Rashi Aditi Ghosh/Zee Research Group
Even as Indians debate over a University of Chicago student’s account of how unsafe India is for women, the controversy surrounding self-styled spiritual guru Asaram Bapu’s alleged involvement in the rape of a 16-year-old minor girl at his Jodhpur Ashram will only strengthen her narrative. In April, Delhi still recovering from the Nirbhaya gang-rape case experienced the rape of a five-year-old girl kept as hostage by her neighbour at his flat for three days.
In her report on CNN.com, Rose Chasm, the American student has shared her experience of being subjected to repeated sexual harassment in India during the course of her study trip. Her remarks are not off the mark with even the official crime statistics of India suggesting an increase in incidences of rape across the country. Of particular concern is the increase in rape cases involving minor.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), rape cases against children in India have increased by 20 percent in 2012 over 2011.The year on increase registered in 2011 over 2010 was even higher at 29.68 percent.
Explaining the psychological aspects of child sex abuse, Dr Ripan Sippy, a clinical psychologist from Delhi said, “From my clinical experience I have observed that individuals, who somehow fail to show their power and sexual ability in their peer group, choose children to prove their aggression.”
Not only this, the rate of increase of rape cases against children in 2012 over 2011 is almost 18 percent higher in comparison to increase registered in rape cases against women in the same time frame. Rape cases against women have registered an increase of 2.9 percent in 2012 over 2011.
Attributing superior vulnerability of children and higher reporting of cases as a reason to increasing number of sexual crime against children Shireen Vakil Miller, Director, Advocacy and Policy, Save the Children NGO said that, “A Women and Child development ministry study done in 2007 had found that nearly half of India’s children suffered some form of abuse and children are most vulnerable to abuse as they can`t defend themselves like us adults. I believe that the increase in crimes against children has to be seen in the context of greater reporting of crimes in general.”
NCRB further shows that in 2012, Madhya Pradesh has reported the highest number of rape cases against children (1,632) followed by Uttar Pradesh (1,040) and Maharashtra (917). These three states together accounted for 42.0 Per cent of the total child rape cases reported in the country.
A total of 38,172 cases of crimes against children were reported in the country during 2012 as compared to 33,098 cases during 2011, suggesting an increase of 15.3 percent.