‘If not stopped, troublemakers may move on to bigger crimes’

Citizens should report cases of sexual assault as unreported incidents could further contribute to the crime, Joint Commissioner of Crime (West) Pronab Mohanty said on Saturday.

Speaking at a workshop, Increase in the incidence of rape in recent times in Bangalore, organised by Mahila Dakshata Samiti and the Department of Social Works, Bangalore University, here, Mr. Mohanty said many rape victims were reluctant to report the crime, which posed a challenge for the police to arrest the perpetrators.

In cases of child sexual abuse, many parents were uncooperative in coming forward with information to the police. He advised citizens to make use of the Women’s Help Centre and the children’s helpline set up in the city.

‘Report everything’

“Even cases like [sexual harassment] and stalking must be reported as there is a tendency of such troublemakers to move on to bigger crimes if they are not stopped,” said Mr. Mohanty, adding that they might move on to committing sexual acts later as they might get encouragement from even minor acts like “eve-teasing”.

A majority of the perpetrators were involved in human trafficking. Some 60 to 70 per cent of such crimes were carried out with the intention of sexually exploiting women, often by luring them with false promises of jobs, marriage and the like. “We have also found that the [suspects] have low self-esteem, have been juvenile delinquents or have had a bad childhood,” Mr. Mohanty said.

In the firing line

But the police came in for flak when women attending the workshop complained about lack of seriousness by lower rung police personnel. Donna Fernandes from Vimochana said that many women approach the NGO complaining about great police insensitivity when women go with a complaint. She said this contributed to reluctance in reporting cases to the police.

Samiti general secretary Jyothi Bhandary pointed out that the National Crime Records Bureau statistics indicate that a woman is raped in the country every 20 minutes and every third victim is a child. Bangalore is ranked fourth in the number of rapes, she added.

Sense of security

Kasthuri P., assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry, Victoria Hospital, said sexual abuse at home raised the question of how children could be provided with a sense of security in such an environment. Reportedly, 5 per cent of the rape victims become pregnant as they don’t report the abuse, she said. Samiti president Saranya S. Hegde stressed the importance of value education for children, instilling in them a sense of the right and wrong, and raising them in an environment without gender prejudice.