In a society marred by discrimination and disparity, crime is inevitable. By the same logic, it is perhaps not a surprise that the recent years have seen such brazen violence against women in India, especially when one looks at the recent gender gap report published by the World Economic Forum.
While attempts are being made to empower women though stricter laws, better educational opportunities and support systems, we are a long way yet from the goal of providing a life free from abuse, a life of equity and dignity for them. The following visualisations of data gathered from various reports is yet another reminder of the distance still to be covered.
The recent Global Gender Gap Report 2014 from the World Economic Forum(WEF) ranks India at 114 out of the 142 countries listed. South Korea is the only developed nation that is below India on this list. Iceland, which is just a step above India in the alphabetic order, ranks numer-uno on this report, Yemen bottoms the list. Scandinavian countries continue to occupy the top positions in the report.
The following table lists the ranks and the respective scores of India on various different parameters. Iceland's score is provided for comparison. (0=Inequality, 1=Equality).
Surprisingly, Iceland is closer to India on 'Health and Survival' due to the former's poor numbers on Healthy Life Expectancy. A complete profile India from the WEF report is avalable here.
While the WEF report itself does not look into crime against women in the society, numbers from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) tell a sorry tale. The NCRB, under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) maintains records of different forms of crimes in India and publishes them annually. This study looks at the data published by NCRB for the year 2013 with regard to crime against women.
Crimes against women are broadly categorised into two types:
- Crimes under the Indian Penal Code (IPC)
- Crimes under the Special and Local Laws(SLL)
Incidence of Crimes Committed Against Women During 2013
The following chart represents the different types of crimes under the IPC that have been committed against women in 2013.
The infamous states
Geographically, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh combined claim almost 20 per cent of all crimes committed in the country. The north eastern states rank the lowest in terms of crimes against women, with Nagaland reporting just 67 cases in 2013. Odisha has the highest number of offences under the Dowry Prohibition Acts (2014), while Madhya Pradesh has the highest incidence of rape cases (4335).
That the spurt in the incidence of rape cases in India has been alarming is something we are constantly reminded of through reportage in media. What escape cognizance often are the deeper nuances. For example, the following vertical columns are a grim reminder of how women across various age-groups have not been spared when it comes to rape.
How close are the offenders to victims?
Another alarming finding of the NCRB is that of the total number of rape cases (33,707) in 2013, a staggering 94 per cent (31,807) of the cases saw offenders who were known to the victims. NCRB also analyses and records the offender's relation and nearness to the rape victim.
The following pie-chart shows the distribution of how people who have known the victim have abused her dignity in these 31,807 incidents.
The final word
The most depressing part and a downside of any data analysis involving crime in the society is the way in which it converts human victims into mere statistics. The need of the hour is a higher plane of realisation wherein equality in all aspects is truly observed and practised. Crimes against women cannot be attributable to any single cause, and is an outcome of multiple variables juxtaposed in a certain way. We as a society should target the root causes and data merely gives us a better idea of the areas to strike at. That is where these come in handy.