The total number of crimes against women recorded in Kerala in 2018 is 10461, which is 496 less than the statistics in 2017 but 427 more than in 2016. The data, released by the National Crime Records Bureau, says that Kerala accords for 2.8 per cent of the total number of crimes against women in the country.
There have been 1945 incidents of rape reported in 2018 in Kerala, affecting 1972 victims. What is most shocking is that in 98.4 per cent of the cases, the assaulter has been known to the victim.
"I am not surprised at the data. The assaulter has been a relative in many cases of sexual abuse. But it should be an eye opener for us to take counter action. That the solutions we have been arriving at so far are not working," says advocate and activist J Sandhya.
Among the victims, 1156 are minors, below the age of 18. The most attacked is the age group of 16 to below 18 years, with 645 victims. There are 334 victims in the age group of 12 to below 16 years and 129 from six years to below 12.
Sandhya remains unfazed on hearing about the number of minors in the victims list. "Sexual frustration, pornography, substance abuse -- all this lead to an assaulter not looking at the age of his victim - whether it is a child or an elderly person.”
Among the 18+, 465 women in the age group of 18 to 30 have been victims of rape. There are 294 women in the age group of 30 to 45 and 43 women in the group of 45 to 60. And 14 women above 60 years of age.
In the 1945 incidents, the victims knew their assaulter in 1914 of the incidents. In 282 cases, these were family members. In 753 cases, the assault came from family friends, neighbours, employers or other known persons. In 879 cases, the assaulters were friends, online friends or live-in partners on the pretext of marriage or else separated husbands.
Initiatives like self defence, while definitely being good for women, were not exactly helping them when it is a relative they least expect to that takes the form of an assaulter, Sandhya says. "One of the first steps therefore is unwinding patriarchy, tackle the root cause of the problem. A substantial interference was not happening in this respect," Sandhya says.
The law too has not been of a lot of advantage. "In the last decade, the problem was that there was no stringent law in place for sexual assault. But from 2013 onwards, stringent laws are in place. Now it is a problem of not implementing those laws," Sandhya adds.
The only part we could rejoice about is that more women are now coming forward and opening up, especially in cases of sexual assault on promise of marriage. Earlier women used to keep quiet. Now increasing empowerment has led them to open up."
Police disposal and court trials
The total number of crimes against women disposed off by the police in 2018 is 9943. Pendency percentage is 33.6.
Also, 9233 cases of crimes against women were sent for trial in 2018, but then the cases pending trial from previous year is 57808. The number of cases that were disposed off without trial is 396.
The court has convicted 750 persons in cases of crime against women pending from the previous year and in 2018, the number is 49. The number of cases in which the accused was acquitted is 4353.
Trials have been completed in 5225 cases of crime against women, and disposed of in 5621 incidents. The pending cases from 2018 is 61420, 91.6 per cent of the total.