Rape, attempt to rape, kidnapping, dowry-related killing or harassment, assault to outrage or insult a woman’s “modesty,” sexual harassment, voyeurism, domestic violence, abetment to suicide, trafficking of women, etc. are classified as crimes against women under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Most complaints filed in Bengaluru in 2015–1,341, or 42% of all–were filed under the controversial Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which pertains to cruelty by the husband and/or the in-laws–controversial because it is often alleged that women misuse its provisions to implicate or blackmail their husband and in-laws.
The second most common complaint was of molestation, with 976 cases, or 30.9% of all.
According to the police data (which exclude figures from 16 of the 111 police stations for which sufficient data were not available), more than eight crimes against women were reported in the city every day on an average in 2015. We have divided Bengaluru into 626 areas to map these crimes based on location.
Jayanagar, a wealthy, Old Bengaluru locality, registered the highest number of crimes against women: 120. Ulsoor, another Old Bengaluru locality in the central part of the city, came in next with 108 complaints. Peenya Industrial Area, located on Bengaluru’s outskirts, registered 66 cases.
While the city’s coveted residential areas reported a high incidence of crime against women, busy areas such as KR Market and Yeshwanthpur did not report a single case.
The overall incidence of crime against women was slightly more at night. For every 100 cases that reportedly took place between 6 am and 6 pm, 127 were reported to have occurred between 6 pm and 6 am. In other words, 56% of complaints alleged the crime had taken place during the night.
Using time-wise and locality-wise details, 101Reporters, a Bengaluru-based network of grassroots reporters, has prepared a map indicating how safe or unsafe a particular locality of the city was for women in 2015.
The December 2012 gang rape and subsequent death of a twenty-three-year-old student in New Delhi, ignited a national furor over India’s treatment of women and the perceived culture of complicity with regards to sexual violence in India. Such cases occur on a regular basis, says CFR Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy Rachel Vogelstein, but this incident drew particular attention due to a few uncommon circumstances, including the publication of the victim’s name and her father’s outspokenness. “The fact that she was a middle-class girl striving for a middle-class life really rang a chord with a lot of Indians,” says CFR Senior Fellow Isobel Coleman. “Here is a girl living a modern life and subjected to such barbaric treatment.”
Rape complaints increased 25 percent between 2006 and 2011 in India, although it is unclear whether this represents a real uptick in crime or a greater willingness by victims to file charges or by the police to accept them. However, gender-based violence as a whole has worsened in India over the past several years. National Crime Record Bureau statistics show a 7.1 percent nationwide hike in crimes against women since 2010.
National Crime Record Bureau statistics show a 7.1 percent nationwide hike in crimes against women since 2010.
Under the Indian Penal Code, crimes against women include rape, kidnapping and abduction, molestation, sexual harassment, torture, homicide for dowry, and the importation of girls. But critics have voiced concern over the vagueness of their definitions, particularly that of rape. Often, perpetrators of severe sexual attacks are charged with criminal assault on a woman with “intent to outrage her modesty,” an offense that carries a light penalty and is rarely enforced.
“Eve-teasing,” a common euphemism for sexual harassment or molestation in public places, goes mostly unreported. Many analysts attribute this to a culture of complicity and the government’s weak prosecution of such assault crimes. A study by the Hindustan Times found that in the last five years, fifty-one cases related to eve-teasing in the city of Jalandhar in Punjab were taken to court, and only five people were convicted, while thirty others were acquitted due to lack of evidence.