THE NUMBER OF reported rapes in Delhi has doubled in the past year, while the number of reported sexual assaults has quadrupled.
ActionAid is calling for 23,000 rape cases in India to be fast-tracked, as we move closer to the anniversary of Jyoti Singh, known as Nirbhaya.
The four men accused of her rape and death were found guilty and sentenced to death in September 2013. This case was fast tracked in response to the protests, other rape trials in India can take years to complete.
Director of ActionAid in India, Sehjo Singh, said:
The extremely low conviction rates send out a signal to perpetrators that they are free to act with impunity and can deter women from reporting rape and other crimes of sexual violence
The international development agency also warns that it’s unclear whether the increase in numbers of rapes and sexual assaults is because the number of cases has risen or that woman “feel more able to report cases since the protests and huge publicity surrounding Nirbhaya’s death.”
Sehjo Singh believes that “the number of reported cases does not reflect the true number of cases of rape and sexual assault”. He added:
This is particularly true for marginalised groups like the Dalits who are often threatened not to report cases either by powerful castes or even by police.
The organisation are calling for measures to be put in place to help women in India who have been attacked. Some of the measures they are calling for include:
- The police to be trained to deal with cases of sexual violence
- A 24-hour helpline for rape survivors
- A ban on traumatic vaginal exams
- An end to political interference in sex crime cases
- More judges to deal with India’s slow legal system
To mark the first anniversary of Nirbhaya’s death, ActionAid is supporting a week-long campaign against violence against women in India.
A rally will be held on 16 December that will follow the route of Nirbhaya’s fatal bus journey.