Sexual assault- The Reporting system
We all are aware about the reporting system of a sexual assault victim through cinema and television. The way our society handles sexual assault is both puzzling, and hypocritical. The dark reality of rape investigation is not new to anyone. Around 1 women in 5 and 1 in 13 men will experience sexual assault at some point in their lives.
According to National Crime Bureau 24,923 rape cases were reported per year in India which literally means that a women is assaulted every hour in India. Less than 10% of them are reported and even less are given justice.
This article will explain what’s that whole procedure of rape reporting is and what reporting system the sexual assault survivor actually wants.
First of all lets understand what’s the current procedure is like. The victim of sexual assault are investigated with more suspicion and curiosity than the victim of any other crime. Police reports the FIR in concrete and often detailed manner where the victim is supposed to answer the horrifying questions of the investigator. Questions may include how the rape was conducted and this is exactly where the sensitive part lies. The victim is supposed to prove that he/she was raped despite of the visible evidence, and the worst phase is that they are supposed to answer the questions within 24 hours of crime. This means that the victim is not even out of the mental trauma and yet they are banged with the flashback of that heinous incident. The police sometimes even ask questions like was ejaculation really happened or not! Then comes the court where they are again put into the scenario of proving the crime against them but this time, front of a larger audience. Sometimes they are asked to showcase the marks on their skin, their wounds and the description of full crime. It’s like raping a victim again and again until and unless the crime is proved. And the sad reality is that even after facing all these challenges most of the time the victim is not even able to prove the crime and hence labeled as liars. Yes, because as there is a slight increase in false rape cases, most of the women when are unable to prove the crime are too suspected for false reporting and allegations. They live their life in acute trauma and sometimes even end up committing suicide. That’s the whole scenario of THE REPORTING SYSTEM OF SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS.
Do you know that 90% of sexual assault is committed by repeat offenders? And less than 10% of all crimes will be ever reported. Unlikely that even repeat perpetrators will be ever reported. Only 6% of reports reported to the police ends up with the assailant spending only a single day in prison, which means that there is a 99% chance for the perpetrators with getting away with it. And this is what we needs to stop.
There’s no forum where victims not only report their crime but can share their experience, where they can actually connect with others who have dealt with the same trauma as theirs. In normal words a type of an information escrow. And there they can gather the courage to eventually fight for justice. Many a times women are too disgust to report the abuse and sexual assault and maybe that’s why most of the rape cases are reported almost 11 months after the crime was committed. Which literally means that all the medical evidences of rape has been long evaporated which again makes it easy for the assailant to walk away. Many end up never reported. So when there will be a system where women unafraid of societal criticism can actually report the crime on time and can seek justice in a way that he/she wants to. The system should also include the data of repeat offenders so that the victims of the same assailant can connect together to hold a greater potential in the case. This type of system is important because it creates a space where there is no room for the offenders to get away with this. By this we can not only punish the culprits but also reduce the repeat offender’s by sending them to jail or providing them with the help they needed. The availability for lawyers and advocates should be there, so that the victim gets the best legal advice on time. This way we not only can improve the legal system but also support the victim by providing valuable assets. More and more people can come out and speak about their own experiences. It could be anything, an organization or a website that is provided to everyone irrespective of their age, race or anything else. The similar can be used elsewhere as well like in military, hospitals and anywhere needed.
We don’t aim to just report sexual assault but actually end the rape scenario. We not only need education but a dynamic education system where students are taught on these sensitive issues since a young age so that they can perceive things and grasp them accordingly. We need to start having a better conversation at our workplaces, schools, colleges and universities. A dialogue conversation about how women, men and children are safe with us and how perpetrators are not welcomed. It’s not about improving the reporting system but actually providing faster justice so that we can eventually stop this evil of sexual assault forever.