the protection of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 have carried out a large amount of rapes in the Nagaland, Assam and Manipur provinces. In August 2013, a School Teacher in Arunachal Pradesh was arrested for raping fourteen underage girls in a hostel where he was warden. The sexual exploitation allegedly continued for over 3 years, until one of the girls filed a police complaint.
There is wide discrepancy among reports of rape and sexual assault. For example, according to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), the majority of those assaulted in 2007 were poor women from remote areas and Dalits. SR Darapuri of the PUCL alleged, "I analysed the rape figures for 2007 and I found that 90% of victims were Dalits and 85% of Dalit rape victims were underage girls." Darapuri allegations do not match with the data compiled by National Crime Records Bureau of India, which found 6.7% of rape and sexual assault victims were Dalits in 2007, where nearly 16% of Indian population is classified as Dalit.
In recent years, variety of rapes have taken places during the communal riots. During the post 2002 Godhra train burning, in the certain parts of Gujarat, rape was carried out by rioters. Thirteen rape and assault cases were reported during the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.
Indian law was expanded in 2013 to consider rape as any acts like penetration by penis, or any object or any part of body to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a woman or any person or making her to do so with another person or applying of mouth to sexual organs without the consent or will of the woman constitutes the offence of rape.
The section has also clarified that penetration means "penetration to any extent", and lack of physical resistance is immaterial for constituting an offence. Except in certain aggravated situation the punishment will be imprisonment not less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. In aggravated situations, punishment will be rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
A new section, 376A has been added which states that if a person committing the offence of sexual assault, "inflicts an injury which causes the death of the person or causes the person to be in a persistent vegetative state, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean the remainder of that person’s natural life, or with death." In the case of "gang rape", persons involved regardless of their gender shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than twenty years, but which may extend to life and shall pay compensation to the victim which shall be reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim.
Certain changes has been introduced in the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 and Indian Evidence Act, like the recording of statement of the victim has been made more friendly and easy, character of the victim is irrelevant for consideration, presumption of no consent where sexual intercourse is proved and the victim states in the court that there has been no consent. The age of consent in India has been increased to 18 years, which means any sexual activity irrespective of presence of consent with a woman below the age of 18 will constitute statutory rape. Although, the decision of death penalty for the most extreme rape cases was approved by the Indian parliament.
Marital rape is not a criminal offense within Indian legal framework, except during the period of judicial separation of the partners. In the 1980s, women's rights groups lobbied for marital rape to be declared unlawful, as until 1983, the criminal law (amendment) act stated that "sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age is not rape". The government officials argued that the contract of marriage presumes consent to sex and that criminalising marital rape in turn would weaken family values in India.
The Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) considers the forced sex in marriages as a crime only when the wife is below 15. Thus, marital rape is not a criminal offense under IPC. The marital rape victims have to take recourse to the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA). The PWDVA, which came into force in 2006, outlaws marital rape. However, it offers only a civil remedy for the offence.
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA) which came into force in 2006, provides protection against marital rape or other forms of sexual perversions and domestic violence. However, it offers only a civil remedy for the offence.
Potential abuse concerns
In April 2013, Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat noted that the legal principle of reliance on the sole testimony of the victim had become "an easy weapon" to implicate anyone in a case of rape. Justice Kailash Ghambhir of the Delhi High Court stated that penal provisions for rape are often being misused by women as a "weapon for vengeance and vendetta" to harass and blackmail their male friends by filing false cases to extort money and to force them get married.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rape in India.|
- "The rapes that India forgot". BBC. 5 January 2013.
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