One of the perpetrators of the brutal gangrape of the 23-year-old physiotherapist aboard a moving bus last week, police claimed, is a 17-year-old, illiterate, juvenile from a broken home.
An alcoholic and having a severely violent sadistic streak was what motivated him to participate in the bestial physical and sexual assault on the victim and her 28-year-old friend, revealed his preliminary questioning by the police.
His character traits were also disclosed by the main accused, Ram Singh.However, statistics and psychologists suggest that a combination of an emotional vacuum, an obsession for swift gratification and a fixation with asserting their manhood violently and sporadically, increasingly before they biologically attain it, is gradually enveloping society as a whole irrespective of class, creed or academic status.
Unofficial Delhi Police estimates put the number of juvenile delinquents apprehended for sexual assault, including unnatural sex, at half the total number of minors nabbed for their alleged involvement in heinous crime.
"So far this year, around 96 juveniles have been apprehended; around 48 of them were found to have been involved in cases of rape as well as those of unnatural sex," said an officer.
According to psychologists, there are very specific socio-cultural reasons for this emerging trend.
However, in cases of unnatural sexual assault it leads to more violent crimes such as murder.
Explaining the reason, the police said having committed a crime of homosexual nature, the juvenile murders his victim to conceal the act. This is done to escape the stigma attached to homosexuality.
"Young men who commit such brutal crimes have grown up in an environment where they were left alone for long periods of time and were not given too much attention. As a result, they have a problem dealing with their emotions," said Pulkit Sharma, psychologist, VIMHANS.
With no outlet or understanding of how to deal with their pent-up rage and no support, at home or in school to help them focus their energies, it becomes difficult for the youngsters to make sense of the world around them.
"These youngsters grow up without any capacity for empathy and always seek need-satisfying objects. They also exhibit a very strong tendency to 'use and throw'," Sharma said.
"Another characteristic of these young criminals is low self esteem. It is because of this nature that they seek experiences to boost their self worth. For men, using their muscle power is the most common way to get an ego boost," the psychologist said.
Coupled with the anti-women stance of popular culture icons such as rapper Honey Singh, cartoon character Shin Chan and Bollywood item songs that objectify women, this lack of empathy becomes very dangerous.
"Punitive action in the country is also very slow and that makes a youngster feel that he is invincible and will let off easily," Sharma added.