The crime statistics for 2013 released by the National Crime Records Bureau recently has proved that most rapes are committed by people known to victims.

All of the 40 cases of rape reported in Kochi in 2013 were committed by people known to the victims. In five cases, the perpetrators were parents themselves or close family members. In every other reported instance in Kochi, the culprits were relatives, neighbours, or other persons known to the victim. The victims in 50 per cent of the reported cases were also minors.

“In most cases, the person committing rape is someone charged with protecting the girl or woman. It could be someone in their homes, in the neighbourhood, or at school. In many houses, girls are unsafe in ways we don’t even think of,” said K.C. Rosakkutty, chairperson of the State Women’s Commission.

The crime statistics of the State reflected a trend similar to that of Kochi. While 1,221 cases of rape were reported in Kerala in 2013, more than 97 per cent of those rapes were committed by persons known to the victim. Seventy-nine cases of incestuous rape were recorded in Kerala in 2013. The State is second only to Bihar in the number of incest cases reported in the country. The victims, in all but nine of these cases, were minors.

Ms. Rosakkutty said many cases of rape within the home also went unreported. “In such cases, survival within the home might be difficult for the victim if they report rape as the primary caregiver may be the culprit. Even the mother of the child may try to hush up the incident because of this,” she said. Society’s hostile response to victims of rape was also partly to blame, she said.

The Women’s Commission tries to help victims of rape by offering them assistance.

“Boys and young men are also often victims of rape. But violence against them is not taken as seriously. The police also register cases of rape of boys under Section 377 of the IPC for unnatural sex and not Section 376 which deals with rape,” she said.

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