A research report from Delhi based think tank Vichar Vinimay Kendra busts many stereotypes about India created in the Western as well as a section of Indian media about rapes in India. The report reveals that incidence of rape is highest in states like Rajasthan, Kerala and Delhi while globally the incidence of rape is much lower in India than many western countries. Here is the full report:

The National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) ‘Crime in India’ 2019 report showed the country had 32,033 reported rape cases in the year, 11% victims were from the Dalit community. The country had recorded 88 rape cases every day in 2019. But if you look at the numbers of other countries, then there are less incidents of rape (Rate per lakh population) in India than countries like South Africa, America, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea (See the details in Box).

“The majority of cases under crime against women under IPC were registered under ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’ (30.9%) followed by ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’ (21.8%), ‘Kidnapping & Abduction of Women’ (17.9%) and ‘Rape’ (7.9%). The crime rate registered per lakh women population is 62.4 in 2019 in comparison with 58.8 in 2018”, the NCRB data showed.

Rajasthan worst state in the last 10 years

.Rajasthan is the worst state for women with a staggering 295 per cent rise in the reported rape cases in the last 10 years. While the state reported 1,519 rape cases in 2009, it went up to 5,997 cases in 2019 – a four-time increase, NCRB data shows.

.Kerala is the second poor performer on this list. The state has reported 1,455 more cases in the last 10 years. The number of recorded rape cases increased by 256 per cent in the state , from 568 in 2009 to 2,023 in 2019.

.Delhi is the third most hostile state for women in India with a three-fold increase in the cases over the 10-year period. The increase is of 167 per cent – from 469 rape cases in 2009 to 1,253 cases in 2019.

. Jharkhand has shown a decadal growth of 97 per cent, with 719 cases in 2009 to 1,416 in 2019.

What World Data Says

It is estimated that approximately 35% of women worldwide have experienced some form of sexual harassment in their lifetime. In the majority of countries that have data available on rape report that less than 40% of women who experience sexual violence seek help. Less than 10% seek help from law enforcement. Because many women who experience sexual violence rarely report or come forward about their incidences, exact rape numbers are challenging to report. While many countries have laws against the act of sexual assault and violence, many of them are insufficient, inconsistent, and not systematically enforced. While people mostly hear about rape and sexual assault against women, men around the world also experience sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape every day.

Women ages 16-19 are four times more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault and female college students ages 18-24 are three times more likely to experience sexual assault. Transgender people and those with disabilities are twice as likely to be victims of sexual assault or rape. In the United States, 70% of rape is committed by someone the victim knows.

Ten Countries which have the highest cases of rape (number of incidents per 100,000 citizens) are:

Country Rate Incidents in 2019
South Africa 132.40 66196
Botswana 92.90 1865
Lesotho 82.70 1777
Swaziland 77.50 849
Bermuda 67.30 43
Sweden 63.50 5,960
Suriname 45.20 223
Costa rica 36.70 1685
Nicargua 31.60 1829
Greneda 30.60 32

What Data Says about Other Prominent Countries

Country Rate Incidents in 2019
India 2.3 32,033
Australia 28.60 6378
USA 27.30 84767
United Kingdom 2.18 1439
Germany 9.40 7724
South Korea 13.50 6321
Bangladesh 9.82 11,682
New Zealand 25.80 1129
UAE 1.50 72
Sri Lanka 7.30 1432

(Source: worldpopulationreview, United Nations, NCRB India, BBC)

Ten rape cases that shook India


Aruna Shanbaug Case

One of the oldest rape cases widely covered by the media was the 1973 case of nurse Aruna Shanbaug. Aruna was raped by a sweeper, Sohanlal Bhartha Walmiki, while working as a while working as a junior nurse at KEM Hospital in Mumbai. During the rape, Sohanlal choked Shanbaug with a dog chain – causing permanent brain damage. Shanbaug died from pneumonia on 18 May 2015 after being in a persistent vegetative state for nearly 42 years. Sohanlal served his sentence and was a free man for most of those years. This case remains an iconic symbol of the injustice women face in india.

Mathura rape case

On 26 March 1972, a 15-year-old tribal girl named Mathura was raped by two police men in Chandrapur district, Maharashtra. Initially, the culprits were acquitted by the sessions court as the girl was said to have been “habituated to sexual intercourse”. Later massive protests led to the formation of a women’s rights group and a subsequent change in the the Indian rape law. Howls of angry protests from activists led to the government amending the anti-rape law in 1983 to accommodate the provision that if a victim says that she did not consent to sex, the court will believe her.

Scarlett Kelling Rape and Murder

Scarlett Keeling, a 15-year-old British girl, was on a six month family holiday to Goa with her mother, mother’s boyfriend and siblings. She was raped and left to die at Anjuna beach on February 18, 2008 by two beach shack hands who allegedly also spiked her drinks. Her bruised body was found on the beach the next day. After eight years, a Goa court has acquitted both the accused, Samson D’Souza and Placido Carvalho, of rape and culpable homicide. It is believed that the defenders won the case after the prosecution failed to prove their involvement with material evidence as well as eyewitnesses who could vouch for the final moments of Keeling.

Priyadarshini Mattoo Rape Case

Priyadarshini Mattoo was a 25 year old law student, who was found raped and murdered at her house in New Delhi on 23 January, 1996. After completing her B Com from Jammu she joined Delhi University for her LL.B. course. She had lodged several complaints of harassment, intimidation and stalking against the accused Santosh Kumar Singh who was also a student of LL.B. in campus Law Centre, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi. The accused had passed LL.B. from University of Delhi from the said Campus Law Centre in December, 1994. Singh, a law student of Delhi University, was acquitted by the trial court in the case on December 3, 1999, but the Delhi High Court had on October 27, 2006 reversed the decision, holding him guilty of rape and murder and awarded him death penalty. Singh, son of a former IPS officer, had challenged his conviction and death sentence awarded by the high court. In October 2010, the Supreme Court had upheld Singh’s conviction, but commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment.

Nirbhaya Case

On December 16, 2012, A 23-year-old woman physiotherapist, who came to be known as Nirbhaya, was gang-raped on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 inside a running bus in south Delhi by six persons and severely assaulted before being thrown out on the road. She succumbed to injuries on December 29 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. The girl was brutally violated by an iron rod and later died due to her horrific injuries. All the six culprits were arrested. One of them, Ram Singh, committed suicide in jail. Four of them were sentenced to death, and the juvenile was sent to a remand home and released in two years. The convicts — Mukesh Kumar Singh, Vinay Kumar Sharma and Pawan Kumar Gupta were hanged to death at the Tihar Central Jail in Delhi. On March 21, 2013, the rape law in the country was amended. The new tougher anti-rape law, Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 — to punish sex crimes redefined rape and made punishments more stringent, including death for repeat rape offenders.

Mumbai Gang Rape case

The infamous incident in 2013 in Mumbai also known as the Shakti Mills gang-rape, where a 22-year-old photojournalist, who was interning with a magazine in Mumbai, was gang-raped by five people, including a juvenile.The incident occurred on August 22, 2013, when she had gone to the deserted Shakti Mills compound, near Mahalaxmi in south Mumbai, with a male colleague on an assignment. The three accused – Vijay Jadhav, Mohammed Kasim Shaikh, Mohammed Salim Ansari , On March 20, 2014, a trial court convicted all three accused and they were later sentenced to death under the newly-introduced Section 376E of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Imrana Rape Case

The Imrana rape case of 2005 brings to light another problem in India about separate laws for different religions. Her father-in-law raped her in UP, and the village panchayat treated it as a case of adultery instead of rape. That also ordered Imrana to leave her husband and consider herself married to her father-in-law. After a lot of media attention, she got justice as her father-in-law was sentenced to a term of ten years of imprisonment.

Soumya Murder Case

Govindachami attacked Soumya in an attempt to rob her during her train journey from Ernakulam to Shornur in Kerala. He also smashed her head into the wall and then threw her out of the train. later he also jumped out of the train, find her, carried her to the woods and then brutally raped her. She was severely injured when she was thrown out of the train and later succumbed to her injuries. Govindachami was awarded capital punishment.

Bhanwari Devi Case

In 1992 Bhanwari Devi was gang-raped by five high caste men of Bhateri village when she got involved in speaking against child marriage. She was being denied justice by her low caste and gender. Hence she attracted a lot of media coverage, and the case is now considered crucial in the women’s rights movement in India.
It was her case that resulted in the Indian Supreme Court formulating guidelines to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace, but her attackers remain free, cleared of rape charges by the trial court while her appeal has been heard just once in the high court over the past 22 years


Punishment for rapes in different Countries

India: Life imprisonment to death sentence

After the Anti Rape Bill of April 2013, culprits are liable to life imprisonment (which is actually 14 years), imprisonment for entire life and even the death sentence in the rarest of rare cases. The amendment also expanded to include a lot of other kinds of sexual assault that amount to rape. As of December 31, 2019, India had 378 prisoners on death row, the NLU’s report said. Trial courts imposed 102 death sentences in 2019, a drop from 162 in the previous year, it added. More than half of the death sentences (54 of 102) awarded in 2019 were for murders involving sexual offences, the report noted. Of these, the victim was younger than 12 years in 40 cases.

USA: Imprisonment for life

The usual sentence for a convicted rapist here depends on whether the trial falls under state or federal law. In cases under federal law, the punishments can range from a few years to imprisonment for the entirety of the rapist’s life span.

France: 15 years to life

The French are pretty hardcore about their rape laws. They hand out 15 year sentences for rape, which can be extended to 30 or life depending on the extent of damage and brutality.

China: Death sentence or castration

The sentence for rape in China is death, which some might laud for their swiftness. However, execution without a proper trial is just as savage. Proof of their autocratic leadership shows in the fact that some convicted rapists who were executed were later found innocent. Castration is also used in some cases.

Russia: 3 to 20 years

Rapists in Russia are usually sentenced to 3-6 years in prison. The jail term can go up to more than 10 years depending on the situation, such as if the person causes grievous harm and can be even higher (20 years) if it’s a rare case.

Saudi Arabia: Beheading within days

The punishment for rape in Saudi Arabia is a public beheading after administering the rapist with a sedative.

North Korea: Death by firing squad

This dictatorship sentences rapists to death by firing squad. Their lines of justice are so blurred that for all we know, they just use this as a cover up to execute dissidents.

Afghanistan: Shot in the head or hanged to death

Convicted rapists here are shot in the head within 4 days or hanged to death depending on the judgement handed out by the court.

Egypt: Death by hanging

Egypt is also one of the places that still follows the slightly outdated mode of death by hanging.

Iran: Hanged to death

Rapists in Iran are sentenced to death, sometimes by hanging but sometimes allegedly also by stoning, which is a gruesome method to go. Sadly enough however, the culture here also ends up victimising the person who was raped however.

Norway: 4 to 15 years

They are one of the most stringent places with regard to rape. Any kind of sexual behaviour without consent falls under the category of rape here, and the perpetrator can be thrown in jail for a period of 4-15 years depending on how heinous the crime was.

(Source: National Crime Record Bureau, India Today, United Nations Crime report, India spend)







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