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Friday, December 21, 2012

This yr, teen rape cases in city rose 29%

Mumbai: There was a 29% rise in the number of rapes of teenaged girls in Mumbai in 2012, highlighting the need for increased security for young women—especially school and college girls. State home department data, made available to TOI, shows that 80 cases were registered in 2011 for rapes of minors, while 103 cases were registered this year till December 16. 

    Experts say that minors are more vulnerable because they are not as mature as older women, are less aware of their rights and tend to have a risky lifestyle. Young rape victims face more trauma 
Mumbai: Psychiatrists, social science experts and state officials said that teenagers are at a higher risk of molestation and rape because of their immaturity, lack of awareness of their rights and their compratively carefree lifestyles. Police said many rapes are committed by perpetrators known to the victim. 
    In contrast to the rise in the number of rape cases for minor women, there was a fall in cases registered for the rapes of women aged 18 to 30. While there were 94 cases last year, only 55 cases were registered till December 16 this year. 

    Overall, there was practically no difference in all rape cases (all age groups) between 2011 and 2012, with 219 cases registered last year and 213 registered so far this year, showing that policing hasn't been beefed up as needed. 
    Furthermore, a social service expert said that the actual number of cases would be much higher. "Our findings show that cases of rape go unreported in rural areas as well as in Mumbai. There are two primary reasons—one, the police do not take cases of crime against women seriously and handle them sensitively, and two, the victim or her family fears being stigmatized or targeted by the culprits," said Sana Syed, director, Help Mumbai Foundation. The foundation has filed a PIL in the Bombay high court in connection with the safety of women. 
    Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police (crime), 

told TOI that elders should pay attention to the people girls associate with. "The statistics indicate that teens are more vulnerable. The police will take measures needed for dealing with such issues. But, if guardians and school or college authorities take periodic audits of the people around their children, it would help curb such crimes," he said. 
    A senior home department official said teenagers can live in a risky environment. "Several people around teenagers may be criminally minded. Due to a lack of understanding and immaturity, teenagers may fail to understand these threats," he said, adding, 
"Teenagers may also party and travel overnight. They may keep parents in the dark. Some people around youngsters may try to exploit such situations." 
    Asked about the rise in minor rapes despite the drop in cases filed for women aged 19 to 30, the official said it was a surprise. "I received the figures recently and have not analyzed them yet, but the reason needs to be found." He added, "When there is a rape case in any part of the country, the media starts 24/7 coverage and such news bombardment may help create awareness among older women." 
    Harish Shetty, a Mumbaibased psychiatrist, said that 

because minors were not developed emotionally, physically or spiritually, the trauma would be higher for them than for adults. "Teenaged victims of rape need to be handled very sensibly," he said. 
    Asha Bajpai, dean of the school of law, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, said, "Working or college-going women are capable of handling their security and know their rights, which is not the case with teenagers. Hence, there are more victims among minors. She added, "Even today, Mumbai is safe in comparison to other metros. Kids go alone to school and tuitions and even for shopping. This was not the case 

earlier. One cannot stop anyone from going out, but parents and teachers should teach children how to take care of their security and handle crises." 
    Young females are at risk abroad too. A few years ago, a report of the US justice department said that females aged 16 to 24 were more vulnerable to intimate partner violence than any other age group. In Mumbai, in October, a 14-year-old resident of Malwani, Malad was allegedly gangraped by three youths on P D'Mello Road. In May, two auto drivers raped a 14-year-old from Madhya Pradesh who boarded the wrong train and landed at Bandra station.


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