Locating Gender-Based Violence in Context of Smart and Safe City

A ‘smart city’ is an urban region that is highly advanced in terms of overall infrastructure, sustainable real estate, communications and market viability. This idea is being promoted by the government. A smart city is expected to be equipped with basic infrastructure to provide good quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment. It is also supposed to assure water and electricity supply, sanitation and solid waste management, efficient urban mobility and public transport, robust IT connectivity, e-governance and citizen participation, safety and security of citizens (Larrdis 2014). Delhi has been a smart city from before. However, the success of such a city depends on residents, entrepreneurs and visitors becoming actively involved in energy saving and implementation of new technologies (TOI 2014). There are many ways to make residential, commercial and public spaces sustainable by ways of technology. Such cities take years to develop. Delhi has come to a point in history where it can become smart, but safety issues are still to be organized. Public safety has emerged as an important function for governments across the world. It involves the duty and function of the state to ensure the safety of its citizens, organizations and institutions against threats to their well-being as well as the traditional functions of law and order (UN Habitat II 1996). With more than half the global population living in urban areas, safe city is essential in ensuring secure living and prosperity. The basic principles of good governance must be concerned with urban safety strategy; and aim at reducing and preventing common problems of crime, violence, especially against women, and insecurity. Therefore, it is important that the notion of Smart City being promoted by the government should take into cognizance the elements of Safe City and converge towards providing the conducive environment which is safe and violence free for all citizens,

Pillars of safe and smart city

Fig. 1 Pillars of safe and smart city

particularly girls and women (Safe- Cities- the- India-Story 2014). Essentially, its Institutional Infrastructure (including Governance), Physical Infrastructure and Social Infrastructure constitute the three pillars on which a city rests. The centre of attention for each of these pillars is the citizen. In other words, a Smart City works towards ensuring the best for all its people, regardless of social status, age, income levels, gender and other disparities (Fig. 1).

Thus, it is pertinent to see the issue of sexual violence from feminist perspective, by respecting women’s autonomy and bodily integrity. This can be achieved more by changing the mindset of men and even women, rather than mere law, infrastructural changes and having surveillance, which are still inadequate.

This paper first gives the data on the increased rape cases in Delhi in the past 6 years based on the crime records, and second based on the empirical research in selected schools, colleges and slum communities in South Delhi, analyzes the perception and experience of crime against women in everyday life.

Despite huge public protest and the new law ‘Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place Act’ (2013), there has been increase in rape cases in Delhi. Figure 2, shows the increasing rape cases registered in Delhi in last 6 years along with the number of worked out cases, where the accused has been arrested. It contains the cases registered of both major and minor. There is clearly fivefold increase in the last 6 years.

Fig. 2 Rape cases registered in Delhi. Source Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime and Railways, Police Headquarters, New Delhi, the rape cases registered have gone up from 2009 to 2014

If we look at figures between the year 2012 and 2013, the cases more than doubled, after Nirbhaya case on 16 December. 2012. This case had led to a mass mobilization and protest against the system. The increase in the reporting can be also attributed to public protest and the new law gave courage to speak out, thus, even the old cases have been registered thereafter.

The data from the above source also showed the type of rape cases. Table 1 shows that rape is generally done by persons known or acquaintance and less by strangers. Only from 2013, additional factors have been analyzed like ‘Live-inrelationship’, ‘refusal of marriage’, pretext of providing job, ‘Incestuous cases’, ‘acquaintance’ ‘stranger’s rape’, which were not categorized before.

In Table 1, Indicator ‘live-in relationships’ and ‘refusal of marriage’ are not mutually exclusive, because in many cases when a couple is in live-in relationship the reason for lodging FIR also is due to the refusal of marriage. The main concern, which arises out of it, is that, in most of the cases rapists were known to the victim. Very less number of cases falls under the category of stranger’s rape cases.

Table 1 Types of the rape cases

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Cases registered

469

507

572

706

1636

2166

1

Elopement cases

84

40

49

62

261

123

2

Live-in relationship

43

84

3

Refusal of marriage

232

529

4

Pretext of providing job

5

9

5

Incestuous cases

175

335

6

Acquaintances rape

1403

1745

7

Strangers rape case

58

86

Source Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime and Railways, Police Headquarters, New Delhi, the rape cases registered have gone up from 2009 to 2014

Table 2 Place of crime

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Cases registered

469

507

572

706

1636

2166

1

House/premises

276

382

498

633

1371

1801

2

Jhuggi cluster

26

22

26

23

43

47

3

Vehicle

4

12

13

19

33

45

4

Park/jungle/bushes

65

5

Shop/offices

25

6

Clinic/hospital/nursing home

8

7

Factory/go down/workshop

16

8

Subway/toilet

1

9

Hotel/Restaurant/Dhaba

70

10

School/college/educational institution

16

11

In train/platform

1

2

2

1

2

12

Other

188

40

Total

1636

2166

Source Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime and Railways, Police Headquarters, New Delhi, the rape cases registered have gone up from 2009 to 2014

Table 2 below shows the place of crime. Largest number of rape cases happened in home premises than the public spaces, institutions and work place. Thus, the new Act is also limited to only spaces where the crime is less frequent comparatively. This calls for urgent laws pertaining to reducing crime against women in their home premises. While in the patriarchal society, largely the mindset is that women should not venture out in late hours and pre-supposes home as safe haven.

Next section explores the perception of gender violence, and experiences of the respondents from selected school, colleges and slums of South Delhi. Part of the results are presented here, which is the part of a larger study, carried out by the authors under the auspices of SATAT, supported by Indian Council for Social Science Research.

 
Source
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