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Rape Survivors in India Suffer Daily Despite Reforms: HRW Report

Five years after the Nirbhaya gangrape case, sexual violence victims in India still have a dismal chance of justice.

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Women
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In 2012, the 16 December gangrape case of Jyoti Singh shook the country and triggered a conversation about the safety of women. There were protests, amendments of laws, and a peculiar hope emerged out of the abhorrent incident that our society would have learnt some lessons. Five years later, rape victims in India still have a dismal chance at getting justice.

A Human Rights Watch report, ‘Everyone Blames Me’, published on 8 November, details the humiliation most victims of sexual violence and rape experience in India.

Five years after the Nirbhaya gangrape case, sexual violence victims in India still have a dismal chance of justice.
Police are frequently unwilling to register complaints, victims and witnesses receive little protection, and medical professionals still compel degrading ‘two-finger’ tests. These obstacles to justice and dignity are compounded by inadequate healthcare, counselling, and legal support for victims during criminal trials of the accused.
HRW statement
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The injustice and humiliation is systemic. Highlighting the patriarchal mindset of even political leaders, the HRW report cites examples of shocking things our politicians have said about rape culture.

Five years after the Nirbhaya gangrape case, sexual violence victims in India still have a dismal chance of justice.
Today, there are stronger laws and policies, but much remains to be done to ensure that police, doctors, and courts treat survivors with dignity.
Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director of HRW
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The horror of the 16 December gangrape prompted amendments to existing criminal laws that dealt with sexual offences. The Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013 amended the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and the Evidence Act.

Five years after the Nirbhaya gangrape case, sexual violence victims in India still have a dismal chance of justice.

Activists, however, say these numbers “vastly understate the problem”.

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In its 82-page report, the HRW offers recommendations not only to the Parliament and the Indian government, but also to commissions for women and international aid agencies. Some of these recommendations are below:

Five years after the Nirbhaya gangrape case, sexual violence victims in India still have a dismal chance of justice.

HRW said it conducted field research and interviews in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan – selected because of their large number of reported rape cases – as well as Delhi and Mumbai. The report details 21 cases – 10 cases involving girls under the age of 18.

The findings are drawn from more than 65 interviews with victims, their family members, lawyers, human rights activists, doctors, forensic experts, and government and police officials, as well as research by Indian organisations.

(With inputs from IANS.)

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