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Crime Against Women In India: Reasons and Trends

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India today is one amongst the most unsafe places for women. There are various factors promoting crime against women. The condition of women in India deteriorated right from medieval times, although instances of crime can be found in ancient India as well. Somewhere, it is not only the origin but also the magnification that makes the issue significant. Modernization and adoption of western culture is posing threat to the dignity of women. In a patriarchal society like India, it is difficult to realize certain circumstances pertaining to women which add on to the troubles of the victim. A big problem lies with the perception and concern of people towards aggrieved woman. It is the need of the hour to understand the underlying causes and the trends in crime, so as to plan out the corrective steps. Through this work, an attempt is made to comprehend the reasons behind the condition of women and to develop an understanding about the trends in Crime against Women in India.

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Crime Against Women In India: Reasons and Trends

  1. 1. CRITIQUE: An International Interdisciplinary Research Journal ISSN: 2454-1419 Special Edition: Volume: 1(Aug, 2015) Issue: I Article: 1 The above text is published by Critique ©Critique-iirj.com CRIME AGAINST WOMEN IN INDIA: REASONS AND TRENDS Richi Simon Assistant Professor Department of social work The Bhopal school of social sciences Habibganj, Bhopal Abstract: India today is one amongst the most unsafe places for women. There are various factors promoting crime against women. The condition of women in India deteriorated right from medieval times, although instances of crime can be found in ancient India as well. Somewhere, it is not only the origin but also the magnification that makes the issue significant. Modernization and adoption of western culture is posing threat to the dignity of women. In a patriarchal society like India, it is difficult to realize certain circumstances pertaining to women which add on to the troubles of the victim. A big problem lies with the perception and concern of people towards aggrieved woman. It is the need of the hour to understand the underlying causes and the trends in crime, so as to plan out the corrective steps. Through this work, an attempt is made to comprehend the reasons behind the condition of women and to develop an understanding about the trends in Crime against Women in India. Key words: Crime, Criminology, Women, Criminal behavior, Victim, Vulnerability.
  2. 2. CRITIQUE: An International Interdisciplinary Research Journal ISSN: 2454-1419 Special Edition: Volume: 1(Aug, 2015) Issue: I Article: 1 The above text is published by Critique ©Critique-iirj.com Introduction: The word crime is derived from the Latin root cernō, meaning „I decide, I give judgment.‟ Originally the Latin word crīmen meant „charge‟ or „cry of distress‟ The Ancient Greek word krima from which the Latin cognate derives, typically referred to an intellectual mistake or an offense against the community, rather than a private or moral wrong. Today, crime not just connotes wrongdoing against community but a behavior that society is not ready to tolerate. Crime is an antisocial behavior which an organized society rejects and for which it attaches penalties. Sociologist, Richard Quinney has explained the relationship between society and crime by stating „crime is a social phenomenon‟, he predicted how individuals visualize crime and how populations perceive it, based on societal norms. In the words of Barnes and Teeters „The term “Crime” technically means a form of anti- social behavior that has violated public sentiments to such an extent as to be forbibben by the statute.‟ (Sharma, 2010) According to Elliott and Merrill, „A crime ipso facto implies a disturbance in a social relationship and a social definition as to what such a disturbance is.‟ (Sharma, 2010) Thus it can be concluded that, crime is something - 1. That has a harmful impact on social interests. 2. This is legally forbidden, and entails a punishment in penal law. 3. That is intentional bringing about harmful consequence. 4. Having criminal intention. 5. Having concurrence of intention and conduct. 6. Having a causal relation between the legally forbidden harm and the voluntary misconduct. 7. That has a legally prescribed punishment. (Madan, 2009)
  3. 3. CRITIQUE: An International Interdisciplinary Research Journal ISSN: 2454-1419 Special Edition: Volume: 1(Aug, 2015) Issue: I Article: 1 The above text is published by Critique ©Critique-iirj.com Identifying Criminal Behavior: Crime has existed in the world from times immemorial, right away when Eve and Adam ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, they committed sin. There are always certain ways that define what behavior is deviant and what is acceptable. The three major perspectives of criminology let us define as to what is taken as crime. Conflict Perspective: Social conflict theory is all about inequality in society. Conflict view states that crime in any society is caused by class conflict and that laws are created by those in power to protect their rights and interests. Social order is maintained through competition and conflict, and the 'winners' - those with the most power and the greatest economic and social resources - benefit by taking advantage of the 'losers‟. Marxist criminology views the competitive nature of the capitalist system as a major cause of crime. The poor commit crimes because of their frustration, anger, and need, while the wealthy engage in illegal acts because they are used to competition and because they must do so to keep their positions in society. Interactionist Perspective: Interactionists believe that lawbreakers are not different from law-abiders. Deviant and criminal acts are executed by majority, but only few are caught and stigmatized. „Deviancy is not a quality of the act a person commits but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an „offender‟. Deviant behavior is behavior that people so label.‟ Consensus Perspective: In the consensus view, what is defined as crime emerges from general agreement among the public. The lawmakers criminalize actions and behaviors that all strata of society deem foul. The consensus view contrasts significantly with the conflict and interactionist views, where the definition of crime is associated with power in some way. Following the interactionist view, where the socially powerful folks control the definition of crime, casting out individuals who shun social rules whereas, in the conflict view, the economically powerful control the definition of crime, using it to maintain the wealth and power of the rich. (Hawkins, 1996)
  4. 4. CRITIQUE: An International Interdisciplinary Research Journal ISSN: 2454-1419 Special Edition: Volume: 1(Aug, 2015) Issue: I Article: 1 The above text is published by Critique ©Critique-iirj.com Reasons behind Criminal Behavior: There is no single theory of deviant behavior. However, with the popular Social learning theory, it can be said that people engage in activities or interactions because of satisfaction they expect to receive from them. One‟s skills and opportunities largely determine one‟s capability of achieving or even perceiving self-interest. Behavior depends upon perception and exercise of self interest which in turn is governed by one‟s abilities, opportunities and experience. One learns behavior whether it be prosocial or antisocial. The tenets of differential association theory as presented by Edwin Sutherland are-  Criminal behavior is learned behavior.  Criminal behavior is learned by interacting with other people by communicating with words and gestures.  The main portion of learning the criminal behavior happens among small groups of people.  Learning about crime includes learning the techniques of committing a crime, as well as learning the motivation and attitudes towards crime.  Legal codes demonstrate what is 'good' or 'bad' and provide a motivation for crimes. In other words, the law expresses what is right and wrong to an offender.  A person becomes a criminal because of frequent criminal patterns. For example, if one is exposed to a repeated criminal scenario, this scenario will eventually rub off on others nearby.  The differential association theory can differ in frequency, duration, priority and intensity.  The learning of criminal behavior by association is similar to all other types of learning.  Criminal and non-criminal behavior is an expression of the same needs and values. In other words, it does not discriminate and any person of any background can become a criminal. (Matsueda, 1988)
  5. 5. CRITIQUE: An International Interdisciplinary Research Journal ISSN: 2454-1419 Special Edition: Volume: 1(Aug, 2015) Issue: I Article: 1 The above text is published by Critique ©Critique-iirj.com Classical School of Criminology: According to the Classical School of Criminology, human behavior is rational, people have the ability to choose right from wrong, and people rationally choose to commit criminal. Cesare Beccaria, a major contributor to the classical school of criminology, was of the opinion that it was bad laws and not evil people that were the root of the crime problem. According to Beccaria, pleasure and pain are only ‘springs of action,’ and the motive of punishment is to prevent a criminal from continuing injury to the community and to stop others from committing similar crimes. British philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, believed that people have the ability to choose right from wrong, good from evil. He gave the ‘Theory of Utilitarianism’. Utilitarianism is the doctrine that the purpose of all actions should be to bring about the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Felicitous calculus developed by Jeremy Bentham was a tool for estimating the probability that a person would engage in a particular kind of behavior. For Bentham, checks or sanctions needed to be attached to criminal behavior and set up by legislation, which would then serve „to bring the individual‟s pursuit of his own happiness in line with the best interests of the society as a whole.‟ Positivist School of Criminology: Auguste Comte, the founder of sociology and positivism, believed that both external and internal forces are important for understanding human behavior. Positivism emphasizes the techniques of observation, the comparative method, and experimentation in the development of knowledge concerning human behavior and the nature of society. The positivist perspective also stressed the idea that much of our behavior is a function of external social forces beyond individual control, as well as internal forces such as our mental capabilities and biological makeup. Major contributors to this thought included August Comte, Cesare Lombroso, Enrico Ferri and Raffaele Garofalo. Lombroso was one of the first theorists who attempted to
  6. 6. CRITIQUE: An International Interdisciplinary Research Journal ISSN: 2454-1419 Special Edition: Volume: 1(Aug, 2015) Issue: I Article: 1 The above text is published by Critique ©Critique-iirj.com scientifically study criminal behavior. Lombroso believed that physical stigmata, such as a long lower jaw, flattened nose, and long, apelike arms, identify a criminal. These biological characteristics were seen as atavism, or a throwback to earlier states in human evolution. Enrico Ferri, was a positivist who developed a scientific classification of criminals and focused on the causes of crime, criminal sociology, social reform, and effective criminal justice. Raffaele Garofalo was a positivist who rejected the doctrine of free will. He believed that crime and criminal behavior can be understood only by using scientific methods, and that science deals with universals. Garofalo focused on natural crime, psychic anomaly, the secondary importance of external factors, four classes of criminals (the murderer, the violent criminal, the thief, and the lascivious criminal), and incapacitation as a defense against crime. Rational Choice Theory/ Neo Classical Theory: This theory was developed by Derek Cornish and Ronald Clarke. According to rational choice theory, a criminal rationally chooses both the crime to commit and the target of the crime. The criminal, in other words, does not randomly select his or her target. Deterrence Theory: Deterrence theory stresses that an individual’s choice to commit or not commit a crime is influenced by the fear of punishment. Deterrence is the act of preventing a criminal act before it occurs, through the threat of punishment and sanctions. Routine Activities Theory: Routine activities theory (RAT) stresses the idea that criminals are not impulsive or unpredictable, because they balance the costs as well as benefits of committing crimes. RAT examines how structural changes in everyday activity patterns influence crime rates by affecting
  7. 7. CRITIQUE: An International Interdisciplinary Research Journal ISSN: 2454-1419 Special Edition: Volume: 1(Aug, 2015) Issue: I Article: 1 The above text is published by Critique ©Critique-iirj.com the convergence in time and space of three requisite conditions (A Perpetrator, A Victim, A relationship or an opportunity) for a crime to occur. (Glick and Mille, 2007) Crime against Women: Crime against women is not something that has emerged recent. It has been a part of the society from the very ancient times, right away when „Draupadi‟ was stripped by „Dushasana‟ in an open court. With time span, women lost her importance and got dominated by patriarchal society. Although the society has awakened to women issues, still problems remain. Every day in news cases of rape, violence, acid attacks, suicides are prevalent. Be it 2012 „Nirbhaya case‟ where an innocent was raped and left to die, or it be a rape case against Asaram in 2013. It be one of the most horrific cases of sexual assault and murder, in 2015, was where a Dalit woman from Jhansi was gang-raped and burnt to death by local hooligan allegedly associated with the family of a village headman in Malpura district of Agra. The site of the crime was just 200 metres from the police post. A fact-finding team set up by DIG Agra found parts of the woman's body, partially burnt. Incidences where females are attacked brutally like the case where a minor girl (10th class student) was stabbed four times in Mumbai and the case was not filed or it be the case of Delhi where a 19 year old got viciously murdered as a revenge taken by the culprits behind her molestation. Women have been and are still victimized. The question emerges, why women become easy targets. Vulnerability of Women: Why Women become Victims? 1. Patriarchal society. 2. Low status of women. 3. Societal acceptance to misbehavior against women. 4. Overall indifferent attitude towards crime against women.
  8. 8. CRITIQUE: An International Interdisciplinary Research Journal ISSN: 2454-1419 Special Edition: Volume: 1(Aug, 2015) Issue: I Article: 1 The above text is published by Critique ©Critique-iirj.com 5. Degrading societal values. 6. Weakened informal means of social control. 7. Indifferent attitude towards girl child education. 8. Unmoved concern towards sex education. 9. Encouraging women to compromise, especially in sexual crimes. 10. Loop holes in legal system. 11. Lack of police officers. 12. Few Female police. 13. Lack of public safety. 14. Stigmatizing the victim resulting in loss of dignity and lesser crimes being reported. 15. Anonymous urban life. 16. Lack of awareness regarding their rights amongst women. Crime Trends: Being somebody identified as „ablaa‟, delicate and weak contender in society, a sector that is dominated upon, women are easy targets for criminals. Considering the criminal records at the National Crime Records Bureau (NCBR) from 1996 to 2013, it can be seen that the number of criminal cases where women are victimized have hiked from 1996 to 2013. A steady increase in crime against women can be observed.
  9. 9. CRITIQUE: An International Interdisciplinary Research Journal ISSN: 2454-1419 Special Edition: Volume: 1(Aug, 2015) Issue: I Article: 1 The above text is published by Critique ©Critique-iirj.com Figure 1: Crimes against Women: Percent Analysis The different categories of crimes identified include: 1. Rape: Rape is a type of sexual assault usually relating to sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration committed against a person without that person's consent. 2. Kidnapping and Abduction: Kidnapping or Abduction refers to the taking away of a person, here, a woman, with the intent to detain her without her consent, however, abduction specifically refers to unlawful interference with a family relationship. 3. Dowry: It refers to the transfer of parental property of the bride to the groom. 4. Torture/ Cruelty: It is the act of deliberate physical or psychological pain performed by the torturer against the victim (woman) 5. Molestation: It is the act of sexual contact done to annoy or harm somebody, here, woman. 6. Sexual Harassment: It refers to the maltreatment or compulsion that is sexual in nature normally involving inappropriate undertakings of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. 0 2 4 6 8 10 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Crimeaverage Crimes Against Women Recorded from 1996 to 2013: Percent Analysis
  10. 10. CRITIQUE: An International Interdisciplinary Research Journal ISSN: 2454-1419 Special Edition: Volume: 1(Aug, 2015) Issue: I Article: 1 The above text is published by Critique ©Critique-iirj.com 7. Importation of Girls: Happening normally for meeting unlawful sexual desires resulting in exploitation. 8. Sati: A practice where the widow is compelled to commit suicide by immolating herself on her husband‟s pyre. 9. Immoral Trafficking: Illegal trade of women where the victim mostly ends up being sexually exploited. This unethical practice takes place through a network where the aggrieved person hardly comes forward to seek help. It is the second most profitable form of transnational crime. 10. Indecent representation of women: It refers to the depiction in any manner of the figure of a woman; her form or body or any part thereof in such way as to have the effect of being indecent, or derogatory to, or denigrating women, or is likely to deprave, corrupt or injure the public morality or morals. A detailed analysis of the data available with the bureau shows that most of the identified clusters of crime have hiked in numbers, the highest being the cases of torture and cruelty. Although the number noted for crimes like Sati are surprisingly low, but the data only contains the crimes being reported. Social problem of Sati has certainly reduced but instances of suspect can still be seen, like the case at Latur reported in April 2015, where the victim‟s body was found partially burnt after the funeral pyre of her husband. Table 1: Crime against Women: Cases Recorded 1996-2013 (source: www.ncrb.gov.in) Years Rape Kidnapping & Abduction Dowry Death Torture/ Cruelty Molestation Sexual Harassment Importation of Girls Sati Immoral Trafficking Indecent Representation of Women Dowry 1996 14846 14877 5513 35246 28939 5671 182 0 7706 96 2647 1997 15330 15617 6006 36592 30764 5796 78 1 8323 73 2685 1998 15151 16351 6975 41376 30959 8054 146 0 8695 190 3578 1999 15468 15962 6699 43823 32311 8858 1 0 9363 222 3064
  11. 11. CRITIQUE: An International Interdisciplinary Research Journal ISSN: 2454-1419 Special Edition: Volume: 1(Aug, 2015) Issue: I Article: 1 The above text is published by Critique ©Critique-iirj.com 2000 16496 15023 6995 45778 32940 11024 64 0 9515 662 2876 2001 16075 14645 6851 49170 34124 9746 114 0 8796 1052 3222 2002 16373 14506 6822 49237 33943 10155 76 0 11242 2508 2816 2003 15847 13296 6208 50703 32939 12325 46 0 5510 1043 2684 2004 18233 15578 7026 58121 34567 10001 89 0 5748 1378 3592 2005 18359 15750 6787 58319 34175 9984 149 1 5908 2917 3204 2006 19348 17414 7618 63128 36617 9966 67 0 4541 1562 4504 2007 20737 20416 8093 75930 38734 10950 61 0 3568 1200 5623 2008 21467 22939 8172 81344 40413 12214 67 1 2659 1025 5555 2009 21397 25741 8383 89546 38711 11009 48 0 2474 845 5650 2010 22172 29795 8391 94041 40613 9961 36 0 2499 895 5182 2011 24206 35565 8618 99135 42968 8570 80 0 2435 453 6619 2012 24923 38262 8233 106527 45351 9173 59 0 2563 141 9038 2013 33707 51881 8083 118866 70739 12589 31 0 2579 362 10709 Upon comparison, certain crimes are seen reducing, like the cases of importation of girls, immoral trafficking and indecent representation of women. Now whether this is reality or better networking, that is the question of concern. As for these crimes, to catch hold of the network is a serious issue because it may be spread across nations and identification of victims in such circumstances is not easy.
  12. 12. CRITIQUE: An International Interdisciplinary Research Journal ISSN: 2454-1419 Special Edition: Volume: 1(Aug, 2015) Issue: I Article: 1 The above text is published by Critique ©Critique-iirj.com Figure 2: Crime against Women: Trends (1996 – 2013) Graphical representation of the records displays that a severe increase in torture and molestation, while certain crimes recorded are particularly low, like that of sati. Conclusion: Crime in India is not something that has emerged in the recent past. Moving towards urbanization and modernization on one hand bears good fruits on spheres like education, technology, employment etc, but on the other hand certain evils have also cropped up like crime has peaked up to a disturbing level lately. Being in the transition phase, India does holds certain weaknesses of the medieval times and also certain causative factors of the modern times that leads to the presentation of such an image of the country. Though Government intervention in 0 20000 40000 60000 80000 100000 120000 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 Crimeagainstwomenrecorded Years Crime against Women: Trends (1996-2013) Rape Kidnapping& Abduction Dowry Death Torture/ Cruelity Molestation Sexual Harassment Importationof Girls Sati
  13. 13. CRITIQUE: An International Interdisciplinary Research Journal ISSN: 2454-1419 Special Edition: Volume: 1(Aug, 2015) Issue: I Article: 1 The above text is published by Critique ©Critique-iirj.com the form of Laws, Crisis centres, Redressal units, Rehabilitation centres, Women courts etc. are seen functional, yet many loopholes need to be mended. Women specific issues though are recognized and discussed more, yet, concrete steps need to be taken to alleviate these problems so that men and women find equality and justice. Only then, one can think of a safe India. References: Angad, Abhishek. “Delhi: 19-year-old girl stabbed 35 times by duo accused of molesting her 2 years ago.” The Indian Express18 Jul. 2015. Web. 20 Jul. 2015. <http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-19-year-old-girl-stabbed-to-death-for- resisting-eve-teasing/> Dube, Dani-Elle. “Women more likely to be victims of violent crimes: Report.” Global News 20 Mar. 2014. Web. 20 Jul. 2015. <http://globalnews.ca/news/1221021/women-more-likely-to-be- victims-of-violent-crimes-study/> Glick, Leonard and Mille, Mitchell, J. “Early Explanations for Criminal Behavior.” Criminology. Boston:Pearson, 2007. Print. Hawkins, David J. Delinquency and Crime: Current theories. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Print. Madan, G.R. Indian Social Problems: Volume I. Mumbai: Allied Publishers, 2009. Print. Matsueda, Ross. “The Current State of Differential Association Theory.” Crime and Delinquency. 34.3 (1988) : 277-306. Print.
  14. 14. CRITIQUE: An International Interdisciplinary Research Journal ISSN: 2454-1419 Special Edition: Volume: 1(Aug, 2015) Issue: I Article: 1 The above text is published by Critique ©Critique-iirj.com Nair, Sandhya. “School girl assaulted by four goons in Mumbai's Virar.” The Times Of India 20 Jul. 2015. Web. 20 Jul. 2015. <http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/School-girl- assaulted-by-four-goons-in-Mumbais-Virar/articleshow/48141286.cms > National Crime Records Bureau. ”Chapter – 5 Crime against Women.” Web. 20 Jul. 2015 <http://ncrb.gov.in/> Web. 20 Jul. 2015. Sharma, Rajendra. Urban Sociology. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers, 2010. Print. ”Suspected case of Sati in Latur, woman‟s body found from husband‟s funeral pyre.” The Indian Express 01 Apr. 2015. Web. 20 Jul. 2015. <http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india- others/suspected-case-of-sati-in-lathur-womans-body-found-from-husbands-funeral-pyre/> Wilson, James. Thinking about Crime. New York: Basic Books, 2013. Print.

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