20 April, 2013

The Rapes in Delhi

Or anywhere else in India in this matter. Over and over, what I see common to each stream is this -

The perpetrators think that they can get away with it.

It can be based on a long list of reasons:

  1. They have seen others who have gotten away with it. 
  2. They have been bought up on a diet of male supremacy and lack of respect for women. They think that there is even some kind of social acceptance for such acts and that they will get tacit support from their family and friends. Say hello to the Rape capital of the cow belt, where the sex ratio is alarmingly low (albeit increasing).
  3. They have seen women accept bad treatment meted out to them by their in-laws, cousins, fathers, mothers and anyone else. They have seen a broad social acceptance and encouragement of such treatment. Also, as men, they have seen first hand that  young boys and men are given preferential treatment and encouragement for behaving badly with women.They are just taking this bad behaviour to another level. It is almost no coincidence that the entire gang of the December 16th rape were upper caste, where the caste system, while ensuring high status for the men has ensured worse status for women. 
  4. Police action or the lack of it - action only if there is political pressure, which happens only if there is a media outcry. The numbers are in their favour.
Probability of court case
P (victim deciding to report the action) x P (victim securing family support)  x P (Police registering complaint) x P ( Police finding accused and booking him)

If at each stage, 50% is the probability, then only 6% of accused will have a case filed against them.

The probability of a conviction is even lower.  This low rate of action is probably what is causing point number 1 above.

There is no easy fix for 2 and 3. However, political will can fix 4 (I might be naive in assuming so, but I am an optimist). What remains to be seen is whether there is political will. Ever since the case on 16th December and the public outcry over it, the government made the right noises. But noises they remained. The police will not change overnight. But government will can, which it has not and that is the cause of the complete lack of change and public apathy in the police services. Sure, they are overstretched, but then in real life, every one is.
(to be continued)