While We Were Busy With “Love Jihad”, a New Report Says Violence Against Women Has Only Increased


While We Were Busy With “Love Jihad”, a New Report Says Violence Against Women Has Only Increased

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

Crimes against women continue to make headlines and shock us to our core. A report by Prajnya Trust titled “Gender Violence in India 2020” has just confirmed the scale and severity of the issue. It states that Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan accounted for nearly 66.92% of rape cases in 2019.

These are truly sobering numbers.

The report by Prajnya Trust provides insights into gender-related crimes across the country, including the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on gender violence. The report cites NCRB data and also mentions other relevant statistics on gender crime by state agencies and NGOs.

The report states that sex ratio hasn’t improved over the years but actually gone down. The report stated that the male-female ratio in 1955, when it was first recorded, was 946 to 1,000 boys, while in 2019, the sex ratio stood at 943 girls to 1,000 boys. For all our talk of making incredible leaps in various spheres, this is a tragic statistic.

Incidents of kidnapping, abduction and rape have shot up astronomically. Incidents of rape have have grown as much as 10 times from 3,376 in 1975 to 32,033 in 2019. The five states of UP, MP, Haryana, Maharashtra and Rajasthan have seen a disproportionate number of cases, 66.92% of total rape cases, 66.22% of rapes of girls less than 18 years and a staggering 81.22% of sexual harassement cases in the country.

The report crystallises through data, what has been cited by many experts, that gender crimes have sharply increased during the pandemic. NCW data has been quoted, which registered 587 domestic violence complaints between 23 March and 16 April, after the Covid-9 lockdown was imposed, and 396 complaints in the 25 days between 27 February and 22 March.

As the world moved online during the pandemic, there was a sharp rise in cyber crime cases as well. 54 cyber crime complaints were received online in April in comparison to 37 complaints in March, and 21 complaints in February. No space is safe for women.

While political energy is spent on issues like Love Jihad and hurt sentiments over a kiss in a temple in a web series, the report is an eye-opener and educates us towards how much work still needs to be done to stem gender crimes in the country. The urgency seems to be misdirected towards other issues while the grave ones stare us right in the face.