Karnataka sees an increase of eight percent in crimes against women in the year 2021 as compared to 2020.
Karnataka has witnessed over 5,000 crimes (intent to outrage a woman’s modesty) against women in the year 2021. Bengaluru itself reported 585 crimes in the same year. While the cases reported in the year 2020 remained at 4,751 which means that there was an eight percent increase in cases in 2021. The police said that in majority of the cases, these crimes are committed by friends and colleagues.
Anushka Verma (name changed), a victim of harassment said that she was watching a movie at a male friend’s place and told him multiple times that she was not okay with intimacy and needed time “but he forced himself on me and I froze.”
As many as 1023 fast track courts that have been approved under the Nirbhaya Fund at a cost of Rs 767 crores to protect women from abuse. But the state has continually reported zero utilisation under the scheme. There are women helplines set up by the police under the Sambal scheme to seek help immediately.
Deputy Commissioner of Police of the south-east division of Bengaluru said that these crimes are even more in number but are reported less by women. The offenders need to be booked under relevant sections of the law “when they (offenders) are left, they have a free run on these things and they end up committing major crimes against women.” These crimes fall under section 354 of the Indian Penal Code which deals with assault or use of criminal force to a woman and are non-bailable with one to five years of imprisonment.
Experts say, lack of gender-sensitisation in education among people is the major cause for such crimes. Women are seen merely as instruments of sex and are objectified by men who work and study with them. Implementation of laws and schemes is where the police is lacking.
Nagalaxmi Bai, ex-chairperson of State Women’s Commission said that there need to be new laws “police needs to take rigorous action against such people, so they never think of committing such a crime again.”
Lack of education seems to be the key reason for increasing crime rate against women. Experts say, more focus needs to be shifted to gender-sensitisation in education by the government.