Understanding the rise of sexual violence in India

Author: Vahida Nainar1
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  • 1 Tata Institute of Social Sciences, , India
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There is a sharp rise in sexual violence against women and girls over the last decade in India. The 2015–2017 National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) data suggest that the rise in sexual violence in different states in India ranges between 30–95 per cent. Though there are several literatures to understand and explain the phenomenon of sexual violence, there are dimensions of sexual violence that remain unexplored leading to substantive knowledge gaps. The article attempts to examine the knowledge gaps and understand the phenomenon of rise in sexual violence. It discusses relevance of patriarchal dominance theory and social disintegration theory to explain the phenomenon. The article concludes that patriarchal dominance theory is the basis for understanding the deep-rooted causes of gender violence as exemplified by rising instances of sexual violence. However, the cultural spillover concept, where the general acquiescence to public violence as illustrated in the high number of elected officials with criminal records, or a corporate decision to make free data accessible to 90 per cent of India’s population by 2017 shows discernable links with the rise in sexual violence.

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  • 1 Tata Institute of Social Sciences, , India

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