New Delhi: Five Indian states — Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh — have reported the bulk of the crimes committed against women in the country in 2019, stated a new report released Tuesday.
Titled ‘Gender Violence in India 2020’, the report by Prajnya Trust provided insights into gender-related crimes across the country, including the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on gender violence.
The report also quoted the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data and included other relevant statistics on gender crimes by state agencies and NGOs. It compared data of various crimes against women over the years, including rape, sexual abuse, cyber crime, workplace harassment and more.
According to the report, the sex ratio over the years hasn’t improved a bit, but has gone down further. Comparing the data from 1955 to 2019, the report said the male-female ratio in 1955, when it was first recorded, was 946 to 1,000 boys, while in 2019, the sex ratio stood at 943 girls to 1,000 boys.
As many as 5,529 cases of kidnapping and abduction of women were reported in 1955, which went up to 72,780 in 2019, as compared to 72,751 in 2018.
Incidents of rape, first recorded in 1975, have grown as much as 10 times from 3,376 to 32,033 in 2019, the report stated.
Cyber crime cases reported in 2017 were 4,242, while in 2019, 8,379 such cases were reported.
There was only some decline in cases related to workplace harassment, which went down to 505 in 2019 from 833 in 2015.
The report, however, stated that accusations levelled under the #MeToo movement after 2017 have by and large “blown over with many of the accused resuming their professional lives, while those making the accusations have suffered personal and professional damage”.
The cases of crimes against women from Scheduled Castes have also increased to 3,375 in 2019 from 2,800 in 2015.
The report also mentioned the Hathras incident wherein a 19-year-old Dalit woman was allegedly raped by upper caste men from her village in September.
5 states reported maximum gender crime cases
According to the report, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh together account for 66.92 per cent of the total rapes reported in the country in 2019.
These states have also accounted for 66.22 per cent of rape of girls aged less than 18 years in 2019.
In cases of sexual harassment, the states accounted for a whopping 81.22 per cent of such incidents in the country.
Gender crimes during pandemic
The pandemic also led to a surge in gender crimes with more cases of domestic violence being reported, stated the report.
The report quoted the National Commission for Women (NCW) data, which registered 587 domestic violence complaints between 23 March and 16 April, after the Covid-9 lockdown was imposed, and 396 complaints in the 25 days between 27 February and 22 March.
“The number of distress calls also doubled between March and April. The increase in violence against women during the pandemic, in particular domestic violence, has often been referred to as a ‘shadow pandemic’,” the report said.
The cases of cyber crimes, as the world shifted online, also increased during the pandemic, it said.
According to the NCW data quoted in the report, 54 cyber crime complaints were received online in April in comparison to 37 complaints in March, and 21 complaints in February.
The report also quoted Akancha Srivastava, founder of the Akancha Foundation, an organisation working in the field of cyber safety, stating that it has received a total of 412 genuine complaints of cyber abuse from 25 March to 25 April during the lockdown.
Of these, as many as 396 complaints from women were serious, ranging from abuse, indecent exposure, unsolicited obscene pictures, threats, malicious emails claiming their account was hacked, ransom demands, blackmail and more, the report stated.