Women all over the world face threats and problems their male counterparts scarcely have to experience. Whether it be the suppression of their human rights or the denial of an office promotion, there is proof everywhere that we still do not live in a world that is equal. No matter how economically developed or rich a nation these social issues will not solve themselves. Of course, much progress has been made and it is unfair to suggest that the entire world is still as it was many years ago. Societies have taken it upon themselves to move forward, but there is still a long way to go.
Russia is a country that is not particularly known for its soft stance on crime. The police there waste no time in arresting suspected criminals be it for thievery or political dissent. On top of that, their prisons are some of the toughest in the world and that applies to you whether you’re a drug dealer or a convicted driver whose broken the speed limit one too many times. Russia’s crime rates tend to be volatile, but it seems in recent years some types of crimes have begun to regularly decrease. For example, in 2001 there were 33,600 homicides. That has decreased steadily to 11,500 in 2011. What is worrying though is that despite a national drop in the rape crime rate in 2009, Moscow saw a 25% increase. On top of that, Syostry (a helpline for survivors of sexual violence) believes that more than 10% of rape victims do not report their claims to the police showing that violence against women in Moscow is a big problem.
Beijing, quite surprisingly, has a very low crime rate despite having a population of over 19 million people. Again, China is a country that does not mess around with their criminals, but is this strict approach having much effect on crimes against women? 25% of women in the city reported various forms of sexual harassment with 1.6% reporting sexual assault and 1% reporting sexual coercion from college teachers and peers. In another survey 12.7% of people admitted to coercing their partners into sexual activity, while 15.4% said they had been coerced. This is a huge amount of people and the fact that a substantial amount of people are willing to openly admit to coercing partners suggest that this may be a social issue that desperately needs addressing.
Brazil is notorious for crime (its homicide rate is four times that of the United States) and its capital, Brasilia, is no exception. Despite being purpose built to become Brazil’s capital it has not escaped incredibly high crime rates. Governments around the world try very hard to educate their citizens before they visit. Tourists are at very high risk with significant crime problems in public transportation, hotel and tourist areas. The “satellite cities” around Brasilia are even worse and are mostly no-go areas for foreigners. In terms of violence against women, Brasilia seems to have an issue. Rape is the least reported crime in this city with a rate of 0.16 (that’s 16 rapes per 100,000 people). It is not hard to imagine that there is a serious problem of under-reporting going on here which of course makes it very difficult for the authorities to combat this crime. A 2001 survey said that 43% of women have experienced violent abuse from males (with 11% of that abuse sexual), while 1 in 3 reported intimate partner violence.
New Delhi has a significant problem in regards to violence against women. Despite Minister P. Chidambaram saying that the city did not deserve the title of India’s “rape capital”, it seems that is an apt description. Out of the top 35 cities in India, New Delhi accounts for 23% of all rapes which is a huge share. What is equally worrying is that New Delhi also accounts for 10.9% of violence from husbands or relatives and 14.6% of dowry deaths. The dowry deaths are clearly a social issue that urgently needs to be addressed across the whole of India. It seems that in comparison to other cities, New Delhi has it’s own distinct form of violence towards women that obviously must stem from the mindset of its citizens. Without a drastic change in that the authorities will always struggle in bringing the crime rate down significantly.