Saturday, 11 April 2015

Crimes against women

Crimes against women

Further information: Violence against women in India

The map shows the comparative rate of violence against women in Indian states and union territories in 2012. Crime rate data per 100,000 women in this map is the broadest definition of crime against women under Indian law. It includes rape, sexual assault, insult to modesty, kidnapping, abduction, cruelty by intimate partner or relatives, trafficking, persecution for dowry, dowry deaths, indecency, and all other crimes listed in Indian Penal Code.[58][59]
Police records in India show a high incidence of crimes against women. The National Crime Records Bureau reported in 1998 that by 2010 growth in the rate of crimes against women would exceed the population growth rate.[31] Earlier, many crimes against women were not reported to police due to the social stigma attached to rape and molestation. Official statistics show a dramatic increase in the number of reported crimes against women.[31]

Acid throwing

A Thomas Reuters Foundation survey [60] says that India is the fourth most dangerous place in the world for women to live in.[61] Women belonging to any class, caste, creed or religion can be victims of this cruel form of violence and disfigurement, a premeditated crime intended to kill or maim permanently and act as a lesson to put a woman in her place. In India, acid attacks on women[62] who dared to refuse a man's proposal of marriage or asked for a divorce [63] are a form of revenge. Acid is cheap, easily available, and the quickest way to destroy a woman's life. The number of acid attacks have been rising.[64]

Child marriage

Child marriage has been traditionally prevalent in India and continues to this day. Historically, child brides would live with their parents until they reached puberty. In the past, child widows were condemned to a life of great agony, shaved heads, living in isolation, and being shunned by society.[29] Although child marriage was outlawed in 1860, it is still a common practice.[65]
According to UNICEF’s “State of the World’s Children-2009” report, 47% of India's women aged 20–24 were married before the legal age of 18, rising to 56% in rural areas.[66] The report also showed that 40% of the world's child marriages occur in India.[67]

Domestic violence

Domestic violence in India is endemic.[68] Around 70% of women in India are victims of domestic violence, according to Renuka Chowdhury, former Union minister for Women and Child Development.[69]
The National Crime Records Bureau reveal that a crime against a woman is committed every three minutes, a woman is raped every 29 minutes, a dowry death occurs every 77 minutes, and one case of cruelty committed by either the husband or relative of the husband occurs every nine minutes.[70] This occurs despite the fact that women in India are legally protected from domestic abuse under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.[70]
In India, domestic violence toward women is considered as any type of abuse that can be considered a threat; it can also be physical, psychological, or sexual abuse to any current or former partner.[71] Domestic violence is not handled as a crime or complaint, it is seen more as a private or family matter.[72] In determining the category of a complaint, it is based on caste, class, religious bias and race which also determines whether action is to be taken or not.[73] Many studies have reported about the prevalence of the violence and have taken a criminal-justice approach, but most woman refuse to report it.[74] These women are guaranteed constitutional justice, dignity and equality but continue to refuse based on their sociocultural contexts. [75] As the women refuse to speak of the violence and find help, they are also not receiving the proper treatment. [76]


A map of the Indian dowry death rate per 100,000 people, 2012.
In 1961, the Government of India passed the Dowry Prohibition Act,[77] making dowry demands in wedding arrangements illegal. However, many cases of dowry-related domestic violence, suicides and murders have been reported. In the 1980s, numerous such cases were reported.[50]
In 1985, the Dowry Prohibition (maintenance of lists of presents to the bride and bridegroom) Rules were framed.[78] According to these rules, a signed list should be maintained of presents given at the time of the marriage to the bride and the bridegroom. The list should contain a brief description of each present, its approximate value, the name of who has given the present, and relationship to the recipient. However, such rules are rarely enforced.
A 1997 report claimed that each year at least 5,000 women in India die dowry-related deaths, and at least a dozen die each day in 'kitchen fires' thought to be intentional.[79]The term for this is "bride burning" and is criticized within India itself. Amongst the urban educated, such dowry abuse has reduced considerably[citation needed].

Female infanticide and sex-selective abortion

In India, the male-female sex ratio is skewed dramatically in favour of males, the chief reason being the high number of females who die before reaching adulthood.[31] Tribal societies in India have a less skewed sex ratio than other caste groups. This is in spite of the fact that tribal communities have far lower income levels, lower literacy rates, and less adequate health facilities.[31] Many experts suggest the higher number of males in India can be attributed to female infanticides and sex-selective abortions.
Ultrasound scanning constitutes a major leap forward in providing for the care of mother and baby, and with scanners becoming portable, these advantages have spread to rural populations. However, ultrasound scans often reveal the sex of the baby, allowing pregnant women to decide to abort female foetuses and try again later for a male child. This practice is usually considered the main reason for the change in the ratio of male to female children being born.[80]
In 1994 the Indian government passed a law forbidding women or their families from asking about the sex of the baby after an ultrasound scan (or any other test which would yield that information) and also expressly forbade doctors or any other persons from providing that information. In practice this law (like the law forbidding dowries) is widely ignored, and levels of abortion on female foetuses remain high and the sex ratio at birth keeps getting more skewed. [81]
Female infanticide (killing of girl infants) is still prevalent in some rural areas.[31] Sometimes this is infanticide by neglect, for example families may not spend money on critical medicines or withhold care from a sick girl.
Continuing abuse of the dowry tradition has been one of the main reasons for sex-selective abortions and female infanticides in India.


Main article: Rape in India
Rape in India has been described by Radha Kumar as one of India's most common crimes against women[82] and by the UN’s human-rights chief as a “national problem”.[83] In the 1980s, women's rights groups lobbied for marital rape to be declared unlawful, as until 1983, the criminal law (amendment) act stated that "sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age is not rape". Marital rape is still not a criminal offence.[82] While per-capita reported incidents are quite low compared to other countries, even developed countries,[84][85] a new case is reported every 20 minutes.[86][87]
New Delhi has the highest rate of rape-reports among Indian cities.[88] Sources show that rape cases in India have doubled between 1990 and 2008.[89][90]

Sexual harassment

Main article: Eve teasing
Eve teasing is a euphemism used for sexual harassment or molestation of women by men. Many activists blame the rising incidents of sexual harassment against women on the influence of "Western culture". In 1987, The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act was passed[91] to prohibit indecent representation of women through advertisements or in publications, writings, paintings or in any other manner.
Of the total number of crimes against women reported in 1990, half related to molestation and harassment in the workplace.[31] In 1997, in a landmark judgement[ambiguous], the Supreme Court of India took a strong stand against sexual harassment of women in the workplace. The Court also laid down detailed guidelines for prevention and redressal of grievances. The National Commission for Women subsequently elaborated these guidelines into a Code of Conduct for employers.[31] In 2013 India's top court investigated on a law graduate's allegation that she was sexually harassed by a recently retired Supreme Court judge.[92]Recently, The Sexual Harassment ofWomenat Workplace ( Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 came into force on Dec 2013, to prevent Harassment of women at workplace.


The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act was passed in 1956.[93] However many cases of trafficking of young girls and women have been reported. These women are either forced into prostitution, domestic work or child labour.

Legal status


  1. Guardians & Wards Act, 1890[94]
  2. Indian Penal Code, 1860
  3. Christian Marriage Act, 1872
  4. Indian Evidence Act, 1872[95]
  5. Married Women's Property Act, 1874
  6. Workmen's compensation Act, 1923
  7. Indian Successions Act, 1925
  8. Immoral Traffic (prevention) Act, 1956
  9. Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961[96]
  10. Commission of Sati(Prevention) Act, 1987
  11. Cinematograph Act, 1952
  12. Births, Deaths & Marriages Registration Act, 1886
  13. Minimum Wages Act, 1948
  14. Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
  15. Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929
  16. Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application,1937
  17. Indecent Representation of Women(Prevention) Act,1986
  18. ସSpecial Marriage Act)[97]
  19. Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
  20. Hindu Successions Act, 1956
  21. Foreign Marriage Act, 1969
  22. Family Courts Act, 1984
  23. Maternity Benefit Act,1861
  24. Hindu Adoption & Maintenance ACT,1956
  25. Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
  26. Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act,1971
  27. National Commission for Women Act, 1990
  28. Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 199)
  29. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
  30. Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act, 2013[98]
  31. Indian Divorce Act, 1969
  32. Equal Remuneration Act, 1976
  33. Hindu Widows Remarriage Act, 1856
  34. Muslim women (protection of rights on divorce) Act, 1986
Numerous legal protections have been bestowed on India at the national level since colonial times. However, widespread lack of enforcement has led to violation of laws related to women's status with impunity.

Other concerns

Social opinions

Main article: Sexism in India
In the wake of several brutal rape attacks in the capital city of Delhi, debates held in other cities revealed that men believed women who dressed provocatively deserved to get raped; many of the correspondents stated women incited men to rape them.[99][100]


Main article: Women's health in India
The average female life expectancy today in India is low compared to many countries, but it has shown gradual improvement over the years. In many families, especially rural ones, girls and women face nutritional discrimination within the family, and are anaemic and malnourished.[31]
The maternal mortality in India is the 56th highest in the world.[101] 42% of births in the country are supervised in Medical Institution. In rural areas, most of women deliver with the help of women in the family, contradictory to the fact that the unprofessional or unskilled deliverer lacks the knowledge about pregnancy.[31]

Family planning

The average woman living in a rural area in India has little or no control over becoming pregnant. Women, particularly women in rural areas, do not have access to safe and self-controlled methods of contraception. The public health system emphasises permanent methods like sterilisation, or long-term methods like IUDs that do not need follow-up. Sterilization accounts for more than 75% of total contraception, with female sterilisation accounting for almost 95% of all sterilisations.[31]

Sex ratios

India has a highly skewed sex ratio, which is attributed to sex-selective abortion and female infanticide affecting approximately one million female babies per year.[102]In, 2011, government stated India was missing three million girls and there are now 48 less girls per 1,000 boys.[103] Despite this, the government has taken further steps to improve the ratio, and the ratio is reported to have been improved in recent years.[104]


Further information: Sanitation in India
In rural areas, schools have been reported to have gained the improved sanitation facility.[105] Given the existing socio-cultural norms and situation of sanitation in schools, girl students are forced not to relieve themselves in the open unlike boys.[106] Lack of facilities in home forces women to wait for the night to relieve themselves and avoid being seen by others.[107]
In 2011 a "Right to Pee" (as called by the media) campaign began in Mumbai, India's largest city.[108] Women, but not men, have to pay to urinate in Mumbai, despite regulations against this practice. Women have also been sexually assaulted while urinating in fields.[108] Thus, activists have collected more than 50,000 signatures supporting their demands that the local government stop charging women to urinate, build more toilets, keep them clean, provide sanitary napkins and a trash can, and hire female attendants.[108] In response, city officials have agreed to build hundreds of public toilets for women in Mumbai, and some local legislators are now promising to build toilets for women in every one of their districts.[108]

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