Tamil Nadu

‘Majority of sexual assault victims in T.N. are minor girls’

A majority of sexual assault victims in Tamil Nadu are minor girls, according to a study conducted by ‘Evidence,’ a Madurai-based NGO.

The victims, among whom Dalits accounted for 46 per cent, had also been subjected to humiliation, torture and threatened with deadly weapons by the accused prior to committing the crime. The ‘Evidence’ team met the victims across the State with data accessed through Right to Information Act.

In 2013, the police had registered 923 cases of rape and sexual assault. The NGO, which had taken 573 cases for study, found that over 80 per cent of the crimes were reported from villages and around 15 per cent from urban locations.

Even after several months, victims continued to remain in a state of trauma due to inaction of the police. Absence of stringent action, and repeated threats from the accused compelled some of the victims to even end their lives. What causes concern was the attitude of the police in dealing with the cases, the study said.

Speaking to The Hindu, executive director of the Evidence, A.. Kathir, said women, particularly minors, suffered multiple injuries during the assault. When the victims resisted, they were attacked with weapons. “In some cases, the women were kidnapped and subjected to physical torture. The study showed that out of 573 victims, 199 were Dalits and 231 were caste Hindus. The shocking revelation was that 65 per cent of the victims were less than 18 years of age,” he noted.

Owing to several reasons, 2,462 cases were pending at different stages in the State. Twenty-one cases were pending for over 10 years; 255 for over six years and 1258 cases for nearly five years. During interactions with the victims, the ‘Evidence’ team found that the police officers encouraged “out-of-court” settlement and mediated in getting compensation from the accused, Mr. Kathir said.

The government should amend laws to ensure that the accused were not let on bail at least for 12 months. It should establish a Criminal Justice Commission to put an end to atrocities against women, by involving the police, administration and health officials and the judiciary, the NGO urged.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 2:22:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/majority-of-sexual-assault-victims-in-tn-are-minor-girls/article6253417.ece

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