A measure of change
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The new Delhi rape numbers are startling but may not directly reflect how violent the city is.
The number of rapes reported in Delhi has doubled, from 590 in 2012 to 1330 this year. The rise is sharper, almost four-fold, in cases of molestation, from 727 in all of 2012 to 2,884 till this October. Given that sexual violence is reinforced by shaming women into silence, the figures, which the Delhi Police submitted to the Supreme Court yesterday, might not be as stark as they seem. They might also suggest that women are more willing to step into a police station to report such violations, even if they have to steel themselves against a process that is doubly traumatising. Perhaps, the police are also less likely to fob off a complaint of rape or molestation by pre-judging the woman because they will be held accountable.
The memory of last December has cast a shadow over all discussions of violence against women since. The rape and murder of the young woman forced us to examine the patriarchal bias that stains various aspects of our society, from the humiliating two-finger examination of a rape victim to a language which puts the burden of responsibility on the woman to the laws that are loaded against her.