By Vanya Mehta for TwoCircles.net
This article is part of a monthly series in which we will aggregate the media coverage on atrocities against women, whether rape or sexual assault. Through monthly monitoring of the news reports, hopefully TwoCircles.net will be able to reveal some patterns in the regions where rape is reported most often and frequency of incidents of sexual violence since the Verma Commission’s report and the Delhi gang rape of 2012.
The rest of the incidents reported took place in major cities of Uttarakhand, Haryana, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Haryana, Odissa, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, and Kerala.
The states where no media reports of rape in January were Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Karnataka. [DISCLAIMER: This is not to say that no violent acts against women took place in these areas but only to show there was no media coverage.]
The year of 2014 began with the death of a 16-year-old from Calcutta who was gang raped twice in December and set afire. She was, according to autopsies provided by the Hindustan Times, pregnant at the time of her death. This case brought attention from Indian, U.S., and U.K.-based media.
Many of the reported rape cases for the rest of the month of January were of children under the age of 10. In Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala, an eight-year old partially blind orphan girl was raped on January 11. The rapist, a 47-year-old autorickshaw driver, was arrested on the same day.
Similarly, in Nagpur, Maharashtra, a seven year old living in a home for deaf and mute children was raped by a worker on January 13. This child’s health conditions were extremely poor after the atrocity and are said to be improving.
Contrastingly, one rape case from Amreli, Gujarat, was filed by a 74 year old woman who was raped by a man who offered her a ride home, claiming to know her family, as per the Times of India report.
A few of these reported rapes ended in murder. One such was the rape of a 23-year old on January 8 in Bombay and another an 8 year old in Kendrapada, Odissa. Another rape that ended in murder was in Tamil Nadu of a 22 year old who attempted to resist rape.
Four cases reported were women traveling to India as tourists. The first on January 6, 2014 was a Polish woman drugged and raped, while traveling in a taxi from Mathura to Delhi with her young daughter. Another involved a German 18-year-old who was raped on a train to Chennai on her way to work for an NGO.
The third case was on reported on January 15, when a 51-year-old Danish woman was gang-raped at knifepoint in New Delhi near the railway station after asking a couple of men described by police as “vagabonds” for directions to a hotel. On January 28, a 4-year-old Iranian girl on holiday in Goa with her familywas raped.
Each reported incident is consistently accompanied by a police report and arrest. The case that received the most national and international attention, pushing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to deploy officers and make arrests, was the Hindu village chief and 12 others near the Birbhum district in Subalpur gang-raped a 20-year-old woman for intending to marry a Muslim man.
We hear statistics often that a woman is raped every 5 minutes in India. In the past month of January, under thirty horrific cases were filed and arrests made. While the 2012 gang rape focused on a middle class urban woman, this month there were some reports of rape in rural areas. These rural rapes are either shocking enough to gain media attention, such as the village council rape, or implicate children, such as the 8 year old who was raped and killed in the Jajpur district of Odissa.
The rape of foreigners is leading to a decline in tourism, by 25 percent in the past year, according to the New Delhi-based Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The village council rape brought attention to a practice that is supposedly quite common. Going forward with this series, TwoCircles.net hopes to reveal the patterns in location, age of victims, and frequency of conviction of accused.
[Data collected by Kamrun Nehar, using Google News’s aggregation of English media, both Indian and non-Indian.]