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What is the significance of rape in India and why is it such a frequent crime?

Siddhi 1: More than 31 thousand reported rape cases have taken place just in the last year, these alarming statistics have been fluctuating for the last few years but have failed to cease. If you’re a frequent news reader, you won’t be surprised to find the word “rape” within the newspaper headlines. This, in itself, clearly depicts just how common rape cases have become in today’s world. I’m Siddhi Jairath

Akanksha 1: and I’m Akanksha Kapoor. We are your hosts for today! Welcome to the second episode of the fight for rights podcast. Today we will be shedding light on the issue of rape in India, specifically discussing the reason for this crime, its impact on victims and society, and the efforts being made to address and prevent such heinous crimes.

Siddhi 2: Rape in India is a deeply concerning issue that has garnered significant attention both within the country and internationally. There have been numerous reported cases of rape, and the prevalence of sexual violence has highlighted the need for urgent action to address the problem. This is an uncomfortable topic for sure, but it's one that needs to be discussed openly to understand why such incidents occur with such an alarming frequency.

Akanksha 2: Rape is a detestable crime that affects individuals, families, and communities. Sadly, India has garnered international attention for its high incidence of rape cases. To grasp the significance of rape in India, we must examine the statistics, which indicate a pervasive issue that demands immediate attention.

Siddhi 3: Research shows that India has experienced a steady rise in reported rape cases over the years. However, it is important to note that these reported cases represent only a fraction of the actual occurrences due to various socio-cultural barriers and stigmatization which cause the underreporting of these types of crimes.

Akanksha 3: In fact, despite the sheer inhumane nature of the case type, sexual assault cases, including rape are the types of cases most frequently brushed under the carpet. An article by Mint discussed that a whopping 99.1% of all rape cases go underreported. Why is this?

Siddhi 4: The reasons for this vary, some victims shy away from reporting such crimes with the fear that they won’t be believed. Some victims even believe that the entire crime was their fault. Some quote the poor police investigation potential, while some don’t report the crime due to the perceived “embarrassing” nature of the crime. But what even causes these crimes in the first place?

Akanksha 4: To truly understand why rape occurs so frequently in India, we need to explore the root causes and discuss the impact of the same. Let's delve into some key factors contributing to this distressing reality.

Siddhi 5: There are multiple complex factors at play; Gender inequality, patriarchal norms, and deep-rooted cultural attitudes that objectify women. Lack of education, poverty, and social disparities further exacerbate the problem.

Akanksha 5: In addition, the inadequate implementation of laws, delayed justice, and societal apathy all play a role. Studies have shown a direct correlation between socio-economic status and crime rates, with a lower socio-economic status, the likelihood of committing a crime increases. This can be drawn back to lack of education caused by the unfair distribution of resources, with the rich only becoming richer and the poor only becoming poorer. People coming from a lower class have a lower education standard with some being forced out of school to help fend for their families. The ones lucky enough to complete their schooling end up graduating from schools with no sex education due to the taboo and stigmatization of the topic. To gain their knowledge they turn to the internet and people around them which in most cases provide misinformation about the subject.

Siddhi 6: In fact, a study by Jezebel showed that people coming from lower socio-economic backgrounds are more vulnerable to porn addictions as they aren’t educated on the negative implications of porn and don’t have access to educating sources to explain the taboo topic of ‘Sex’. Porn is known to be misleading as it often gives an incorrect understanding of sex. And this very lack of sex education results in several people believing that sex is exactly how porn represents it to be. When in reality, the arousal level that porn induces through extreme content is often not matched in real life intercourse.

Akanksha 6: This results in rapists indulging in violent sexual crimes just to get that same level of arousal. Surprisingly, most rapists don’t even consider what they’re doing wrong. Due to the fact that most of their education comes from the people around them and the internet, their understandings of right and wrong become distorted and they no longer understand the topic of consent. This would also mean that with a growing gap between rich and poor, the amount of rape cases and the overall rate of crime would increase as the limited rich population getting proper sexual education, while the maximzed poor population relying on porn as a mechanism of education. This is why education is vital in the process of reducing rape cases.

Siddhi 7: If you have lived in India it is no surprise to notice that Indian society carries a burden of deeply ingrained patriarchal attitudes, where women are often seen as subordinate to men. These attitudes manifest in various forms, such as victim-blaming, objectification, and restrictions on the freedom of women. The culture of silence and shame surrounding rape discourages survivors from coming forward, hindering justice and perpetuating a cycle of violence.

Akanksha 7: Although another core reason that is the harsh truth is that the main reasons for why rape happens is the extensive gap between rich and poor, the police perception on rape and sometimes, police misconduct and the societal outlook on rape victims, all of which stem back to our overall mindset as a society. Which means, the reduction of rape cases would require the complete shift in societal mindset.

Siddhi 8: The focus is rightfully on the victim, most sympathize with the victim but some tend to outrageously blame the victim. We seem to forget about the rapist altogether and no longer think of them as a person and so them committing such a crime seems predictable and almost obvious, “ye toh hona hi tha” are the words that fall through.

Akanksha 8: This is when we begin to blame the victim; be it their clothes, the time or place, it’s their fault. Victim-blaming is nothing but people overlooking the true, deep-rooted problem within society that causes rape. Blaming the victim is an easy answer, it allows them to continue without having to make any lifestyle changes to properly prevent such crimes.

Siddhi 9: Instead of blaming the victim, we should shift the focus back to the rapist. They are the committers of the crime therefore, the problem lies within, or near them. This would be the first, most basic step towards change; rightfully distributing accountability and accepting the fact that the rapist is to be blamed, not the victim. Why should they be the ones to cover-up or not be out late at night? Why are they expected to live oppressed? Why does the blame not go the other way?

Akanksha 9: Moving forward, it is important to note that what’s been done has been done and spending time blaming the victim is nothing but useless and the only action that should be taken is by the law. The legal framework and justice system play a vital role in addressing and preventing rape. What are the challenges faced in this regard?

Siddhi 10: India has made legislative advancements, strengthening laws and provisions to combat sexual violence. However, implementation gaps, limited resources, and a slow judicial process hinder effective justice delivery. Sensitization and training of law enforcement officials, as well as official reforms, are essential to address these challenges.

Akanksha 10: As well as that, due to the sensitive nature of the crime, rapists have a higher fear of losing respect within society. Rapists coming from high societies and high social backgrounds tend to get away with such crimes through bribery to escape public defamation.

Siddhi 11: The significance of rape in India cannot be ignored. It demands a collective effort from all sections of society, including individuals, communities, government, and law enforcement agencies, to bring about lasting change.

Akanksha 11: By addressing the root causes, challenging cultural norms, strengthening the justice system, and fostering education and awareness, we can strive towards a future where rape becomes an aberration rather than a frequent occurrence.

Siddhi 12: Remember, this is not an issue specific to India but one that requires global attention and action. Together, we can create a world where every person, regardless of gender, can live free from the fear of sexual violence.

Akanksha 12: Thank you so much for joining us on our podcast for today! Please do check out our Instagram page @fight4rights_official. We’ll see you in the next one!

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