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Sexual violence: Women are safer in Karachi than Delhi; govt efforts fail

Delhi has been paired with Brazil's Sao Paulo in a poll that lists the cities where women fear the risk of sexual violence, including rape, attacks or harassment

BS Web Team & Agencies  |  New Delhi 

8,800 cases of rape on children were registered in 2015: NCRB
Delhi is already known as the 'rape capital' of India

New Delhi has been named the world's worst megacity for sexual violence against women in a survey conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Delhi has been paired with Brazil's Sao Paulo in the poll, which lists the cities where women fear the risk of sexual violence, including rape, attacks or harassment.

The survey comes just five years after the capital witnessed the horrific Nirbhaya gangrape incident in December 2012, which resulted in a widespread public outcry demanding better safety measures for women.

The poll was conducted in 19 of the world's biggest megacities with populations of more than 10 million and asked 380 experts in cities to assess the risk of sexual violence.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian capital, Cairo, was rated the most dangerous city for women overall, followed by Mexico City and Dhaka. Delhi was ranked the fourth most dangerous. Japan's Tokyo was given the status of the safest city for women in terms of sexual violence.

Even Pakistan's Karachi, ranked ninth from the bottom, is considered safer than Delhi when it comes to sexual violence. Delhi is already referred to by many as the 'rape capital' of India and the survey further throws a global spotlight on the gender violence in the world's second-most-populous nation.

What do statistics suggest?

According to Delhi Police data, allegations of crimes against women — a molestation complaint every two hours, a rape case every four hours — remained staggeringly high in 2016. In the same year, 2,155 rape cases were registered, which is fewer compared to the year before when 2,199 cases were registered. 

However, rapes reported in Delhi have increased 200 per cent till 2016 since 2012, the year Nirbhaya was raped, setting in motion mass protests, political promises and efforts at reform.

A comparison of Delhi Police reports from 2014 and 2015 revealed a rise in the rape cases withdrawn, from 81 to 104, possibly indicating a lack of faith in the criminal-justice system, especially as cases fail judicial scrutiny.

Other crimes against women rose 50 per cent over the same period, from 208 to 1498, according to Delhi Police data.

Another thorough study of the Delhi Police data carried out by IndiaSpend suggests that the number of rapes reported each year in Delhi has more than tripled over the last five years, registering an increase of 277 per cent from 572 in 2011 to 2,155 in 2016.

Government initiatives to ensure the safety of women–such as this Vehicle Security and Tracking System and setting up of women’s helplines—have failed to effect a measurable drop in the number of reports of rape and other sex-related crimes.

At the same time, funds allocated for improving safety of women in public transport have been underutilised for years on end, as this ministerial reply in the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) indicates. (Read more)

As many as 140 cases of rape and 238 cases of molestation were registered by Delhi Police in January this year alone, of which 43 and 133 cases respectively remained unsolved when the data was released. 

Delhi schools aren't safe either

In a shocking incident, a five-year-old girl was allegedly raped inside the premises of Tagore Public School in the capital's Gandhi Nagar area. The police had registered a case against under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) and is investigating the matter and the accused was arrested. (Read more)

A Delhi woman narrates why she feels unsafe in the city 

Most residential colonies in Delhi are poorly lit. Even main roads, inner streets, sections of markets, areas between residential blocks and bus stops pose a threat. In fact, in a survey carried out by Jagori among 500 women in the city, over 95 per cent reported carrying things like pepper sprays and sharp objects for protection. But such individualistic solutions like pepper-spray and self-defence are not an answer to our plight. At best, this is jugaad, a make-do arrangement to protect ourselves. (Read more)

First Published: Mon, October 16 2017. 10:49 IST