With almost two rapes a day occurring during 2011, Karnataka is surely not among the safest places in the country for women.
The most disturbing statistic of all is that only four persons were convicted of rape in 2011, suggesting poor investigation by the police.
An average of 500 women have been raped every year since 2006 in the State. The figures show an increase in the incidence of rape cases from 400 in 2006 to 636 in 2011.
According to statistics compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau for 2011, Bangalore city comes second in the country when all crimes against women are concerned. It is ranked fourth among cities in recorded rape cases. It accounted for 3.8 per cent of reported rape cases in the country during the same period.
Of the 636 cases of rape in Karnataka in 2011, more than a hundred victims were below the age of 18 and at least 45 were below 14.
The analysis of rapes that occurred in Bangalore in 2011 has revealed that in more than half the cases, women and girls were raped by their own relatives and friends. This revelation puts paid to the suggestions that the enemy is lurking in the shadowy by-lanes of the city, waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting stranger.
How many Dalits?
There were at least 7,700 cases of crimes against women in Karnataka during 2011, which included crimes such as rape, kidnapping, dowry death, molestation, cruelty and sexual harassment. However, official statistics are silent on how many of them were Dalits.
R. Manohar, project director of South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring, says: “There is a systematic attempt to hide crimes against Dalit women by not including them as a separate category.”
He says that most often, Dalit women don’t come forward to report an atrocity and when they do, their cases are registered in the general category.
“Even when the media reports rape cases in their daily crime notes, they rarely mention the caste of the victim,” he said
Role of police
A distinct feature of the recent protests across the country has been the anger directed at the police.
In a case that is reflective of perceived police insensitivity, two days after the Delhi rape case, on the evening of December 18, a 14-year-old girl was raped by a 27-year-old man here. The Kadugodi police registered the case only the next morning in response to protests from the girl’s neighbours and family. The girl was sent for a medical test only around 5.30 p.m. the next evening.