The Rape Capital of India: Why Violence Against Women is on the Rise?

Women have long been objectified and disregarded, and violence against women today is undoubtedly shocking, but unfortunately not surprising anymore. According to the NCRB data, 2,533 rape cases and 1,849 murder cases were filed across the country only in the last year.

Renowned feminist and gender rights activist, Kamala Bhasin believes that women in India have been considered as nothing but bodies. In a 2021 interview with The Daily Star, she was quoted saying, “So once you are a body- what’s the harm in raping you or groping you?”

Fear Files

If you are a woman, you are probably always advised to learn self-defense techniques and are used to carrying a can of pepper spray. Your family is terrified if you are out beyond 8 PM and you pray each time you have to cross a dark alley. 

As a man, you are probably thinking how this is even relevant because rape statistics are not always true, otherwise, why hasn’t anyone in your contacts been assaulted?  

This explains why Gavin de Becker says, “Most men fear getting laughed at or humiliated by a romantic prospect while most women fear rape and death.”


Crimes against women have skyrocketed in recent years, with 2,533 cases reported in the 19 metropolitan cities alone, out of which 85 victims were minors


Kathua rape and murder: Accused to file fresh petition in SC, seeking CBI  probe


Facts and figures

Violence against women includes but is not limited to rape. The majority of crimes are registered under the following sections:

  • Cruelty by husband or his relatives
  • Assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty
  • Kidnapping and abduction of women
  • Rape

In 2020, an average of 77 rape cases was reported every day. At the end of the year, the total number of crimes against women stood at 371,503. If we look closely at the patterns of these cases, we will soon realise that there actually isn’t one. An infant as young as 2 months lures a rapist as much as a nun older than sixty clad in her religious gown does. Clearly, there is just one prerequisite to be a potential rape victim- you must be a woman. 


The Covid-19 pandemic saw the highest rate of domestic violence in India in 10 years. Violence against women is as deeply rooted within our culture as the worship of women. From ancient Sati to modern-day Triple Talaq, women have always borne the brunt of the whims and fancies of menfolk. 

In spite of multiple complaints and even solid proof, victim blaming is the norm. Therefore, it comes as no surprise when an NFHS from 2015-16 released its results in 2018 to state that 99% of violence against women goes unreported. 

Now, take the average NCRB data and multiply it by 100. That is about how much a woman must be scared as she walks down the streets of India. If reading this article takes you a bit more than 15 minutes, one woman has already suffered as you finish.  

As Delhi accounts for almost 40% of the total rape cases in India, across all metropolitan cities, it’s high time we take a look at why exactly are the daughters of India being battered, bruised, or worse, killed for the sake of psychopathic men.

Sakinaka rape, a blot on State's culture: Shiv Sena - The Hindu

The Keepers of the Law?

A recent video of an incident at Thane, Maharashtra shows a family attempting to self-immolate themselves alleging inaction by the police about the rape of their daughter. Last year, in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, the body of a 19-year-old rape victim was forcibly cremated in the dead of the night. In 2019, a rape victim was burnt alive by her perpetrators in Unnao while she was on her way to attend the hearing of her case. In August this year, the Chhattisgarh High Court ruled that sexual intercourse between husband and wife cannot be considered rape, even if it is forced.   

Such instances show repeated failures of the law and law-keeping system in our country in protecting its women and girls. With its infamous repute for delivering delayed justice, the Indian Judiciary stands true to the maxim, Justice delayed is justice denied.

The members of the government, our very own elected representatives choose to maintain complete silence despite such an enormous figure of violence meted out to women. With incessant efforts to divert the masses towards the economy, healthcare, and everything in between, there is absolute degeneration of women’s right to life and personal liberty.

1 in 16 Women Are Raped the First Time They Have Sex, Says Study - Rolling  Stone

The Reasons Behind

Writing about rape cases involves not only a blood-boiling rant about the problem but also a logical breakdown of the reasons behind this problem, thereby leading to the solutions. Although there can be no one size fits all explanation for the mind of a criminal, a few significant reasons behind rape are:

Treatment of Women as Personal Properties

As Bhasin puts it, the treatment of women as men’s properties is inherently woven into our language. Words that we refer to use for husbands, such as Swami and Pati, denote ownership. And if one is the owner, automatically the other becomes the owned. Women are expected to serve the men of the house, take care of them, and cater to their needs. This unspoken rule of expectations directly transfers to the women in other parts of a man’s life as well. Therefore when a man expects sexual favours from a woman and does not get it, his easiest solution is to rape her.

Shaming Young Girls

Schools and other educational institutions play a major role in conditioning young girls’ minds to normalising rape culture. Right from the length of girls’ skirts to the way their hair is tied is scrutinised and questioned in a sexist and degrading manner. This kind of shaming and victim-blaming leads to women doubting their stand and finding faults in their behaviour instead of taking a step towards condemning the culprit.

Sex as a Taboo Topic

Our society is still based on the ideas of tradition, culture, and sanskar. This makes discussions related to sex and other related topics taboo in our society. This speculation and resulting lack of knowledge about sex lead to young minds getting wrong information from unauthentic sources. Such information related to sensitive topics provides teenagers and young adults with a twisted idea of sex. Studies prove that when men do not receive the same kind of treatment from women as they see in pornographic movies, they turn to violence. 

Concept of Honour and Dishonour

Dishonouring a woman is regarded as equivalent to dishonouring her community. With respect to the same, fights between communities often end up in violation of women as revenge. This may also include cases where rape is a means for avenging rejection. The rape case of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua, Kashmir is an instance of how communities use women as a means to take revenge on each other.  

Death for rape - The Statesman

Prevention is Better than Cure

The Indian cultural scenario demands a paradigm shift in matters of its perspective of women, sexual education, and pleasure. With age-appropriate and effective sex-ed, the majority of sexual violence can be curbed. Looking at cases like the bois locker room investigation, where underage boys shared obscene images and comments about their own classmates, it’s clear that these predatory mental aberrations do not need an age to develop.

The only solution to this problem is to nip it in the bud. Here are a few feasible ways to do it:

Stop objectification of women

From mythological tales of Ahalya and Draupadi to characters in children’s cartoons dressed in barely-there garments, we have all shaken our heads at the blatant objectification of women. The film and glamour industry takes it a notch up with the notion of perfection. Such ideas degrading the very existence of half of the population is dangerous. People with a platform must use their platform to advocate the immediate stopping of this kind of projection of women’s bodies.

Sex Education

The mindset of an adult depends solely on their upbringing as a child. Therefore, as adults, it is our responsibility to teach children the importance of consent, expression, and acceptance. 

While we all know that consent must be verbal, clear, and willing, the lack of it must also have the liberty to be expressed, and a “no” must be accepted. Several cases of acid attacks on women show that the victim refused to give in to the assaulter’s demands, which he could not digest and ended up attacking. 

Children must be taught about boundaries and a clear distinction must be explained between good touch and bad touch. Boys and girls must be made aware of their legal rights so that no one can coerce or misguide them into accepting wrong demands. Men and women must ensure that their children know the essence of a healthy relationship and the ways to achieve it.


When all else fails in the worst-case scenario, it is critical to have a presence of mind and a set of self-defense skills. This will guarantee you safety and security from criminals even if you are alone. Make it a point to carry defensive items like a pocket knife or pepper spray. In case you are stuck with an assaulter, make as much noise as you possibly can to attract people towards you and scare your assaulter off. 

In Conclusion

Women in India have always been held under the shackles of patriarchy. This implies that women have hardly had the power to raise their voices against the systematic violence against themselves. Nowadays, with the rise of feminism and women’s rights organisations, along with mass mobilisation for the justice of victims, there is an increase in the understanding of women about their own legal rights. The crime rate against women decreased from 1.8 in 2019 to 1.6 in 2020. However, the fight for the complete eradication of crime and violence against women is far from over. We must acknowledge the systemic oppression of women coupled with misogyny and patriarchy that stops us from understanding the inherent flaws present within our system. This will, in the long run, give us a push towards a world that looks at all beings equally. 

Shaoni Chakraborty

Writer. Learner. Bibliophile. Hodophile. "The journey itself is my home."

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