Child sexual abuse crisis deepening, needs urgent
A parent holds high a doll belonging to her child as she participates in a protest against
alleged police inaction after a six-year-old was raped at a school, in Bangalore on July 19,
2014. More than 4,000 parents and relatives of children who attend the school shouted
slogans against the school’s administration on Saturday demanding that police arrest those
involved in the July 2 incident, which was reported only this past week. (AP Photo by Aijaz
A few days after the rape of a six-year-old girl at a high profile school in Bangalore shook the
entire nation, came a comment from the Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah himself.
He said, “Except that, don’t you have any other issue?” Earlier too, the Chief Minister had
courted controversy when he was seen sleeping in the Assembly during a debate on
increasing sexual violence against women. This insensitive comment is unbecoming of
Siddaramaiah, whose State Karnataka is currently reeling under a spate of crimes against
women. However, this insensitive behaviour from a political class does not come as a
surprise. In the past too, several prominent leaders have mouthed off in a similar way,
indicating political apathy towards women and their issues. After hearing some atrocious
statements from Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and TMC MP Tapas Pal, the
next politician to join the bandwagon is former Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Aziz Qureshi who
recently said, “Even god cannot stop such crime from taking place in Uttar Pradesh.” These
statements show insensitivity not only to the survivors but against the society too. In fact, it
shows that gender discrimination runs deep in the society.
It is also true that while such comments have caused widespread outrage, but no action has
been taken against people who indulge in crass use of language. For instance, despite
attracting criticism from various quarters over his “boys will boys” jibe, Mulayam Singh
Yadav remains unapologetic. It is high time all these political leaders and so-called caretakers
of society realised they can no longer ignore the surge in crimes against women if they have
to keep their boats sailing. The Congress lost the general election due to the mishandling of
the December 16, 2012 gangrape case. This must compel politicians to take a lesson or two in
According to a UN report – Global Study on Homicide, UNODC 2013 – India figures third
among top 10 countries where the highest number of rapes have taken place in 2010, a Times
of India report said. Even the Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said that according to
UN Crime Trends Survey 2010, the US recorded 85,593 cases of rape in that year followed
by Brazil with 41,180 rape cases. A total of 22,172 rape cases were registered in India in
2010, he said.
According to the UN statistics, in the US, 27.3 rape cases were reported per lakh population,
followed by 21.09 in Brazil and in case of India, there were 1.8 cases of rape per lakh
population. The United Kingdom has reported 15,892 cases of rape in 2010 (28.8 cases of
rape in per lakh population) and in Mexico, there were 14,993 cases of rape (13.2 cases of
rape in per lakh population). France has reported 10,108 cases of rape, which is 16.2 cases of
rape in per lakh population.
There were at least 7,724 cases of rape in Germany, 5,960 cases of rape in Sweden (63.5
cases of rape in every lakh population), 4,907 cases of rape in Russian Federation, 4,718
cases of rape in Philippines and 3,157 cases of rape in Colombia.
If these numbers are not enough to ring the bell across the lawmakers in India, then perhaps,
data from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) can send a clearer message. According to
a Times of India report quoting the NCRB report, only 15.3 per cent of cases related to sexual
offences against children saw completion of trial in 2013, while the conviction rate for these
offences was a low 31.5 per cent. The NCRB report also states that around 85 per cent cases
of child rape continue to be pending in various courts throughout India.
The report also highlights the behaviour of parents who have reluctance to bring their
victimised children to courts and inability to ensure their anonymity and conflicting
testimonies by children scarred by assault are some of the primary reasons why sex crime
cases against children tend are increasing day by day. Despite bringing in a stringent law such
as ‘The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO)’, there is a surge in
sexual offences against children. Most district court complexes are yet to get a dedicated
Sessions Court for POCSO or independent special public prosecutors as envisaged under the
Act that came into force in November 2012.
According to the NCRB report, on an average, at least 16 children in Delhi suffer some kind
of crime on a daily basis. Latest reports show that Delhi registered the maximum number of
cases of crimes against children — 6,124. Among the States, Uttar Pradesh topped the list
with 9,857 cases of crimes against children while Maharashtra is on the second spot with
8,247 cases. In fact, a recent case of physical abuse that went viral was of a three-year-old
child being thrashed by his tutor. If these crimes are not checked in time, then the future of
these children looks grim.
A move to disband organisations like National Commission for Women or NGOs dealing
with crimes against children will only help the Government to seriously tackle the rising
incidences at large because these organisations are toothless and are on the Government and
eat tax payers’ money.