When it comes to combatting the rise in crimes of sexual violence against children, the nation of India is done fooling around.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially approved an ordinance which allows the death penalty to be handed down to anyone caught raping a child under the age of 12.
Even though the ordinance will require parliamentary approval within the next six months for it to become a law, child rapists can be prosecuted under this ordinance in the mean time. That means that for the next 180 days, or until parliament takes further action, this ordinance is the law of the land.
These actions were prompted by the recent rape and murder of an eight year old girl in Jammu-Kashmir, as well as the alleged rape of a girl in Uttar Pradesh by a ruling party MP.
These two cases are just a drop in the bucket compared to the epidemic problem that has arisen in India over the past decade. As reported by the Indo-Asian News Service, sex crimes against minors in India have increased by 400% from 18,967 in 2006 to 106,958 in 2016.
This new ordinance is the latest in a string of new laws to try and curb violence against women. After the brutal and fatal gang rape of a New Delhi woman in 2012, the country doubled prison terms for rapists to 20 years and also cracked down on stalking, voyeurism and sex trafficking. They also lowered the age for being tried as an adult to 16 years old.
Adding to the difficulties is the fact that there are incredibly long delays for cases to come to trial. Some experts speculate that there are as many as 30 million cases pending in India! 30 million!
Then, once a rape case does make it to trial, the conviction rate is only 28 percent — meaning that almost 3/4 of all rapists will walk and face no penalty.
Let’s hope this new ordinance causes some of these heinous criminals to think twice and that violence against women in India will drop as quickly as it increased.