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Rape Cases in India : Correlation between Sex Ratio, Literacy Rate and Rape Cases registered – Part 3

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We have analysed the number of rape cases registered from 2011 to 2013 in India and if things have changed post the Nirbhaya incident in the first two parts.

The numbers and the general trend of the number of rape cases registered roughly correlated with indicators such as sex ratio and literacy rate. When we dug deep into these indicators, we found some interesting trends. We considered Sex Ratio & the Literacy rate as per Census 2011, Rape cases registered in various states in 2013 for this analysis.

Sex Ratio in India is not a mere number but an indicator that speaks volumes about the Indian social setup. Sex ratio in India has always been lopsided with the count of men outnumbering that of women by a large margin. This can be attributed to a variety of reasons but the ones that stand out are the preference for a male child and a strong patriarchal society where the female is mostly considered a second rate citizen. Female infanticide and foeticide are rampant due to these two reasons. Lower Sex Ratio breeds and sets in motion a vicious self sustaining cycle comprising of disempowered women incapable of nurturing their next generations.

The causes that lead to a skewed sex ratio also contribute to its perpetuity in various forms, direct and indirect. Direct like sex selective abortions and indirect like creating an environment that is not conducive to the girl child. Such an environment also contributes to a setup for crimes to be inflicted upon women and it also makes it easy for the guilty to get away with.

Number of studies has suggested that a skewed sex ratio could amplify the assaults on women if not a major reason for the crimes in the first place. To test this argument we tried to find if there is any correlation between Sex ratio and Rape cases registered per lakh women across all the states in India. In some cases low sex ratio did correlate with higher number of cases registered.

Literacy Rate: Education equips us with the necessary knowledge and attitude to deal with problems that crop up in our lives. Lack of education leaves us at a natural disadvantage of not understanding our own surroundings. An educated person is more likely to stand up for his rights when they are denied because of the knowledge of systems. We assume that a higher literacy rate should correlate with higher reporting crimes and lower literacy rate with lower reporting of crimes.

Analysis

This article analyses the correlation between three different parameters, Sex Ratio, Literacy Rate and Rape cases registered per lakh women. National average for each of the parameters is used as a baseline to define ‘high’ and ‘low’ nature of the parameters

The national average Sex Ratio is 943. So States with a lower sex ratio than 943 are defined as states with ‘low sex ratio’ and similarly states with sex ratio higher than 943 have been defined as states with high sex ratio’.

On the same lines, National average Literacy rate is 74.04% and states with literacy rate lower than this have been termed ‘low literacy’ states and vice versa. Literacy rate mentioned here is the overall literacy rate.

Number of rape cases registered per lakh women (RPL) in India is 5 in 2013. Hence states with RPL of more than 6 RPL have been termed as high RPL states and vice versa.

States and UT’s have been arranged in ascending order of Sex Ratio and grouped into two groups A and B. Group A states have a sex ratio lower than the national average and are hence the ‘Low Sex Ratio States’ and Group B states have a sex ratio higher than the national average and have therefore been referred to as the ‘High Sex Ratio States’.

What does the colour coding mean?

Group A: Our underlying assumption is that states with low sex ratio and high literacy rate tend to have a higher RPL and the states with a lower literacy rate tend to have lower RPL. The corresponding numbers of a state that followed this trend have been coloured green and others have been left uncoloured.

Group B: For States with high Sex Ratio, our assumption is that high sex ratio could translate to lower RPL. The corresponding numbers of a state that followed this trend have been coloured green and the ones that didn’t have been left uncoloured. Higher literacy rate correlating with high RPL also has been coloured green.

Analysis of Group A States (States with Sex Ratio lower than the National Average)

S.NoState/UTSex RatioRapes Registered Per Lakh Women(RPL)Overall Literacy Rate%Literacy Rate-Female%
1Daman and Diu618987.179.6
2Dadra and Nagar Haveli774377.765.9
3Chandigarh818986.481.4
4Delhi8682186.380.9
5Andaman and Nicobar Islands8761586.381.8
6Haryana879876.666.8
7Jammu and Kashmir889668.758.0
8Sikkim8901582.276.4
9Punjab895776.771.3
10Uttar Pradesh912369.759.3
11Bihar918263.853.3
12Gujarat919379.370.7
13Rajasthan9281067.152.7
14Maharashtra929682.975.5
15Madhya Pradesh9311270.660.0
16Nagaland931380.176.7
17Arunachal Pradesh9381167.059.6

 

  • Of the 17 States/UTs that are part of this group, 12 of them also have high number of rape cases registered per lakh women. This in itself is clear indication of some kind of correlation between lower sex ratio and higher incidence of rape.
  • High number of rape cases registered doesn’t necessarily have to be the output of a low sex ratio alone. It could also be due to higher reporting which is considerably influenced by literacy rate. Case in point being Delhi, Delhi has a sex ratio of 868 and a RPL of 21 which is the highest in the country and a high overall literacy rate of 86%.
  • 10 of the 17 States/UTs follow the trend of high literacy rate leading to higher reporting of crimes. For instance, Andaman and Nicobar Islands have a high RPL of 15 which correlates with a high literacy rate of 86%. Same is the case for Sikkim, Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu.
  • Bihar & Uttar Pradesh stands out as examples of those states where the lower sex ratio combined with low literacy rate. This could be the possible reason for a very low RPL. Bihar has a sex ratio of 918 and the RPL is only 2 and low literacy rate of 63.8% only. Uttar Pradesh with a sex ratio of 912 and RPL of 3 can also be explained in the same way as it has a low literacy rate of 69.7%.
  • At the same time, there are anomalies like Gujarat, Nagaland and Dadra and Nagar Haveli that do not follow this trend of low sex ratio and high literacy rate correlating with high RPL
  • Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh show another peculiarity that is having high RPL even when these states have low literacy rate. These states could probably stand as an example to possible under reporting of cases. Understanding these trends need a deeper on ground study.

The chart below explains the findings clearly.

Rape Cases Registerd per Lakh and Literacy Rate Correlation for Group A States and UTs

Analysis of Group B States (States with Sex Ratio higher than the National Average)

S NoState/UTSex RatioRape Cases Registered Per Lakh Women(RPL)Overall Literacy Rate %Female Literacy Rate %
1Lakshadweep946692.388.2
2Jharkhand948767.656.2
3West Bengal950477.171.2
4Assam9581373.267.3
5Tripura9601387.883.1
6Uttarakhand963579.670.7
7Himachal Pradesh972783.876.6
8Goa9731287.481.8
9Karnataka973375.668.1
10Mizoram9761691.689.4
11Orissa979973.564.4
12Meghalaya9891275.573.8
13Chhattisgarh9911171.060.6
14Manipur992579.873.2
15Andhra Pradesh993467.759.7
16Tamil Nadu996380.373.9
17Puducherry1037386.581.2
18Kerala1084793.992.0

 

  • If states with low sex ratio suffered with a high RPL, by the same logic, States with high sex ratio should have lower RPL. 7 of the 18 states did follow this pattern, but the rest didn’t.
  • The North Eastern states of Assam, Tripura, Mizoram, and Meghalaya stand out as anomalies that have higher RPL despite having high Sex Ratios. This could be possibly because of the widespread insurgency, violence and also the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) that could have a bearing on the crimes committed. Secondly, except Assam all the north eastern states have high literacy rates that could’ve contributed to the higher reporting of crimes.
  • Even though they have lower literacy rate, Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh also have higher reporting of crimes. This probably has something to do with the fact that these states are the epicentre of the Maoist movement and are also subject to acts like Chhattisgarh Public Security Act that place undue powers in the hands of state forces.
  • Himachal Pradesh, Lakshadweep, Goa, Kerala also have higher RPL, and also strikingly all these states have high literacy rate which could possibly explain the higher reporting.
  • Andhra Pradesh presents a contrast like none another with high sex ratio-low RPL and importantly low literacy rate. The low RPL could be arising from under reporting which could possibly be a result of the low literacy rate.
  • Higher literacy rate should contribute to higher reporting of crimes and this is witnessed in Kerala & a few other states.
  • West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Manipur, Puducherry are anomalies with respect to their corresponding higher literacy rates not correlating with reportage of crimes. But these states have a higher sex ratio and this could possibly the reason for lower RPL.

The chart below explains the findings clearly.

Literacy Rate and Rape Cases Registered per Lakh Correlation for Group B States and UTs

What does this mean? 

  • There is a very clear correlation between literacy rate and reporting rapes in Group A. There are some exceptions though.
  • For the Group B States, the correlation between literacy rate and RPL has been slightly more unclear. Group B states are those with higher sex ratio and they should have had lesser incidence of Rape, but this isn’t so. One possible explanation for this could be that of the 35 states and UTs only 12 states have a RPL lesser than the national average.

All said and done, the extent and prevalence of impact can’t be quantified. At the same it cannot also be denied that Sex Ratio and Literacy Rate do play a role in the occurrence and reporting of Rape cases across India. It is also possible that States like Uttar Pradesh & Bihar seem to be under reporting rape cases.

Featured Image Source: Flickr/Ramesh Lalwani

In Part 4 in the series of analysis of Rape cases in India, we attempt to further analyse the much talked about under reporting of Women Crimes in India and if there is indeed any evidence of such under reporting using crime data.

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5 Comments

  1. Impressive analysis with hard data and conclusions. But I would have to loved to see other social aspects like culture, sexual repression/frustration among lower classes, protitution etc. Questions like “Would legalization of prostitution bring down the rpe count? ” always go unanswered.

    • Sasi Priya Byra on

      Thanks for your kind words karthik! 🙂 And with respect to the the question you have raised, its a very valid point that needs to be addressed, but then data alone cannot prove/answer these questions conclusively, a much bigger and deeper study alone could do justice to such important questions.

  2. Pingback: THE RAPE CRISIS IN INDIA – The INscribe

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