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India’s Ongoing Rape Crisis Causes Changes in the Law

The Indian government has warned female travelers not to wear skirts “for their own safety” as they travel to and around the country. India has been struggling with the widespread violence against women in the country, which has hurt the nation’s tourism industry.

India has seen an increase in violence against women in recent years, with foreign women experiencing some of the highest numbers of sexual assault. In some incidences, India has had to change its laws to allow for the prosecution of sexual assault in cases where the acts committed did not fit the old definitions of crimes. According to a report from CNN, “The country has amended its laws to broaden the definition of rape to include any form of penetration; it lists out strict punishments not only for rape but also for sexual assault, voyeurism, and stalking.”

India’s struggle with rampant sexual assault became an international news story in 2012 following the gang-rape of a student in New Delhi. Similar cases have continued to occur — most recently in July, when a mother and daughter were gang-raped outside of Delhi.

Breitbart News reported in May that, according to the study conducted by the International Center for Research on Women and the United Nations Population Fund, “over half of women in India surveyed two years ago said they had experienced some form of sexual violence by a partner.” Breitbart went on to report, “60 percent of men questioned in the same survey admitted to perpetrating sexual abuse against a partner.” In 2014, there were 36,735 rapes reported.

It is not just the laws hindering authorities in prosecuting these crimes, CNN also reports that “India is ill-equipped to process not just sexual assaults and rape, but all kinds of crime. It has a shortage of forensic laboratories; one of the worst police-to-citizens ratios in the world, and far fewer lawyers and judges than it needs to process cases.”

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