Saturday, December 29, 2012

48% rape victims in city are minors

Reveals reply to RTI query by activist Mallika Sarabhai; of 312 cases registered in last 9 years, 151 below 18
Smitha R
About 48% of rape victims in the city are minors. This was revealed in a reply to an RTI query by danseuse and activist Mallika Sarabhai in connection with the number of rapes registered in the city for the period from January 2000 to June 19, 2009. Of the total 312 registered rape cases in the city for the period, 151 involved girls below the age of 18.
Dr Param Shukla, child and adolescent psychiatrist, said that in many cases the minors are too scared to seek help or report the incident. “Children below five will rarely tell their parents. In case of teens even if they muster the courage to speak out, they are not sure of being believed and instead fear that they will be blamed for what happened to them,” said Dr Shukla.
He said that many times parents, in order to protect their daughter and ensure that her 'future is not destroyed', choose not to approach the police and instead treat it as a family matter that has to be dealt within the four walls of the home. “Given the insensitive way in which the police handle rape cases and the lack of female doctors to examine rape victims, you can't blame a child for putting up with the abuse for so long,” said Shukla.
Manjula Pradeep of Navsarjan, who has worked with several rape victims as well, said it is a matter of concern as to why men rape minors. “It is not that such rapists are men who are deprived of sex. Many of them are married and have children of their own,” said Pradeep. She said that while smaller children cannot hide what happened to them, in case of adolescents many may not come out. “There is fear of stigma and the fear that they may not be believed. But the pre-dominant fear is that of the rapist himself,” said Pradeep.
Bharatsinh Zala, an activist with NGO Cranti (Citizens for Resource and Action Initiative), said that what is talked about is the reported cases. “But for every case reported there are several others that never make it to the police records either because the victims refuse to come out or because the cops refuse to register the complaint.”