Two women on an average were raped in Tamil Nadu each day this year, if the data available with the police is any indication. Police records show that 528 cases of rape were reported in the State till September this year, which works out to 59 per month. Last year, the figure stood at 677. In other words, 56 cases per month.
If you compare the figure till September this year with the corresponding one last year, you will notice a sharp rise of nine per cent in 2012. Last year, there were 484 cases of rape till September. This year, North Zone that included Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Vellore and Thiruvannamalai recorded the highest of 146 cases followed by South Zone with 136.
According to police, the percentage of minors being victims of rape was higher compared to the 18-plus age group. “All cases of sexual harassment involving minors are booked under the section,” a police official said recalling the recent rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl near Thoothukudi.
Police said that most of the predators this year were known persons - either relatives or neighbours.
“The TN police is taking prompt action in rape cases. We are compiling statistics for the present year now,” a senior police official said.
Statistics show that over 750 cases were pending investigation till September this year, of which about 14 cases had been pending for anywhere between four and 10 years.
This could be due to various reasons like awaiting lab test and other reports, alteration of sections if the victim had died or if the accused was absconding, though the police said that chargesheet could be filed even if the offender had not been caught. “In most cases the victim does not want to pursue the case,” a police official said.
Cops cite many reasons for over 1,700 cases pending trial, 30 of which were above 10 years and 150 for six to 10 years.
They said in most part, the cases drag on due to pending warrant against the offender and sometimes due to witness turning hostile.
At times, the victim does not want to pursue the case due to fear or frustration. Sometimes, the victims are wary of appearing before the court face to face with the offender, the officials said.
Finally, a look at the conviction rate: this year, only three cases had reached the stage of conviction while 26 others resulted in acquittal. As a disclaimer, the officials pointed out that there were instances of false complaints and charges that needed to be taken into consideration.