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Is Delhi the rape capital of the world?

Data released by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows that Delhi is still the rape capital of the country. But can it be tagged as the 'Rape capital of the world'?

Delhi has once again proved to be a city unsafe for women, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report that shows that out of more than 34,000 cases of rape reported last year in India, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi topped the list of states and union territories, respectively. While Madhya Pradesh has reported 4,391 rape cases, Delhi has reported 2,199 such cases.

However, let’s take a look at figures from other countries for a comparison. With an estimated 43,195 rape cases in 2015, South Africa has the highest rate of rape crimes in the world. This figure is overshadowed by the huge number of rape cases that are not reported. Estimates hint that more than 40% of South African women are raped at some point of time in their lives. The Medical Research Council has estimated that only one in nine rapes are reported. Thus the actual number of rapes is much higher than that recorded by the police.

South Africa is followed by Sweden, which has the has the highest rate of rape crimes in Europe. One out of every four Swedish women happens to be a rape survivor. Statistics released by the police reveal 69 cases of rape per 100,000 population. Some estimates by activists show that one out of every three Swedish women is sexually assaulted by the time she leaves her teens. During the first half of 2013, more than 1,000 Swedish women reported being raped by Muslim immigrants in Stockholm; over 300 of those were under the age of 15.

Reports have stated that one in  three American women ends up being sexually abused in her lifetime. About 19.3% of women and 2% of men have been raped at least once in their lives.

Even though rape in the United Kingdom is not a gender neutral offense as law of the land states it is an offense that can only be committed by a male against a person and also the UK has not to date followed the trend in many countries of classifying acts other than penetration with a penis (e.g. penetration with an object, finger) as rape, it still beats India in the occurrence of rapes.

A report entitled “An Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales”, states there are 230 cases every day.

From being the land of snake charmers to the IT capital of the world, in the recent past the perception about India changed drastically especially after the gruesome Delhi gangrape in a moving bus in 2012 that shook the conscience of the nation and brought it to the streets seeking justice. The BBC documentary ‘India’s Daughter’ did further damage to the image of the country.

The perception about Indians has been marred by stigma with uncalled for questions raised about the so-called “rape culture” in the national capital. Within India, young girls refuse to move to Delhi even at the cost of lucrative job offers fearing for their safety. In another case, a German university professor’s rejection email to an Indian student’s application for internship citing the “rape problem in India” as reason went viral on social media.

Recent comments by Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma do not help the case either. He advised foreign women tourists to not wear skirts while in India and not venture out at night, sabotaging all efforts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to project India as a tourist and investment destination on the global front.

A high rate of rape cases means that the law and order system in place is functional and rape cases are registered as opposed to many backwards countries where police cases on rape are negligible in numbers. So the next time someone tells you that Delhi is the rape capital of the world, send them the link to this article. However, there is no denying that the country has a long way to go before women feel safe against sexual predators.

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