Only 11% of sexually assaulted women report rape: UN report | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Only 11% of sexually assaulted women report rape: UN report

delhi Updated: Jul 07, 2011 00:52 IST
Sanjib Kr Baruah

Underling how for millions of women worldwide, justice remains out of reach, the first major report of the UN has said that across 57 countries on an average, while 10% of women say they have experienced sexual assault, of them, only 11% reported it.

"This pattern is evident in countries across all regions," said the report of the United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Moreover, "Only a fraction of cases end in a conviction or just outcome."

In European countries, on average, only 14% of reported rapes ended in a conviction. There are 127 nations that don't explicitly criminalise rape within marriage, 61 that severely restrict abortion rights, and 50 that have a lower legal age of marriage for women than for men.

The 165-page report released on Wednesday said that while laws can play a positive role in shaping society, by creating new norms and by helping to bring about social change, critical gaps in legal frameworks remain worldwide.

The findings are expected to throw up fresh perspectives on women's legal issues with an aim to empower women and enhance gender equity and also afford present yardsticks to assess measure future developments.

The report also cites the case of Indian gang rape victim Bhanwari Devi, whose fight, undeterred by the absence of existing sexual harassment laws, prompted the Indian government to introduce a long-awaited bill prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace in 2007.

Devi's case inspired Bangladesh to issue detailed guidelines that have the force of law, while in Pakistan, it helped to prepare for the country's successful push for legislation to protect women from harassment in the workplace.

While 186 nations have ratified the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 30 have enacted legal "reservations" that deny equal marital and familial rights.

"In rich and poor countries alike, the infrastructure of justice -- the police, the courts and the judiciary -- is failing women, which manifests itself in poor services and hostile attitudes from the very people whose duty it is to fulfil women's rights," the report said.