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Constitutionally Violence against women has long been a problem all over Indian states. the poor, women, Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis, or residents of certain areas, face overwhelming obstacles in obtaining justice. These obstacles include inaccessibility or hostility of the police and the criminal justice system; social sanction or the threat of retribution; harassment by insensitive law enforcement agencies; lack of resources to report crimes and pursue cases; poverty; and excessive control in the hands of armed and paramilitary forces in conflict-affected areas. Patriarchy, as well as notions of shame and “honour” associated with women’s sexuality, combines to make the pursuit of justice even more difficult in incidents of violence against women. As a result, a large proportion of such incidents are never reported to the police. This violence ranges from very mild teasing to rape and murder, and takes place at home, in the streets, at work places, jails, in short everywhere. Few crimes against women are reported, fewer still prosecuted, and a negligent number of accused are actually punished. This article provides estimates of the extent of under-reporting of crimes involving violence against women for India and its states. Any society, in which half the population is not assured of safety, needs to reconsider its claim to being civilised.
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