New Delhi: Women reported a rape every 15 minutes on an average in India in 2018, according to government data released this week, underlining its dismal reputation as one of the worst places in the world to be female.
Women reported almost 34,000 rapes in 2018, barely changed from the year before. Just over 85 percent led to charges, and 27 percent to convictions, according to the annual crime report released by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Women’s rights groups say crimes against women are often taken less seriously, and investigated by police lacking in sensitivity.
“The country is still run by men, one (female prime minister) Indira Gandhi is not going to change things. Most judges are still men,” said Lalitha Kumaramangalam, former chief of the National Commission for Women.
“There are very few forensic labs in the country, and fast-track courts have very few judges,” said Kumaramangalam, a BJP member.
A 2015 study by the Centre for Law & Policy Research in Bengaluru found that fast-track courts were indeed quicker, but did not handle a high volume of cases.
And a study in 2016 by Partners for Law in Development in New Delhi found that they still took an average of 8.5 months per case – more than four times the recommended period.
The government statistics understate the number of rapes as it is still considered a taboo to report rape in some parts of India, and because rapes that end in murder are counted purely as murders.