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Gaps in the implementation of the domestic violence act: Ranjana Kumari

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New Delhi: There are gaps in the implementation of the domestic violence act and insufficient funds for it, Centre for Social Research (CSR) director and activist Ranjana Kumari said at an event organized by her organization and Oxfam India to discuss 10 years of Protection of Women against the Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) in India on Tuesday.

Statistics show an alarming decline in the number of cases registered and an improper budget allocation for the implementation of the act.

“(There is) 50 percent decrease in the number of protection officers for the implementation of the act in the country. These are serious problems which need to be addressed on a priority basis.” she added.

Speakers highlighted the glaring gaps in the implementation of PWDVA and the various problems surrounding it including lack of awareness amongst many others.

In 2013, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported 309,546 cases of violence against women of which 118,866 were cases of domestic violence. In 2014, NCRB for the first time published data on the act, with only 426 cases registered under the act for the entire year.

Prof. Bijayalaxmi Nanda of Miranda House said: “People generally do not report on verbal abuse. They do not report much on mental abuse as they would do on physical abuse.

I believe if there are good, progressive judgements (on domestic violence cases) which can be highlighted (and) if women start recognizing that they have a right to dignity.. then that becomes the first step.”

CSR and Oxfam India plan to prepare a memorandum with action points specific to each component of the act and send it to the prime minister’s office. (IANS)(Picture Courtesy:wukeli.bokerb.com)

 

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Crimes Against Women Perpetrate in Every two Minutes: NCRB Analysis

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Crimes against women in India
Father, left and mother, center of the Indian student victim who was fatally gang raped on this day three years back on a moving bus in the Indian capital join others at a candle lit vigil in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. VOA
  • Any kind of physical or mental harm towards women is deemed as  “crime against women”
  • Domestic violence is the most dominant crime against women
  • Andhra Pradesh state is the highest to report crimes against women in the period of ten years

Sep 20, 2017: A report released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) suggests that crimes against women have increased violently in the last ten years with an estimated figure of  2.24 million crimes. The figure is also suggestive of the fact: 26 crimes against women are reported every hour, or one complaint every two minutes, reports IndiaSpend analysis.

The most dominant crime against women with 909,713 cases reported in last decade was ‘cruelty by husbands and relatives’ under section 498‐A of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

‘Assault on women’ booked under section 354 of IPC is the second-most-reported crime against women with 470,556 crimes.

‘Kidnapping and abduction of women’ are the third-most-reported crime with 315,074 crimes, followed by ‘rape’ (243,051), ‘insult to modesty of women’ (104,151) and ‘dowry death’ (80,833).

The NCRB report also listed three heads, namely commit rape (4,234), abetment of suicide of women (3,734) and protection of women from domestic violence (426) under which cases of crime against women have been reported in 2014.

Andhra Pradesh has reported the most crimes against women (263,839) over the past 10 years.

Andhra Pradesh state is the highest (263,839) to report crimes against women in the period of ten years. Crimes reported for insult (35,733) ranks first followed by cruelty by husband relatives (117,458), assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (51,376) and dowry-related deaths (5,364).

West Bengal (239,760) is second most crime against women state followed by Uttar Pradesh (236,456), Rajasthan (188,928) and Madhya Pradesh (175,593).

Abduction increased up to three folds over the recent years,  with Uttar Pradesh being the worst affected state. Cases rose from 15,750 cases in 2005 to 57,311 cases in 2014.

Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter @Nainamishr94


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What Gives Husbands The Licence to Rape? Decoding Marital Rape in the Indian Legal Scenario

Can there be two different definitions of rape? Can there be a differentiation between the rape of a married woman and the rape of an unmarried woman?

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Marital rape
While most of the developed world has penalized marital rape, surprisingly it is yet to be categorized as an offence in India. Pixabay
  • Cases of sexual violence, including rape, fall within the larger realm of domestic violence
  • Marital rape is yet to be categorized as a criminal offence in India
  • According to the central government, criminalizing marital rape “may destabilize the institution of marriage”

New Delhi, September 2, 2017 : Baby works as a domestic help; she says she cannot recall her age when her parents married her off to a man who was much older to her; a man she barely knew. She didn’t anticipate her husband would demand to have intercourse on their wedding night. She was still young and not ready, but that didn’t stop him. Baby was raped by her husband on her wedding night. But marital rape means nothing to her.

Sunita irons clothes for a living. She says has been married for more years than she can remember. The duo has four kids together, but that doesn’t stop her husband from raising a hand or two on her, every once in a while. Every night, her husband would get drunk, hit her and forcefully demand to have sex, paying no heed to her resistance. Sunita has three daughters, and a son, and the husband still wants to have progenies. “I told my mother that this man has raped me multiple times. She protested, arguing that he is ‘your husband’ after all,” she said.

But did she never decide to approach the authorities?

To this, Sunita promptly replied, “I once had a sore eye after he (the husband) hit me with his shoe when I refused to have sex. I went to the local hospital and then the police. I narrated the entire scene; they were very considerate, offered me water and then asked me to go home and ‘adjust’.”

Sunita is unaware of a term called ‘marital rape’.

This is the reality of a huge part of the society in real India.

Like Baby and Sunita, women who suffer such indignities are often asked to “adjust” with perpetrators of violence because of a deep –embedded fear of what the society would say. This notion of an ‘ideal woman’ impedes women to object to illicit treatment meted out by their ‘better halves’.

The debate around the issue has become ripe once again with the Central Government stating that what “may appear to be marital rape” to a wife “may not appear so to others”. In an affidavit to the Delhi High Court, the central government took a stand against criminalizing marital rape saying that it “may destabilize the institution of marriage” and also become easy tool for harass the husbands and the in-laws.

Rape v/s Marital Rape

Rape is defined in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, but with an irregularity: “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape.”

While rape is addressed as perforation without a woman’s accord in its main clause, the only remedy to forced intercourse provided to ‘married’ woman is specified under Section 498-A of the IPC and the civil provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestiic Violence Act.

Following the horrific 2012 Nirbhaya rape case that brought the entire world to a standstill, the Indian media has given paramount coverage to instances of rape across the country. But even after 5 years of the gut-wrenching incident, there seems no end to this crime.

ALSO READ The Hardships of Sexuality: Marital rape, violence and humiliation

Cases of sexual violence, including rape, fall within the larger realm of domestic violence. However, rape by husbands within holy matrimony continues to remain an obscure subject in India and the exact number of cases is hard to gauge.

According to a 2015 report by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) tracing the proximity of offenders to the victims of sexual violence, it was revealed that in 95 per cent of all rapes, the offenders were familiar to the survivors. These, presumably include acquaintances, friends, relatives and colleagues.

And what about rape committed by husbands?

These cases continue to be an under-reported crime in India. This can be attributed to two major reasons,

  • Because of the stigma associated with it
  • Because of the presence of a defunct justice system

Furthermore, more often than not, these cases go missing because of several additional (and unnecessary) barriers stemming from a combination of familial and/or social power structures, shame and dependency.

Marital Rape In India

While most of the developed world has penalized marital rape, surprisingly it is yet to be categorized as an offence in India.

A United Nations’ report titled ‘Why do some men use violence against women and how can we prevent it?’ published in 2013 disclosed that nearly a quarter of 10,000 men  in Asia-Pacific region, including India, admitted to have indulged in the rape of a female partner. The report traced their rationale to a deep-embedded belief that they are entitled to sex despite the consent of their partners.

The study also revealed that the majority of these instances were not reported and the perpetrators faced no legal consequences.

In 2014, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in association with International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) brought out a report titled ‘Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India’. Among other things, the report analyzed the average Indian male’s understanding and interpretation of the idea of ‘masculinity’ and how that molds their interactions with women.

Not surprisingly, the study revealed that a typical man in the Indian society associated the attributes ‘tough’, and ‘controlling’ with masculinity.

Segments of the present day Indian society continue to look at men as tough forces, who can (must) freely exercise their privilege to establish rule in personal relationships and above all, continue to control women.

Additionally, the study also revealed that 60 per cent of the Indian men disclosed the use of physical violence to establish authority.

In India, stiff patriarchal norms continue to tilt the gender balance firmly in the favor of men, as a result of which, women are forced to internalize male dominance in their lives.

Marital Rape in India : A Legal Perspective

Section 375 essentially distinguishes between two categories of women

  • Married women
  • Unmarried women

Much to the Indian society’s disappointment, the Indian legal system denies protection from rape to the married woman. This creates discrimination as the women belonging to one section are denied justice merely by virtue of being married.

But can there be two different definitions of rape? Can there be a differentiation between the rape of a married woman and the rape of an unmarried woman? Is it justified to discriminate a woman just because she is married to the man who has raped her?

The Debate Around Marital Rape In India

Despite the piquant situation, the issue raised furor when Minister of State for Home, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary told the Parliament that the question of criminalizing marital rape in India has no relevance “as marriage is treated as sacred here.”

Does marriage being a sacrament provide one with the legal right to rape a woman?

South Asia director at Human Rights Watch Meenakshi Ganguly had retaliated saying that it is particularly concerning when a government that claims to secure the safety of women inside and outside national territory shamelessly turn to justify a crime in the name of culture and tradition.

Group director of social and economic development at the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) Priya Nanda asserted in an interview with a leading portal that “the reason men don’t want to criminalize marital rape is because they don’t want to give a woman the power to say no.”

In 2013, a three-member commission headed by Justice J.S. Verma suggested remedial measures to combat sexual violence in India, following the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case. One of its recommendations was the criminalization of marital rape.

ALSO READ Reasons Why Marital Rape Should Be Recognised as a Criminal Offence

The recommendation was ignored by the government as a large amount of people questioned its efficiency saying if made a crime,

  • It might be misused by people
  • It will be difficult to prove
  • It might break up marriages

But, how fair is it to not have a law against marital rape, only because of the reason that it is ‘difficult to prove’?

In a broader understanding, it needs to be understood that the criminalization of marital rape must not be viewed as a step against men or the institution of matrimony, but as an attempt to demolish the patriarchal system that continues to clutch the Indian society.


 

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413,457 People were victims of natural and unnatural “Accidental Deaths” in India in 2015: NCRB

A total of 413,457 people were victims of natural and unnatural "accidental deaths" in the country in 2015, according to the NCRB.

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Tsunami hit area in India, Wikimedia

New Delhi, Jan 12, 2017: A total of 413,457 people were victims of natural and unnatural “accidental deaths” in the country in 2015, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

Deaths due to forces of nature have been termed as “natural accidental deaths” while deaths blamed on the deliberate or negligent conduct of humans is termed in official records as “unnatural accidental deaths”.

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According to the NCRB compilation of “Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India 2015”, the 413,457 deaths in this category in 2015 amounted to 47 deaths every hour.

This was a decline of 8.5 percent from the 2014 figure of 451,757 accidental deaths.

The number of accidental deaths due to causes attributable to forces of nature — lightning, heat/sun stroke, exposure to cold, flood, landslides, avalanche, epidemic, torrential rains and forest fire — have crashed by 48 per cent.

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And deaths by unnatural causes including traffic accidents, drowning, accidental fire, electrocution, air crash, stampede, mines disaster, deaths during pregnancy, killed by animals, illicit liquor, snake bites and food poisoning decreased by 6.6 per cent in 2015 over 2014.

Of the 413,457 accidental deaths, 10,510 (2.5 per cent) were due to natural causes, 336,051 (81.3 per cent) due to unnatural causes and 66,896 (16.2 per cent) due to other causes, it said.

The age group of most victims was between 18 and 45 years. This group accounted for 59.7 percent of all unnatural deaths in 2015.

Females and males constituted 20.6 per cent and 79.4 per cent respectively of the victims. Every one of nine victims who suffered accidental deaths were children — below 18 years of age.

A total of 37,081 senior citizens (60 years and above) also got killed in various accidents in 2015.

Maharashtra reported the highest number of 64,566 accidental deaths or nearly 15.6 percent of the total followed by Madhya Pradesh (40,629), Uttar Pradesh (36,982), Tamil Nadu (33,665) and Gujarat (28,468).

The highest rate of accidental deaths took place in Chhattisgarh (75.1 per cent) followed by Puducherry (73.4), Maharashtra (54.2), Madhya Pradesh (52.7), Haryana (48.8) and Tamil Nadu (48.7).

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A total of 1,624 incidents of consumption of illicit spurious liquor caused 1,522 deaths in 2015. Most of these deaths were reported in Maharashtra (278) followed by Puducherry (149), Madhya Pradesh (246), Chhattisgarh (140), Uttar Pradesh (125) and Haryana (115).

At least 58 cases of accidental fire in trains were reported during 2015 which caused 59 deaths in the country.

A total of 69,372 accidental deaths were reported in 53 mega cities. Mumbai reported the maximum number (8,286 or 11.9 per cent) followed by Delhi (5,930), Pune (4,665), Chennai (3,952) and Bengaluru (3,733). (IANS)