Gender violence

More Indian women reporting rape, but not as many men being convicted

While India has lower rates of rape than much of the world, this is not a cause for cheer, but is instead a sign of persisting under-reporting.

The reporting of crimes against women rose discernibly in the year after the Delhi gang-rape in December 2012, as indicated by data released at the end of June by the National Crime Records Bureau.

According to the Bureau’s reports on crime in India, 27.2% of all rape cases tried in court in 2006 ended with convictions. In 2013, it was 27.1%.





In 2012, the NCRB changed its base of calculating rates of reported rape. It now calculates the rate of reported rapes per 1 lakh women and not 1 lakh of the entire population. This is why the rate of rape seems to have almost tripled from 2011 to 2013.



Higher reporting of rape is likely to indicate that the social stigma against sexual violence might be decreasing, and that affected citizens are more confident about getting justice from the legal system.

But it is also important to look beyond this data. Rape statistics rarely reflect reality. Rape is among the most under-reported crimes in the world, without even considering the factors peculiar to India that influence people from reporting sexual crimes.

Indian law does not recognise sexual violence against people who are not female or children, nor does it acknowledge the existence of marital rape.

There is immense social pressure against reporting rape, whether within a victim’s social or familial circle as well or at police stations, where officers regularly attempt to turn away survivors.

In 2013, The Hindu reported that the NCRB was undercounting crimes as a whole by only recording the principal offence of a first information report. Cases that involved rapes ending in death, for instance, were being recorded only as murders, not rapes.

Given all these factors, India’s rate of reported rape is expectedly far lower than that reported in other countries.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime collected official data from 81 countries in 2010. The highest rates of reported rape in Europe and Africa were in Sweden and Botswana respectively.





These comparisons are not entirely representative. The UNODC itself acknowledges this, saying that caution must be exercised while comparing because of different legal definitions and methods of recording.

[This article has been updated to note that the NCRB changed its base of calculating rapes from per lakh population before 2011 to per lakh women from 2012 onwards. The percentage conviction for rapes in 2013 is 27.1, not 36.5.]
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

Play
Play
Play

2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.