|NCW chief Mamta Sharma|
A recent undercover investigation carried out by a weekly news magazine and news channel in India has shocked the nation after revealing police apathy toward rape victims.
Following a reported 128 sexual assault and rape cases in Delhi and surrounding towns in the first 45 days of this year, two journalists, posing as research students, interviewed around 30 senior police officials.
More than half of them blamed the women for provoking the crimes by wearing short clothes and being too friendly with them.
One police official said that if girls don’t stay within their boundaries and wear appropriate clothing, then naturally men become aggressive and commit rape.
Another went as far as saying that girls from outside Delhi and even in Nepal go with men for money and “if the amount is not enough, it becomes rape.”
The National Commission for Women called the comments “unfortunate.”
“If law keepers, administrators or anyone in authority can say such things about women then they are clearly not acting responsibly,” said Mamta Sharma, chair of the National Commission for Women.
Sharma said these agencies should set a precedent by dealing with rapists harshly so that a person thinks twice before committing such an act.
“Police should adopt a sympathetic attitude toward rape victims as they are already in a very vulnerable state,” she added.
According to official statistics, at least three women have been raped or molested in the national capital and its surrounding towns every day this year.
A total of 128 sexual assaults and rapes were reported inDelhi, Noida and Ghaziabadin the first 45 days of the year, the statistics said.
Gurgaon, one of these towns, reported four sexual assaults and three rapes, while two assaults and four rapes were registered in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
Things become worse for rape victims when they have to face the police as they are looked down upon and treated as the offender, said Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research, an NGO working for women and girls.
She said such a mindset should be rooted out and demanded gender sensitization training for police officials so that they deal with such cases effectively.
Sister Helen Saldanha, secretary of the Women’s Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, said police officials should be sanctioned for failing in their duty. “It is their mindset that causes more damage and leads to inaction,” she said.
Sharma said her organization is spreading awareness about women’s rights through a pilot project in Rajasthan, Uttaranchal and Kerala.
“We also conduct seminars and workshops with police officials on how to deal with such cases,” she said.
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