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Got this from a face book post...I think that needs to be shared...
Joined: 22 September 2011
CHENNAI: Women constantly face sexual harassment in public, but the gravest danger could be closer to home than they imagine.
This is particularly true of Tamil Nadu where, crime records reveal, more than 99% of victims of rape were acquainted with their assailants in some way. In many cases, the culprit was a family member, a close relative that the victim would normally have no reason to fear.
Of the 677 cases of rape reported in Tamil Nadu in 2011, 675 victims knew the perpetrators, according to statistics compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau. Only two women were sexually assaulted by strangers.
Chennai police registered 76 cases of rape in 2011, including 74 in which the victims knew their assailants.
Of the 675 accused in the state in 2011, 249 were neighbours of the victims, 96 were relatives, two were close family members, including parents, and 328 were "other known persons" and acquaintances.
The data for Tamil Nadu is reflective of nationwide figures - 93% of rape victims across the country knew the offenders - but also indicate that women in the state are more vulnerable to sexual assault by people they trust than anywhere else in the country.
In 24,206 cases of rape reported in the country in 2011, 22,549 of the offenders were family members, relatives, neighbours or friends of the victims.
Disturbingly, in the 677 cases recorded in the state in 2011, 45 victims were 10 years old or younger, 46 were between 10 and 14, and 181 were between 14 and 18. Most victims (365) were between 18 and 30, but as many as 272 were minors. Two victims were more than 50 years old.
"A private place, like a woman's house, is now more dangerous than a public place," said Prasanna Poornachandran, CEO of International Foundation for Crime Prevention and Victim Care. "The high incidence of sexual abuse by acquaintances and relatives is primarily because of a lack of awareness."
"Girls do not suspect family members or relatives and many victims are afraid to tell someone when they are first assaulted, leading to repeated abuse," he said. "Women should be aware of the threat and be advised to protect their daughters and teach them how to protect themselves."
A senior police officer said there has been a marked increase in sexual abuse by family members in Tamil Nadu. "But women are also filing more cases against close relatives because awareness programmes have emboldened them to lodge police complaints," he said.
All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) national secretary U Vasuki said there should be more stringent rules to curb sexual harassment in educational institutions and workplaces. "How do you stop sexual abuse in the privacy of a family's residence? The state should be more proactive about educating girls and women about the dangers they face and their right to bring charges against offenders."
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Two of the six accused had on Sunday expressed the wish to turn into state witnesses. Vinay Sharma, a gym instructor, and Pawan Gupta, a fruit-seller, had confessed to their crime when produced before the court on December 19.
The two said they wanted to be witnesses in the case and refused to take the service of a legal aid counsel.
Some lawyers on Monday said they were willing to represent the accused but others expressed their anguish.
One advocate told the court that he was approached by the family of the accused, asking him to defend them.
"I was approached by the family of accused, I should be allowed to meet them here to sign the 'vakalatnama' (contract with the lawyer)," said the advocate.
To this, the judge said he would not be allowed to meet the accused and could go to Tihar Jail to sign the papers.
The incident has caused widespread rage and protests all over the nation, with protests being staged in several major cities, mainly in Delhi.
Police have pledged "maximum security" during the hearing at the magistrates' court amid fears for the defendants' safety. A man was arrested last week as he allegedly tried to plant a crude bomb near the home of one of the men.
Legal experts say the court in the Saket district of the capital would likely transfer the case to a more senior court during Monday's hearing.
"The court will ask them if they have lawyers and then it will appoint an Amicus Curiae (lawyer) to represent them and supply copies of the chargesheet to the accused," said Vishwender Verma, a senior advocate at Delhi High Court.
"The case will then be committed to a sessions court as a magistrates' court cannot try rape and murder cases."
The student, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had spent the evening at a cinema with her boyfriend on the night of the attack. After failing to flag down an autorickshaw, they were lured onto a privste bus they thought would take them home.
Instead, a gang are alleged to have taken it in turns to rape the young woman as well as sexually assault her with an iron bar that they also used to attack her companion. The pair were then stripped and thrown out of the moving vehicle.
Outlining their case before the same court in Saket on Saturday, prosecutors said there was DNA evidence to tie the defendants to the crime scene.
"The blood of the victim tallied with the stains found on the clothes of the accused," said Rajiv Mohan, part of the prosecution team.
He also said police had recovered possessions stolen from the victim and her male friend.
As well as the forensic and other evidence, the woman's friend has testified to police and has reportedly identified the culprits.
The friend in his media interviews, said that passers-by ignored the naked and bloodied couple for 30 minutes after they were thrown out of the bus and police then wasted more time arguing over who had jurisdiction.
"The cruelty I saw should not be seen ever," the 28-year-old man, who also cannot be named for legal reasons, said.
There have been widespread calls for the attackers to be hanged, including from the victim's father.
"At first I wanted to see the men responsible face to face but I don't want to any more. I just want to hear that the courts have punished them and they will be hanged," he told Britain's People newspaper.
"Death for all six of them. These men are beasts. They should be made an example of and that society will not allow such things to happen."
Rape cases are usually held behind closed doors in India and it will be up to the court to decide what the media will be allowed to report.
The police have issued an advisory saying "it shall not be lawful for any person to print or publish any matter in relation to such proceedings" unless they receive permission from the court.
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