Friday, January 21, 2011

Cash aid for rape victims

In the news story below, several things immediately come to mind:

1. How is this not a recipe for a massive increase in false accusations?  Seriously?

2. 27%? I thought it was only 6%.

3. If a case turns out to be a false accusation, will the money be returned, or will liars be permitted to keep it?

4. for a population of over a billion in 2009, the percentage of rapes is .000021467. I guess Women's Studies curriculum hasn't made it to India yet -- you know, to teach them that it is actually 1 in 4, or 1 in 3, or 1 in 6 during homecoming week, or . . .  you get the point. Even if you factor in the unreported rapes (which, of course, is impossible to do because if they aren't reported, there is absolutely no way to know how many there are), the percentage is infinitesimal. While even one rape is too many, this percentage can't be reconciled with the numbers that the Sexual Grievance Industry constantly spouts.

Read the story after the jump:

New Delhi, Dec. 30: Rape victims will get an interim financial assistance of Rs 20,000 within 15 days of filing an FIR, according to a scheme the government has announced as part of efforts to ensure “restorative” justice.

The centrally sponsored scheme, in the pipeline for about a year but fine-tuned recently, comes at a time instances of sexual assault on women have been on the rise, while the conviction rate has never crossed 27 per cent.

Under the plan, which also covers minor girls, legal heirs of victims will be entitled to financial assistance where death of the affected woman has resulted as a consequence of rape.

An official with the women and child development ministry, which will be in charge of the scheme, said the number of rape cases in the country have been “increasing at an alarming” pace. “Though it is partly due to the fact that more girls and parents are coming forward to report such cases, no one can deny the fact that crime against women is on the rise. The conviction rate in rape cases is also alarmingly low. So it is imperative that there should be a proper support mechanism for the victims.”

According to government data, 22,490 cases of rape have been reported in the country so far this year. The number was 21,467 in 2009, 21,397 in 2008, 20,737 in 2007, 19,384 in 2006, 18,359 in 2005, 18,233 in 2004 and 15,847 in 2003.

Under the scheme, Financial Assistance and Support Services to Victims of Rape, a woman shall be entitled to an interim assistance of Rs 20,000 to take care of her immediate needs. The relief will be handed over within 15 days of filing the FIR after a medical examination confirms rape.

The woman will also get support services worth Rs 50,000, including shelter, counselling, medical aid, legal assistance, education and vocational training, depending upon her needs.

The victim would be eligible for a final financial assistance of Rs 1.30 lakh “to address her long-term needs” and restore “her confidence”, said a release issued by the government.

The final assistance has to be given within a year of filing the FIR, whether the trial is over or not.
The scheme has a provision for enhancing the relief in cases involving minor girls, mentally or physically challenged women who may need specialised care, women who become infected with sexually transmitted diseases, or get pregnant. In these cases, the quantum of assistance can go up to Rs 3 lakh.

If the victim dies, her legal heirs, including minor children, shall be entitled to Rs 1 lakh as assistance if the woman was a non-earning family member, and Rs 2 lakh if she was an earning member.

Women’s rights groups welcomed the scheme but said stress should be laid on improving the conviction rate too.

“It is good that the government has shown some concern for the victims. But it is worrying that the government is doing nothing to improve the conviction rate in rape cases,” said Vineetha Govil of Sthree Shakthi, a non-government organisation that works for rape victims.

“We have seen many rape victims being virtually thrown out of their homes,” said Rakhee Jain of Mukthi, another NGO. “Once the relief package is there, things might change.”

But, she added, convicting the violator is more important. “If the perpetrator is roaming around freely, this money will have no meaning to the victim.”

Asked about the possibility of the scheme being misused, the official said the government would monitor its implementation. “Moreover,” he added, “no Indian woman would make a false claim of rape just to get financial support.”

Not everyone agrees.

“Innumerable men have already been implicated in false rape cases. With the new financial package, men will be more in trouble. We are planning to take up the case with the Prime Minister,” said Anshul Bisht who works on issues related to men’s rights.