Ignorance is NOT Bliss: NCRB Data on Violence against Women
The Hathras case has sent the entire country in a state of shock. People are in outrage. News channels have ditched the Bollywood-drug issue for their primetime debates and have recourse to the case of murder and alleged rape case of 19-year-old Dalit girl who was violated by four upper-class men.
The woman passed on Tuesday. On the same day, NCRB under Ministry of Home Affairs is assigned the responsibility of collecting and analysing crime data defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Special and Local Laws (SLL), released data on rapes and violence against women in the country among other criminal data of 2019.
In 2019, a total of 32,033 cases were reported across country of rape, which only mounts to 7.3% of the crimes committed against women in that year. These numbers were 33,356 and 32,559 in the corresponding years 2018 and 2017, respectively. In 2018, according to an annual poll conducted by Thomson Reuters Foundation, India was ranked number one in the list of most dangerous country for women.
Cases on kidnapping and sexual assault of a women (below 18) were recorded highest in Uttar Pradesh 7,444, followed by Maharashtra 6,402 and Madhya Pradesh 9,053, according to the NCRB data. Delhi led with 3,398 such cases, followed by Mumbai with 1,327 cases. A total of 278 cases of rape with murder were recorded in 2019 out of which Maharashtra had the highest number of cases at 47, followed by Madhya Pradesh 37 and Uttar Pradesh 34. Rajasthan with 5,997 total cases of rape topped the list followed by Uttar Pradesh 3,065, Madhya Pradesh 2,485, Maharashtra 2,299 while Uttar Pradesh topped the list of crimes against women with 59,853, followed by Maharashtra 37,144 and Rajasthan 41,550.
Everyday in 2019, 88 cases of rape were reported. 3,13,289 cases on rape were reported in the entirety of 2010-2019.
Out of the 3,13,289 rape cases, the Nirbhaya case became the only case to receive a diligent response from the entire nation. What about other 3,13,288 cases?
Today, there's an overabundance of media that has resulted in an overwhelming flow of information. This flow of information substitutes knowledge over activism, making people apathetic to heinous crimes and societal issues, or in order words narcotizing dysfunction. This concept was first identified in an article by Paul F. Lazarfeld and Robert K. Merton, Mass Communication, Popular Taste, Social Action.
An average reader or listener spends a certain amount of time consuming information and accounts of issues. The individual can discuss and draw courses of action against the issues. However, these courses of action are mostly restricted to discourses and ever rarely become an actual action. “The interested and informed citizen can congratulate himself on his lofty state of interest and information and neglect to see that he has abstained from decision and action.” Mass media becomes guilty for making the “large masses of the population politically apathetic and inert.
“He comes to mistake knowing about problems of the day for doing something about them. His social conscience remains spotlessly clean. He is concerned. He is informed. And he has all sorts of ideas as to what should be done. But, after he has gotten through his dinner and after he has listened to his favored radio programs and after he has read his second newspaper of the day, it is really time for bed.” – Mass Communication, Popular Taste, Social Action
All the other cases of rape, rape with murder, kidnapping, abduction, sexual assault and other crimes against women are as real as the Nirbhaya and Hathras case. Consumption of such news, almost makes us prone to hearing about crimes, and make us neglect the gravity of cruel realities. Knowledge and awareness is the first and a crucial step – as important as the much due activism.