Insights into Editorial: National shame: On gender sensitisation
The outrage expressed in Parliament over the Hyderabad gangrape-murder of a veterinary doctor must translate into actions that make a tangible difference to women’s safety.
Some MPs like Jaya Bachchan overshot their ambit by prescribing patently illegal punishments like lynching and burning rapists alive.
Based on the recommendations of J.S. Verma Committee, Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 was passed, by bringing in changes to the Indian Penal Code, CrPC 1973 and others.
Key amendments were brought in to provide for death penalty for rape that led to the death of the victim or reduced the survivor to a persistent vegetative state.
Reporting of Violence against Women:
- According to WHO estimates less than 40 percent of the women who experience violence seek help of any sort.
- Among women who seek help, tend to approach family and friends and very few looks to formal institutions and mechanisms, such as police and health services.
- Less than 10 percent of those women seeking help for experience of violence sought help by appealing to the police.
- The “latest” NCRB data for 2017 which indicates that in 86% of rape cases police file charge sheets but trial courts are able to dispose of only 13% of pending rape cases with a low conviction rate of only 32%. In child rape cases, the conviction rate is 34.2% and pendency is 82.1%.
- According to the data, Uttar Pradesh reported the highest number of crimes against women whereas Madhya Pradesh registered the highest number of rape cases in the country.
- Gender Disparity is one of the deep rooted cause of violence against women that put women at risk of several forms of violence.
- Violence in any form affects not only physical, mental sexual and reproductive health of women but also adversely affects their self esteem, ability to work and make decisions about fertility.
- Violence obstructs participation of women in development and planning programs both at micro and macro level.
- An insensitive, inefficient, corrupt and unaccountable judicial system and law enforcement machinery fails to deter against various forms of crimes.
‘Panic Button’ Features:
A smartphone user can press the ‘power’ button thrice in quick succession. User of a basic or feature phone can long press ‘5’ or ‘9’ on the keypad.
In order to access an emergency service such as, police, medical and other services, a user can dial “112” from any phone. When a “Panic Button” is pressed, five calls will be made to emergency number “112”.
Call log details and the geo location of the victim will be sent by SMS and emails to Police Officials at the State, District and Local level.
Society must be to Change to not to happen these incidents again:
Due to the patriarchal mindsets, for every rape reported, there are so many which go unrecorded.
Men are more likely to perpetrate violence if they have low education, a history of child maltreatment, exposure to domestic violence against their mothers, harmful use of alcohol, unequal gender norms including attitudes accepting of violence, and a sense of entitlement over women.
National Family Health Survey-4 revealed that every third married woman had experienced physical and/or sexual violence, but only 1.5% had sought help from the police.
Proper quality education with high morals should become the responsibility of the Government. Education from childhood should involve gender sensitization.
Changes in school and college syllabi to educate young people on the social values of equality and respect for women’s autonomy is needed.
Way Forward to not to happen these incidents again:
Remedying this dismal state of affairs requires:
- Appointing more police officers, prosecutors and judges and
- Improving the training and
- Resources available to these officials.
Certainty of punishment will have greater deterrent effect than extreme punishment in rare cases.
Government must release timely data about crimes and the delays on the police and judicial side that increase pendency, discourage witnesses, and produce low conviction rates.
Since December 2012, women have pressed hard for safer streets and freedom of movement.
In the Hyderabad gangrape-murder, their voices have been heard louder. Spare us the outrage for political brownie points, produce better outcomes that keep women and girls safe.
Promote egalitarian gender norms as part of life skills and comprehensive sexuality education curricula taught to young people.
Government should think of chemical castration of convicted rapist before release from prison. At least 8 US states provide for chemical castration
Parents have responsibility in proper upbringing of the male child. Boys and girls should be raised right in an atmosphere of freedom and a culture of mutual respect.
It is important to enact and enforce legislation and develop and implement policies that promote gender equality by ending discrimination against women in marriage, divorce and custody laws, inheritance laws and ownership of assets.
The focus must be on what can be done, what is lacking currently, and constant efforts to measure outcomes. Otherwise this outrage too will pass without meaningful change achieved.
There is a need of a comprehensive and systematic research and analysis on crime against women at Central, State, district and block level.
Overall women safety related issues must be pre-empted.