Facts first – Delhi registered thrice the number of rape cases compared to Mumbai and over 19 times compared to Bangalore, according to the 2015 National Crime Records Bureau data. In 2015, there were 2,210 rapes in Delhi, 712 in Mumbai and 112 in Bangalore.
In Delhi, infamously dubbed the rape capital, who are these alleged rapists? Is there a common pattern in their educational and social background? Are they from Delhi? Minor girls, teenagers or young women — who is the most vulnerable in Delhi? HT answers the questions.
Educational qualification of the alleged rapists, arrested in 2015, shows most were school dropouts. Out of the 2,079 men, only 56 were graduate. 70 were illiterate and 550 could not reach the tenth standard. 971 had passed Class 10. In 2016, there were 451 school dropouts and 61 illiterate.
Out of the six men, convicted in the December 2012 Delhi gang rape case, only Vinay Sharma had passed the tenth standard. Convicts Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Akshay Thakur and Pawan Gupta were all dropouts — none of them had studied beyond the seventh standard including the juvenile convict.
Dependra Pathak, special commissioner of police (operations) said, “An educated mind usually understands the pros and cons of a crime and may also be sensitive. Modern laws work better on educated minds. Apart from formal education, there is a need for informal cultural education. In some nuclear families, living in metros, there is an absence of informal cultural education. In kaccha colonies and slums, it would help to spread value-based education.”
Age of rapists
The 2012 Delhi gang rape case is not the only case when a juvenile was caught. Every year, over 100 minor boys, mostly teenagers are held for rape — in 2015, there were 163 teenagers. The highest number of rapists arrested — 1,060 — was between the age of 18 and 25. Senior police officers say that at least two-three cases involving juvenile rapists are reported every week. On March 3, two boys, aged 13 and 14 were held for gang rape of a 15-year-old girl.
“This is a dangerous trend. Criminals don’t rape. From a 14-year-old boy to a 60-year-old man, anyone could be a rapist in Delhi,” a senior officer said.
“Two years ago, a 15-year-old was arrested in south East Delhi for raping eight minor girls. Many get away with it, because kids cannot speak. Rape in Delhi is more than just a law and order problem.”
Last month, the Delhi Police invited bidders for a study on the ‘sociological study of rape cases and psychoanalysis of the accused’. Police are undertaking the study to understand the causes of rapes and find a solution. Police plan to complete the project in three months.
Profile of rapists
More than half the men arrested for rape were from ‘poor or lower class’. 1,276 men (61.38%), police arrested in 2015, were daily wage labourers, servants, slum dwellers and others with no permanent jobs.
After the December 2012 gang rape, police stations maintain a separate record on the profile of the rapist and rape survivor. Those with decent jobs, living in colonies and housing societies, are tagged as middle class. 798 rapists were from middle class while five were from upper class. In police records, upper class is constituted by those owning or living in posh colonies across the city. Also contrary to belief that the alleged rapists are not from Delhi, records show 1,721 men (88.78%) were those settled in Delhi since long while a mere 17.22% (358) men were migrants who had recently come to the city or were outsiders who committed the act during their visit to the city.
Kalpana Viswanath, a researcher who has worked on issues of violence against women and runs a social enterprise to find solutions about making cities safer for women said, “I would be cautious to read the figures and say that rapes do not happen in the upper class. Maybe people from upper class do not report it or hide it because of the society. Maybe the upper class do not report it like they don’t in cases of domestic violence.”
The most number of women raped were aged 18-25 years. While police say a majority of such cases are related to ‘elopement and rape on the promise of marriage’ the figures related to minors is alarming. Nearly half of the rape survivors in Delhi, 985 out of 2,210, were below 18. There were 12 cases where the victim was below two years, 126 cases involved girls between two and seven.
Rajat Mitra, a psychologist, who helped Delhi Police handle rape cases for about a decade, told HT that when kids are raped it should be seen as a behavioural crime. “A man who rapes a two or a three year old is not attracted by the girl’s physical attributes. At that age, she is not even a woman. In their mind, the child is not a child. Police should look at such cases as a behavioural crime.”
A senior police officer said, “In most cases, we have seen that the rapists of such minor kids are their neighbours or relatives. Kids are often lured with biscuits and sweets. Parents should also be careful and think twice before allowing anyone to take their kids out for sweets or a walk,” an officer said.