As celebrities the world over lend their support to the #MeToo campaign, against sexual assault, a medico-legal analysis of almost 900 cases of assaults at a tertiary care centre in Pune reveals a worrying data: 60 per cent of the victims are below 18 years. Officials at the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology at B J Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital said of the 890 cases of sexual assault, the victims were children or adolescents in 534 cases. They were brought to the Sassoon General Hospital for examination between November 2015 and September 2017. Of the total registered cases of sexual assault, 60.23% were cases of children being attacked. The majority of victims in such cases — 92.88% — were girls, while 7.12% were boys. The victims in a majority of the cases — 62.55 % — belonged to the age group of 15 -18 years.
In a staggeringly large number of cases — 93.63% — the assailant was known to the victim. In many cases, 39.51%, the victim’s boyfriend was the assailant, said those behind the study. Rented rooms were the most common place of assault in the maximum number of cases (26.40%) followed by the assailant’s home (21.72%) and victim’s home (20.97%), showed the study.
A majority of the assailants — 61.80% — were between 21and 30 years old, followed by 17.80% in the 11-20 age group. At least 34 per cent of the accused were between 16 and 18 years, stated the study. The youngest accused in the study was 11 years old, and the oldest was 55. Officials said most of the incidents, 50.75%, occurred in the afternoon. They also found that incidents of sexual assault were highest in the summer months, between May and July, constituting 28.65% of the total cases, followed by the season of spring, between February and April, with 27.15% of the cases.
In as many as 75.09% cases, genital injuries were reported. In a majority of the cases, the most common nature of the injury was abrasion, 84.78%, followed by contusion, 50%, and laceration 8.70%.
The majority of the cases fell in the category of aggravated penetrative sexual assault, 68.54%, followed by cases of under penetrative sexual assault, 11.42%. Most of the victims, 52.06%, belonged to the middle class, showed the analysis. Officials also found that cases of sexual assault were higher in urban areas (62.74%) as compared to rural areas (37.26%). Of the 890 victims, 503, or 94.19%, were unmarried.
A majority of the victims, 77.34%, stayed with their parents, while 9.74% were orphans. Explaining why such a study was undertaken, officials with the forensic department told The Indian Express, “The study’s basic aim is towards preventive action that can avert such occurrences.” That’s why, as part of the study, several details were meticulously recorded. These include preliminary information such as age, sex, educational status, economic status, religion, marital status, complaint at the time of admission, associated complaints, details of incidents such as place of assault, the time of assault, the time of registering complaint, to whom the incident was first narrated to, who then registered the complaint to police, reason for the delay in registering the complaint (if any) and others.