Saturday, October 17, 2015

Is India the rape capital of our world?


A toddler and a five-year-old girl are in hospital after being gang raped in separate attacks in India’s capital city of Delhi. The toddler - a two-and-a-half year old girl - was abducted in west Delhi on Friday night by two men. She was sexually assaulted before being dumped in a park near her home.
According to police reports, she was bleeding profusely when she was found. Tests showed she had been raped at least once.
"We have launched a manhunt for the suspects. So far no-one has been arrested," west Delhi police chief, Pushpendra Kumar, told AFP.
In a separate incident, a five-year-old girl was gang-raped by three men in the east of the city.
Police say she was lured to a neighbor's house where she was repeatedly raped.
Two suspects, who were known to her family, were tracked down after she returned home crying and told her parents what happened, the Hindustan Times reported.
Members of the public who found the men allegedly beat them before handing them over to police.
Three men arrested in relation to that attack were being questioned as the two children remained in stable condition in hospital this morning.


The incidents come one week after a four-year-old girl was allegedly raped before being abandoned by a railway track in the capital. The girl, who was found near her home in a poor neighbourhood in the north of the city, had been slashed with a sharp object and had severe internal injuries.
Police have arrested a 25-year-old man in connection with the attack.


The latest attacks have caused outrage in the Indian capital, with many people taking to social media to express their disgust at the crimes and India's inability to halt endemic violence against women and girls. The head of the Delhi Commission for Women, Swati Maliwal, tweeted "When will Delhi wake-up? Til when will girls continue to be brutalised in Indian capital?".


Many of us who live in the West are equally horrified as sexual assault after sexual assault unfolds in India. You may wonder “What’s wrong with that country?” "Is India the rape capital of our world?"


Think again. While rape and violence against women are a massive problem in India, more such crimes happen in the USA.  According to India's National Crime Record Bureau, crimes against women have increased by 7.1 percent since 2010. The number of rapes reported has also risen.  Nearly one in three rape victims in India is under the age of 18.  One in 10 are under 14. Every 20 minutes in India, a woman is raped.
And yet India only ranks third for the number of rapes reported each year. What country ranks first?  The United States. In India, a country of over 1.25 billion people, 24,206 rapes were reported in 2011.  The same year in the United States, a nation of 330 million, 83,425 rapes were reported. In the United States, every 6.2 minutes a woman is raped.


Even if sexual assault in India is dramatically underreported, which most likely it is, especially in rural villages, where victims of rape are often subject to shaming and considered unfit for marriage  the statistical difference is still striking—as is our uniquely American inclination to dismiss such monstrous human rights violations as problems that other countries face. Not only is violence against women a global pandemic but the United States may be leading the pack.


The encouraging fact is that while the U.S. still ranks first in the world for reported rapes, the number is declining here while statistics suggest India is moving in the other direction. In the U.S. the rate of reported rapes decreased by over 12 percent between 2002 and 2011 while it is climbing steeply in Modi's Hindutvadi India. This is a very worrying sign for India to ponder upon!

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