The Question of Women’s Safety and Sex-Selective Crimes in India Resurfaces After Spanish Woman’s Gangrape in Jharkhand

Recently, a couple travelling in India was assaulted by seven men in Jharkhand who beat up the husband with sticks and stones before they gangraped the woman. The matter came to light when the woman posted a video describing her ordeal. Police have arrested the culprits, but it highlights the issue of Women’s safety in India.


Sexual Violence and India

Violence against women is an issue worldwide, and women face all kinds of discrimination, violence and oppression. From Asia to Africa and the Americas, the problem of sexual violence against women is widely prevalent. India is no stranger to this problem, too, and the extent of such cases reaches far beyond what one can imagine. As per data by National Crime Records Bureau, a woman is raped every 18 minutes in India. Around 90 cases of rape are reported every day from across the nation.

This paints a grim picture of the situation in India and showcases how deep-rooted the problem is. A lack of education and safety measures are prime factors behind such incidents. 


Banality of Evil

The Nirbhaya case in 2012 rocked the country because of the gruesome nature of the crime. However, everything became silent after that, and it is a recurring thing; a heinous incident is reported, and the country is on the verge of boiling. Eventually, within a few weeks, everybody forgets it, and things get back to normal like nothing happened. 

Hannah Arendt’s concept of Banality of Evil suggests that evil deeds have become so common that we perceive them as the new normal.

Every day we read news on rapes and crimes against women and overlook it because this has become the new normal.

However, if India is ever to become the Vishwa Guru, it needs to address the fundamental problem of violence against women, which has to be addressed effectively and immediately.


Definition of Rape

Rape is defined as forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration, which may be by a body part or an object.

According to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), rape is defined as “when a man has sexual intercourse with a woman under any of the following circumstances”:

  • Against a woman’s will.
  • Without the woman’s consent.
  • With her consent obtained by using fear of death or hurt against her or someone she cares about.
  • With her consent, knowing that he is not her husband, she believes he is another man to whom she is married or believes herself to be lawfully married.
  • With her consent, when the woman is unable to understand the nature and consequences of giving consent due to unsoundness of mind, intoxication or under the influence of drugs.
  • With or without her consent, if a woman is under 18 years of age.
  • When the woman is unable to communicate consent.


Punishment for Rape

Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code contains the provisions for the punishment of rape.

  • Section 376 (1) states that if anyone commits rape – then he shall be imprisoned for not less than seven years which can be extended up to the lifetime of the accused, or imprisoned for ten years and a fine.
  • Section 376 (2) states that – if a government officer commits rape within his limits or a public servant takes advantage of his position etc. – he shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than ten years, extendable to life imprisonment, and also liable for a fine.
  • Section 376A states that – if someone commits an offence under subsection (1) and (2) of Section 376 which causes the death of the woman or leaves her in a disabled state – he shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of not less than 20 years extendable to life imprisonment.
  • Section 376B states that – whoever has sexual intercourse with his wife, who is living separately, under a decree of separation without her consent, shall be punished with a term not less than 2 years, which may extend up to 7 years, and also be liable to a fine.
  • There are some instances like the Nirbhaya Rape Case where murder is committed after the rape, and the act is so gruesome and cruel that it comes under the ‘rarest of rare’ cases, a death sentence is given.


Amendments were made in 2013 and 2018 to provide for more stringent punishments in case of such offences. However, it has not deterred the perpetrators from committing these crimes. The administration needs a more proactive approach in dealing with such cases, and there is also a need to educate the masses about such incidents to ensure timely reporting and action. 

India is on a path of economic transformation and social development, and women are in no way inferior to men. However, the mindset of the masses remains the same, which sees women as the second or inferior gender that should be dominated. What we need is social transformation and upliftment through empowering women and ensuring their safety by creating dedicated units to ensure their safety round the clock.


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