If you thought that the recent spurt of rapes in the city is a rather disturbing trend, here’s some food for thought. A study carried out by the city police, for internal use by its officials, reveals that 74 per cent of the total number of rapes reported to the police since 2008 were incidents wherein intercourse had taken place with victim’s consent.
The internal report, accessed by Pune Mirror, states that in these cases, the rapists had obtained the victims’ consent for sexual intercourse by making false promises of marriage.
Moreover, the study also shows that 76 per cent of rape victims were either illiterate or barely literate, and 64 per cent of victims came from economically weaker sections of society.
Two per cent of rape cases were reported to the police immediately after the incident, two per cent cases a day after, and an alarming 87 per cent of the cases two days later.
The study reveals that 70 per cent of rape victims were aged 10-18 years. The police’s conclusion on the basis of these findings is that the immature and not-so-well-educated girls from economically weaker sections of society are more prone to sexually exploitation by people who win their confidence with promises to marry them.
The study also states that the rapist is normally well-acquainted with the victim and has easy money. The study also stated there there have been several instances wherein sexually exploited victims were blackmailed with video footage shot using mobile phones.
Police analysed the rape cases reported to them in 2008, 2009 and the first three months of the current year. A total of 21 rapes were reported in the first three months of this year, and all cases were solved.
A total of 66 rapes were reported in 2009, while the number of reported rape cases in 2008 was 91.
Observations of the study
The study report observes that, in 93 per cent of the rape cases, the victims and rapists were acquainted with each other. In most of the cases, the suspect was the victim’s family friend, neighbour or colleague
Urbanisation and migration that takes place with rapid development of the city have been blamed as causes for rape. It says little personal information is available about migrants, which gives them more `liberty’.
However, it adds that there have been incidents of rapes by biological fathers and stepfathers too.
The report mentions that economically weaker and not-so-well-educated girls lack financial and emotional support, and therefore are more prone to exploitation.
Such victims are not mature enough to resist allures, or find it difficult to say no due to the financial and emotional compulsions.
Glorification of pre-marital and extramarital affairs in films, TV shows and internet are also stated as some of the causes behind rapes. It also states that Net chatting and social networking sites are being misused by rapists to get acquainted to victims, obtain their photos and video clips and use them to blackmail the victims.
It blames failure of victims to retaliate against people teasing them. It says victim’s failure to retaliate increases brazenness of the aggressor which may result in rape.
The report says easy availability of pornographic material, especially in slum areas, is corrupting young boys who may commit rapes.
Suggestions and recommendations
There is a need to broadly identify immature and poorly-educated girls from economically weaker sections of the society and sensitise them about the possibility of getting exploited.
There is a need to involve NGOs to reach out to this section of girls.
Counselling should be provided to these specially vulnerable girls to make them gain confidence.
Women personnel of police force should be deployed at various public places to trap eve teasers.
Policemen should watch for illegal activities, especially circulation of pornographic material in slum areas, and take stringent action against people involved in such activities.
If a resident is providing information about such activities, he should not be compelled to provide his personal details.
This section of girls should be provided good literature to read so that they become more focused and oriented. They should also be trained in Yoga, sports and meditation.
Rape, as defined in the IPC
Section 375 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, says that a man commits rape when he has sex with a woman:
First: Against her will
Secondly: Without her consent
Thirdly: With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested in fear of death or of hurt
Fourthly: With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband, and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be lawfully married
Fifthly: With her consent, when, at the time of giving such consent, by reason of unsoundness of mind or intoxication or the administration by him personally or through another of any stupefying or unwholesome substance, she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of that to which she gives consent
Sixthly: With or without her consent, when she is under 16 years of age
It says penetration is sufficient to constitute intercourse necessary for rape. However, intercourse by a man with his wife, if she is not under 15, isn’t rape