24 Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture

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  24 Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture Preetinder Kaur  1,* 1 Project Assistant, Indian Institute of Technology Ropar, Ropar, Punjab, India * Corresponding author.Address: Flat # 2, Canal View, Giani Zail Singh Nagar, Ropar, Punjab, 140001, INDIAEmail: preetinderkaur0903@gmail.comReceived 15 August 2011; accepted 22 September 2011 Abstract Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights. It can include  physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse, and it cuts across boundaries of age, race, culture, wealth and geography. It takes place in the home, on the streets, in schools, the workplace, in farm fields, refugee camps, during conflicts and crises. It has many manifestations from the most universally prevalent forms of domestic and sexual violence, to harmful practices, abuse during pregnancy, so-called honour killings and other types of femicide. Violence against women and girls has far-reaching consequences, harming families and communities. For women and girls 16–44 years old, violence is a major cause of death and disability. In 1994, a World Bank study on ten selected risk factors facing girls and women in this age group, found rape and domestic violence more dangerous than cancer, motor vehicle accidents, war and malaria. Studies also reveal increasing links between violence against women and HIV and AIDS. A survey among 1,366 South African women showed that women who were beaten by their  partners were 48 percent more likely to be infected with HIV than those who were not. Gender-based violence not only violates human rights, but also hampers productivity, reduces human capital and undermines economic growth. A 2003 report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the costs of intimate partner violence in the United States alone exceeds US$5.8 billion  per year: US$4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly US$1.8 billion due to absenteeism. Key words: Violence; Gender; India; Consequences Preetinder Kaur (2011). Crime, Gender and Society in India.  Higher Education of Social Science , 1 (1), 24-32. Available from: URL: http://www.cscanada.net/index. php/hess/article/view/j.hess.1927024020110101.088 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/j.hess.1927024020110101.088. INTRODUCTION Violence against women is an act of gender-based violence that results in physical, sexual or mental harm of suffering to women, including threats of such acts, compulsion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life. Social and economic cost of violence against women is massive and has wrinkle effects on all over the society. Women can suffer isolation, powerlessness to work, loss of wages, lack of contribution in regular activities, and limited ability to care for themselves and their children (WHO 2008). According to WHO report gender-based violence, or violence against women, is a major public health and human rights problem throughout the world (WEF 2009). In the United States , one-third of women murdered each year are killed by intimate partners. In South Africa , a woman is killed every 6 hours by an intimate  partner. In India , 22 women were killed each day in dowry-related murders in 2007. In Guatemala , two women are murdered, on average, each day. Women and girls comprise 80 percent of the estimated 800,000  people trafcked annually, with the majority (79 percent) trafficked for sexual exploitation. Approximately 100 to 140 million girls and women in the world have experienced female genital mutilation/cutting, with more than 3 million girls in Africa annually at risk of Crime, Gender and Society in India  ISSN 1927-0232 [Print]ISSN 1927-0240 [Online] www.cscanada.netwww.cscanada.org Higher Education of Social Science Vol. 1, No. 1, 2011, pp. 24-32 DOI: 10.3968/j.hess.1927024020110101.088  25 Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture the practice. Over 60 million girls worldwide are child  brides, married before the age of 18, primarily in South Asia (31.1 million and Sub-Saharan Africa (14.1 million).An estimated 150 million girls under 18 suffered some form of sexual violence in 2002 alone. As many as 1 in 4 women experience physical and/or sexual violence during  pregnancy which increases the likelihood of having a miscarriage, stillbirth and abortion. Up to 53 percent of women physically abused by their intimate partners are being kicked or punched in the abdomen. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, a woman is assaulted every 15 seconds. In Ecuador, adolescent girls reporting sexual violence in school identied teachers as the perpetrator in 37 per cent of cases.Approximately 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were raped in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, at least 200,000 cases of sexual violence, mostly involving women and girls, have  been documented since 1996, though the actual numbers are considered to be much higher. Domestic violence alone cost approximately US$1.16 billion in Canada and US$5.8 billion in the United States. In Australia, violence against women and children costs an estimated US$11.38  billion per year.Between 40 and 50 per cent of women in European Union countries experience unwanted sexual advancements, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at their workplace. In the United States, 83  per cent of girls aged 12 to 16 experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools. BRIEF ABOUT THE TOPIC CRIMES against women are steadily increasing in the country. According to National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) Unique Crime Clock, 2005, the country reported one molestation every 15 minutes, one rape every 29 minutes, one murder every 16 minutes and one sexual harassment every 53 minutes.Crimes against women registered under both IPC (Indian Penal Code) and SLL (Special and Local Laws) have increased sharply from 2002 to 2006. In 2006, a total of 1,64,765 crimes against women were registered all over India in comparison to 1,43,034 in 2002, over 15 per cent increase. The recent National Family Health Survey–III reveals that one-third of women in the 15-49 age group face physical violence and one-tenth sexual violence. About 30 per cent of married women were victims of domestic violence while 25 per cent suffered physical or sexual violence at the hands of the husband in 12 months  preceding the survey.From a comparison of the figures of crimes against women in India with advanced countries as well as neighbouring countries, it could be seen that crimes against women are showing an upward trend everywhere. Statistics from National Violence Against Women survey  suggest that in the US, annually 5.9 million incidents of physical assault take place against women of which 76 per cent of the assaults are perpetrated by current or former intimate partners or dates. The condition in other developed countries is no better. The World Health Organization estimates that globally, one woman in ve will be the victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. In South Africa, a frightening 40 per cent of girls aged 17 or under have been victims of rape or attempted rape.In countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, the percentage of reported crimes against women is far less than the actual incidence of crime. A large number of cases go unreported because the women victims and their family members are reluctant to report because of the fear of social stigma and shame. In India, most victims are from economically deprived and marginalised sections. They feel scared to complain against the powerful offenders. Non-reporting of crimes, particularly in cases of rape, is common even in advanced countries. In a study of rape cases in the US, Smithyman concluded but for every 100 rape cases only 25 per cent were reported to the police, 13 per cent were arrested, 9 per cent prosecuted and 9 per cent are convicted. Similarly, the British Crime Survey 2002 estimates that the incidence of rape in 2000 were around 2,000 as against the reported gure of 7,000. Women face maximum risks of violence from people like intimate partners, close family members, boyfriends or near relatives. According to a research study by the Institute of Social Sciences, sponsored by the Bureau of Police Research and Training, 75-80 per cent of the rape and other sexual assaults crime are committed by offenders known to the victims. In the US, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about one-third of number of crimes against women victims were perpetrated by their intimate partners.The ISS study further revealed that irrespective of the type and nature of crime, young women between 15 and 30 years who are illiterate or poorly educated and belong to economically weaker sections are highly vulnerable to gender-specic crimes. An analysis of the secondary data compiled by the National Family Health Survey–III and the NCRB also conrmed this conclusion. In respect of cases of trafficking, the age of girls trafcked from and into India is coming down. In India, girls as young as 10 years of age are being trafcked. The same trend is being witnessed in other countries also due to misconception that sex with young and virgin girls will cure many sexually transmitted diseases and minimise the risks of contracting HIV/AIDS.Official statistics in India club kidnapping and abduction together. Though both offences are closely related, kidnapping is a crime involving minor girls while abduction involves adult females. Most cases of kidnapping are elopement of girls with their lovers. It will be useful if both crimes are registered under separate Preetinder Kaur (2011).  Higher Education of Social Science , 1 (1), 24-32  26 Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture categories. A study conducted by New Delhi’s Centre for Women’s Studies aptly reveals that kidnapping and abduction represent two different forms of crime and a more accurate picture of actual abduction of women and girls would emerge if these two subcategories are separated and made into different categories of crime.In most crimes against women, the accused are able to get away unpunished. For example, in 2006, of the 36,689 cases of domestic violence, which completed trial, only in 8,687 cases that the culprits were convicted. In others, they were either discharged or acquitted due to factors like  poor investigation and prosecution, gender insensitivity among police and judicial ofcers and long delay in trials. All this is helping the accused to repeat similar crimes. Offenders in gender-specic crimes are repeaters. Police probing crimes against women have to be trained and sensitised. In India, most investigating ofcers are not professionally competent and do the job in a casual and slipshod manner. Victims have often complained of apathy and insensitivity on the part of the police ofcers. This can be overcome through humane training and  building an organisational culture of respect and concern for women. In India, women police ofcers (48625) as on Dec 31, 2006, comprise only 4 per cent of the total police strength. In Haryana and West Bengal, according to the ISS study, women police ofcers constitute around 3 per cent of the force. Their shortage hampers effective investigation of crimes against women. Moreover, in states with adverse male-female ratio, most crimes against women occur.To understand the nature and extent of crimes against women and take steps to combat them, victimisation surveys have to be undertaken. In the West, greater reliance is placed on data collected through victimization surveys than on police statistics which are considered unreliable. The British Crime Survey of 2002 reveals that according to their estimates around 60,000 women were reported to have been victims of rape during 2000 as against the gure of 7000 reported by the police in the same year. In India, victimisation surveys similar to those in the UK and the US have become imperative.Denial of rights such as right to life, right to health and right to education to women and girls is the most crucial consequence of violence against women. Studies in many countries have shown high levels of violence during  pregnancy resulting in risk to the life of both the mother and unborn foetus.Crime and violence against women has a depressing effect on children. They develop various complex  psychological and behavioral problems leading to the lack of concentration in studies, depression, difficulties in socialization etc. Studies suggest that the violent  behaviour of males as grownups was a result of their  being witnesses to domestic violence in their childhood.Over 32000 murders, 19,000 rapes, 7500 dowry deaths and 36500 molestation cases are the violent crimes reported in India in 2006 against women. There are many instances of crime especially against women go unreported in India. These are gures released by the  National Crime Records Bureau recently. While Madhya Pradesh is worst off among the states, the national capital  New Delhi continues to hold on to its reputation of being the most unsafe city in India. Delhi takes the top slot for crimes ranging from murders and rapes to dowry deaths and abductions.It reflects country’s law and order situation when its capital is a cauldron of crime. Instead of leading the way in tackling crime, Delhi only seems to do worse year after year. For instance while the national crime rate declined negligibly by .02 % in 2006; Delhi’s rate grew to 357.2more than double the national average of 167.7. Rape is the fastest growing crime in the country today and as many as 18 women are assaulted in some form or the other every hour across India. Over the last few months cases of rapes and assault have made it to the headlines with alarming frequency. Mumbai watched with shame as an ugly mob attacked women on New Year’s Eve. In Latur a 14 year old was raped and killed  by four young men. In Konark four men were charged with dragging a woman out of a bus and gang raping her. It is an ordeal simply to file a police report and the investigations thereafter have been stories of apathy and downright humiliation meted out to the victims. Where convicted, punishments have ranged from capital  punishments to a day in jail. Equally horrific are news reports of foreign tourists  being sexually assaulted. Recently an American was molested in Pushkar, a British journalist raped in Goa, Canadian girls attacked in Kumarakom to list the few instances. It looks like that India as a nation has ceased to know how to treat women as human beings who have a right to dignity and safety. The crime against tourists is against our culture of "atithi devo bhava' Government has decided to meet and discuss with the state government the safety of women tourists as a reaction from the fear that such incidents will impact India’s image. Despite the trauma women across all classes are reporting crimes such as rape and assault and do not feel helpless or abandoned by family or society as was the  prevalent case before. Society is changing and government is forced to take action as it has run out of excuses such as society’s mindset or class divide.In India, the problem of violence against women is a result of a long standing power imbalance between men and women. Men have control over access to property and resources. There is also a sexual division of labor in India that results in female exploitation–physically, mentally, and commercially. 13% Increase in Violence Against Women in Punjab DEMOCRATIC government has failed to control the Crime, Gender and Society in India  27 Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture violence against women, as there is 13 percent increase in violence in 2009 compared to 2008.Twenty one women are murdered and four are attempted to murder every month in Punjab. About 28 women are raped and two face attempt to rape every month. At an average 27 women are kidnapped every month and about 10 women commit suicide. About 22 cases of molestation of women are registered every month.This is a glimpse of law and order situation in Punjab while the women in state continue to live under terror.During last five years, at an average 2300 cases of crime against women were registered. Lowest crime rate was registered in 2005 when 2282 cases were registered. During 2006 till month of August only 1756 cases of crime against women have been registered. If gures tell the tale of women’s plight, it is shocking to know that during last ve years (2002-2006 till August) have seen an increase in rape cases with 1591 women raped and 143 faced an attempt to rape.About 200 women have been murdered in the state in first eight months of current year. The figures were 271 murders of women in 2002, 239 in 2003, 240 in 2004, 256 in 2005 and 191 in 2006.The dowry deaths shows the fate of women in Punjabi society. According to gures 165 women were killed for dowry in 2002, 104 in 2003, 105 in 2004, 96 in 2005 and 85 in rst eight months of 2006. The dowry harassment cases in Punjab have been going unabated. Till August this year, 534 dowry cases have been registered. In ve years 3946 dowry harassment cases were registered which means 70 cases every month.1231 of molestation of women were registered in Punjab in five years of Congress rule. 475 cases of eve teasing (nine every month) have been registered. • Every 4th household in Punjab faces with dowry demand. • Dowry harassment more prone in urban areas.• While dowry demand was maximum in Doaba (every 3rd household) dowry harassment, dowry deaths were most in the developed areas of Malwa. • The lower middle strata had the most cases of dowry harassment. Different Forms of Domestic Violence in India and Their Causes About Victims • 44% of victims are under age 18• 80% are under age 30 Sexual Assault Numbers • Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted • In 2007, there were 248,300 victims of sexual assault Reporting to Police • 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police• 15 of 16 rapists will never spend a day in jail About Rapists • Approximately 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim • 38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance Domestic Violence Against Women This form of domestic violence is most common of all. One of the reasons for it being so prevalent is the orthodox and idiotic mindset of the society that women are physically and emotionally weaker than the males. Though women today have proved themselves in almost every field of life affirming that they are no less than men, the reports of violence against them are much larger in number than against men. The possible reasons are many and are diversified over the length and breadth of the country. According to United Nation Population Fund Report, around two-third of married Indian women are victims of domestic violence and as many as 70 per cent of married women in India between the age of 15 and 49 are victims of beating, rape or forced sex. In India, more than 55 percent of the women suffer from domestic violence, especially in the states of Bihar, U.P., M.P. and other northern states.The most common causes for women stalking and  battering include dissatisfaction with the dowry and exploiting women for more of it, arguing with the partner, refusing to have sex with him, neglecting children, going out of home without telling the partner, not cooking  properly or on time, indulging in extra marital affairs, not looking after in-laws etc. In some cases infertility in females also leads to their assault by the family members. The greed for dowry, desire for a male child and alcoholism of the spouse are major factors of domestic violence against women in rural areas. There have been gruesome reports of young bride being burnt alive or subjected to continuous harassment for not bringing home the amount of demanded dowry. Women in India also admit to hitting or beating because of their suspicion about the husband’s sexual involvement with other women. The Tandoor Murder Case  of Naina Sahni in New Delhi in the year 1995 is one such dreadful incident of a woman  being killed and then burnt in a Tandoor by his husband. This incidence was an outcome of suspicion of extra marital affairs of Naina Sahni which led to marital discord and domestic violence against her.In urban areas there are many more factors which lead to differences in the beginning and later take the shape of domestic violence. These include – more income of a working woman than her partner, her absence in the house till late night, abusing and neglecting in-laws, being more forward socially etc. Working women are quite often subjected to assaults and coercion sex by employees of the organization. At times, it could be voluntary for a better  pay and designation in the ofce. Preetinder Kaur (2011).  Higher Education of Social Science , 1 (1), 24-32  28 Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture Violence against young widows has also been on a rise in India. Most often they are cursed for their husband’s death and are deprived of proper food and clothing. They are not allowed or encouraged for remarriage in most of the homes, especially in rural areas. There have been cases of molestation and rape attempts of women by other family members in nuclear families or someone in the neighbourhood. At times, women are even sexually coerced by their partner themselves against their will. They are brutally beaten and tortured for not conceiving a male child. Incidents like, ripping off a woman’s womb for killing the female foetus when she disagrees for abortion have also come to light especially in rural areas. Female foeticide and female infanticide continue to be a rising concern.Also as expressed by Rebecca J. Burns in the following lines, “When I am asked why a woman doesn’t leave abuser I say: Women stay because the fear of leaving is greater than the fear of staying. They will leave when the fear of staying is greater than the fear of leaving.” A common Indian house wife has a tendency to bear the harassment she is subjected to by her husband and the family. One reason could be to prevent the children from undergoing the hardships if she separates from the spouse. Also the traditional and orthodox mindset makes them  bear the sufferings without any protest.Other forms of physical abuse against women include slapping, punching, grabbing, burdening them with drudgery, public humiliation and the neglect of their health problems. Some of the other forms of psychological torment against them could be curtailment of their rights to self-expression and curbing the freedom to associate with the natal family and friends. Consequences of Domestic Violence There are varied consequences of domestic violence depending on the victim, the age group, the intensity of the violence and frequency of the torment they are subjected to. Living under a constant fear, threat and humiliation are some of the feelings developed in the minds of the victims as a consequence of an atrocious violence. The consequences of the domestic violence in detail can be broadly categorised under – the Effect on the victim himself/herself and the family , Effect on the society and the Effect on nation’s growth and productivity. The ‘Effect on the victim’ has been further subcategorized for women, men, children and olds. Effect on the Victim and the Family Consequences of Violence Against Women Battered women have tendency to remain quiet, agonised and emotionally disturbed after the occurrence of the torment. A psychological set back and trauma because of domestic violence affects women’s productivity in all forms of life. The suicide case of such victimised women is also a deadly consequence and the number of such cases is increasing.A working Indian woman may drop out from work  place because of the ill-treatment at home or office, she may lose her inefficiency in work. Her health may deteriorate if she is not well physically and mentally. Some women leave their home immediately after rst few atrocious attacks and try to become self-dependent. Their survival becomes difcult and painful when they have to work hard for earning two meals a day. Many such women come under rescue of women welfare organizations like Women Welfare Association of India (WWAI), Affus Woman Welfare Association (AWWA) and Woman’s Emancipation and Development Trust (WEDT). Some of them who leave their homes are forcefully involved in women trafficking and pornography. This results in acquiring a higher risk of becoming a drug addict and suffering from HIV/AIDS. Some of course do it by their choice.One of the severe effects of domestic violence against women is its effect on her children. It is nature’s  phenomenon that a child generally has a greater attachment towards the mother for she is the one who gives birth. As long as the violence subjected to the mother is hidden from the child, he/she may behave normally at home. The day when mother’s grief and suffering is revealed, a child may become upset about the happening deeply. Children may not even comprehend the severity of the problem. They may turn silent, reserved and express solace to the mother. When the violence against women is openly done in front of them since their childhood, it may have a deeper and gruesome impact in their mindset. They get used to such happenings at home, and have a tendency to reciprocate the same in their lives. It’s common in especially in rural homes in India which are victimised by the evil of domestic violence.In cases of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), violence against women leads them to maintain a distance from their partner. Their sexual life is affected adversely. Many of them le for divorce and seek separation which again affects the life of children. Some continue to be exploited in lack of proper awareness of human rights and laws of the constitution. Effect of Domestic Violence on the Society All the different forms of violence discussed in this essay adversely affect the society. Violence against women may keep them locked in homes succumbing to the torture they face. If they come out in open and reveal the wrong done to them for help and rescue, it inuences the society both  positively and negatively. At one hand where it acts as an inspiration and ray of hope for other suffering women, on the other hand it also spoils the atmosphere of the society. When something of this kind happens in the society, few families may witness the evil of domestic violence knocking their door steps. Some families try to imitate what others indulge in irrespective of it being good or bad for the family. Crime, Gender and Society in India
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