India, the most dangerous country to be a woman: confirms survey

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India is the world’s most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labour, according to a poll of global experts released on Tuesday. Government data shows, reported cases of crime against women rose by 83 percent between 2007 and 2016, when there were four cases of rape reported every hour.

War-torn Afghanistan and Syria ranked second and third in the Thomson Reuters Foundation survey of about 550 experts on women’s issues, followed by Somalia and Saudi Arabia. The only western nation in the top 10 was the United States, which ranked third when respondents were asked where women were most at risk of sexual violence, harassment and being coerced into sex.

The poll was a repeat of a survey in 2011 that found experts saw Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India, and Somalia as the most dangerous countries for women. Experts said India moving to the top of poll showed, not enough was being done to tackle the danger women faced, more than five years after the rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi made violence against women a national priority.

The most recent statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau show that crimes against women have increased 34% in the past four years. India has been designated the worst country for women in the G20 nations even lower than Saudi Arabia.

“India has shown utter disregard and disrespect for women … rape, marital rapes, sexual assault and harassment, female infanticide has gone unabated,” said Manjunath Gangadhara, an official at the Karnataka state government. The survey asked respondents which five of the 193 United Nations member states they thought were most dangerous for women and which country was worst in terms of healthcare, economic resources, cultural or traditional practices, sexual violence and harassment, non-sexual violence and human trafficking.

Read more: Crimes against Women plague India

Female infanticide, sex slavery and rape

Respondents also ranked India the most dangerous country for women in terms of human trafficking, including sex slavery and domestic servitude, and for customary practices such as forced marriage, stoning and female infanticide.

Reports of sexual violence have been steadily rising in India despite the national outrage that followed the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012. The incidents come less than a month after India approved the death penalty for the rape of girls younger than 12, and increased the prison- term for the rape of older girls and women.

The approval of the death penalty for child rapists came after a particularly gruesome rape and murder of a Muslim girl in Jammu and Kashmir, who was kidnaped, sedated and gang-raped in a Hindu temple. Reported rape cases in India have climbed steadily in recent years to about 40,000 in 2016. Many more cases are believed to go unreported. Child rape accounts for about 40 percent of the reported cases.

Experts said India moving to the top of poll showed, not enough was being done to tackle the danger women faced, more than five years after the rape and murder of a student on a bus in Delhi made violence against women a national priority.

Atrocities against women have been on the rise in India over the past couple decades. Sexual harassment is a daily occurrence in the lives of common women. Therefore, women empowerment is something that all Indian government’s claim they want. However, promising is one thing and fulfilling is quite another.

In September 2017, Authorities in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has ordered an inquiry after police beat female university students protesting against an alleged sexual assault. Outrage grew after video footage of the beating at the leading Banaras Hindu University (BHU) went viral.

Read more: Crimes on women: Third girl burned and raped in India

In a related incident, a two-judge bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court awarded bail to three law students from the elite Jindal Global Law School who had been convicted by a lower court in March for blackmailing and gang-raping a fellow student. The court labeled the victim as “promiscuous”. The young woman was castigated for drinking beer, smoking, taking drugs, keeping condoms in her room and not confiding in her parents that she was being abused.

The ruling party the BJP was found involved in many anti-women crime cases, specifically one against a Hindu woman. The women was allegedly raped on 9 June last year by two men one of whom was Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a member of the Uttar Pradesh parliament with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The father was taken into police custody where he died due to “abdominal pain”. A day before his daughter had gone to Lucknow, the state capital of Uttar Pradesh, doused herself in kerosene and tried to self-immolate in protest against the alleged unwillingness of police to pursue her allegations.

The most recent statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau show that crimes against women have increased 34% in the past four years. India has been designated the worst country for women in the G20 nations even lower than Saudi Arabia.

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