By Roshni Chakrabarty
Since 2008, 24-year-old Ravindra Kumar has raped and abused more than 30 children, killing most of them. Arrested in July, he showed no remorse and proclaimed that had he not been arrested, he would have continued on his spree.
A month before, a three-year-old girl who lives with her parents in a slum cluster in Pilanji village near Sarojini Nagar was raped and a wooden object was inserted into her private parts by unidentified assailants.
In August, a man was sentenced to seven years of rigorous imprisonment for raping his 16-year-old daughter and trying to kill her after the act. Such crimes are rampant in India. A report by the National Crime Records Bureau revealed that a woman is raped every 29 minutes. In 2012, the number of such rape cases reported was 706. The number increased to 1,636 and 2,166 in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
The major reason behind this increase in number is the awareness rush caused in India due to the wave of protests following the Nirbhaya case in 2012.
“It is only due to this awareness that many have finally understood the fact that they are victims. Unless people understand what their rights are, they wouldn’t know when they are being violated,” criminal psychologist Anuja Kapur told NewsGram.
Most sexual offenders are initially victims who have faced some sort of abuse. When they are not spoken to and counselled at the right time, they turn into offenders themselves and take revenge upon the society. “It is this vicious cycle which needs to be broken,” she added.
Sending offenders to jail without any proper steps for their reformation is not the solution. They act as a punishment only without solving the issue itself.
In 2013, Derek Medina of Miami shot his wife and posted the photo of her bloody corpse on Facebook. Whereas a murder like this is a routine affair in South Florida, Medina shot to viral fame due to his act. “You will see me in the news,” he wrote in the post accompanying the photo. While the social media boom has brought to light the range of crimes against women, the vengeful ideas are also being amplified by the same platform.
A WHO report (2013) called violence against women “a global health problem of epidemic proportion,” which is wreaking havoc on social media. Rape videos, revenge porn and gruesome photos of violence against women are splashed across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube with misogynistic comments supporting the crimes. This fuels the urge of offenders to share their exploits on a public forum.
In an age where one can get instant fame at the click of a mouse button, criminals and sex offenders turn into “copycats”, imitating gruesome crimes in order to get fame. In January, a woman was found murdered and violated with a stick, in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj. The incident was eerily similar to the December 2012 Nirbhaya case in Delhi. In the case of a gang-rape, the individuals lose awareness of their own morality and adopt a misogynistic group mindset. As a result, gang rapes are more violent and aggressive in nature.
To nip the crime in the bud, victimologist Anuja Kapur quipped, “Sensitization of the society is most essential. We have to teach our children how to take responsibility of themselves. Women need to understand that the societal norms are not going to change overnight. They should not act in a reckless manner just to prove a point.”
In a society such as that of India, which has developed exponentially within a very short span of time, a disparity is created amongst the masses as they are unable to cope with the changing roles of men and women. “When a woman changes, the nation changes.”