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1.1 Background of the Study

The term “rape” originates from a Latin word meaning ‘to seize.’ Rape is a criminal act that typically involves non-consensual sexual assault, often including sexual intercourse, perpetrated by one or more individuals against another individual without their agreement. In India, rape is legally defined in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code as “intentional, unlawful sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent” . This definition has been criticized for its limited scope, as it does not encompass other forms of sexual assault. Within the Indian context, the issue of rape is viewed through a socio-cultural lens as rape not only inflicts physical harm on the victim but also carries a profound societal and cultural stigma, which has a devastating impact on the survivor, tarnishing their dignity and well-being (Cohen, 2021).

Additionally, rape is a grave and pervasive issue that has plagued societies worldwide, and India is no exception. It is a heinous crime with profound physical, psychological, and social consequences for its survivors. However, rape was defined as an event that occurred without the victim’s consent, that involved the use or threat of force to penetrate the victim’s vagina or anus by penis, tongue, fingers, or object, or the victim’s mouth by penis .According to World Health Organization (WHO) rape as a form of sexual assault, while the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDCP) include rape in their definition of sexual assault; they see rape, as a form of sexual violence. (G. & et al., 2022)

In the same context, Anderson (2016), states that rape is a direct threat to the society; and it is spreading like a disease. It affects children and women badly as causes damage to their emotional, psychological, cognitive, and physical development. Also, Briere, J. & Jordan, C.E. (2017) asserts that rape can leave a deep scar of the minds of children and can destroy their whole personality. Rape has not only cause damages on children and women but also on the society as a whole. The increase of rape rate in the society has very evident linkages with increased drug abuse.  Additionally, rape  can be clearly seen as a crime not only to the victims but the entire society as it traumatizes and overwhelmed the victim with great psychological pains and other likely venereal infections like STD. This could lead to fear, panic, nightmares on the victims (Barbaree, 2021).  Also, rape is seen as a common phenomenon against the female gender, as they are the most vulnerable. Cohen (2022) asserts that rape is an assault and a criminal offence because if not properly counseled such a victim might be mentally down. In mixed method research, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported sexual violence as a significant factor of poor mental health status in women across countries including India. Rape affects more than 50% of women across the globe and has a significant impact on their health. However, previous quantitative studies established a positive relationship between rape and ill mental health, but there is a limited qualitative study to explore the situation in how women face it, and how it is linked to the mental disorders. Far too little has explored on issues connected to the ‘sensitive issues’ like sexual violence against women in a developing country like India, a country deeply embedded in patriarchal values.

Subsequently, in research conducted by Kamal (2019), he discovered that approximately two-thirds of the rape victims in the study area kept the sexual assault a secret from other people. However, not sharing could lead to a worse scenario.. Similarly, women who were physically abused by their partners were more likely to be emotionally abused, and vice versa. Sexual violence between partners included forced intercourse and other forms of sexual coercion (Jordan, 2017). Rape is a deeply traumatic experience with far-reaching implications for victims. It affects not only their physical and mental health but also their social standing and interactions within their communities (Miller, 2021). Many women who experience rape in India face stigmatization and victim-blaming. Society often places the onus on the survivor to prove her innocence, which can exacerbate the trauma and deter survivors from reporting the crime.

The perceptions of the social consequences of rape among women in India are evolving, with a mix of deeply ingrained cultural norms and the slow but steady progress towards greater awareness and support for survivors. Addressing the perceptions on the social consequences of rape among women in India requires a multi-pronged approach involving legal reforms, education, and a shift in societal attitudes towards rape and its victims. Additionally, rape survivors often face social isolation and exclusion from their communities. They may be ostracized, particularly in rural areas, which can lead to a loss of social support networks and a sense of alienation. Therefore, a survey will be conducted in order to assess the prevalence of rape in India.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The prevalence of rape can vary over time and across different regions especially in India. The widespread of rape in India is a deep concern and pervasive issue in India, and it continues to pose significant challenges in many societies. While progress has been made in raising awareness, reforming laws, and supporting survivors, several critical issues still persist. However, the rise of technology and the internet has given rise to new forms of sexual harassment and exploitation, including cyberbully and online harassment. These issues often go unaddressed, leading to significant psychological and emotional harm to. Further more, the prevalence of rape can also be influenced by factors such as reporting rates, cultural norms, and the effectiveness of law enforcement.  However, it is in the light of these that the study seeks assess the prevalence of rape in India.

1.3  Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is on an assessment of the prevalence of rape in India. Specifically, the study will;

1.        Determine the level of rape incidence in India.

2.        Examine the factors associated with the raping of women in India

3.        Investigate the implications of rape  in India.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

1.        What is the level of rape incidence in India?

2.        What are the factors associated with the raping of women in India?

3.        What are the implications of rape  in India?

1.5  Significant of the Study

An assessment of the perceptions on the social consequences of rape among women in India will be revealed to the government at various levels, women rights activists, NGOs, law enforcement agencies, women, media houses and  students in this study. it aims to provide education to students and women regarding the underlying causes of rape, support NGOs in devising preventive measures and intervention strategies for victims of sexual violence. Additionally, the study will assist law enforcement agencies in pinpointing deficiencies within the existing legal framework and areas requiring reform to better safeguard survivors and ensure the accountability of perpetrators. Furthermore, the media will have the opportunity to utilize this information for informing the general public about the Sexual Offense Act of 2006, the stringent penalties associated with rape convictions, and to educate the public on risk factors, causes of rape, and strategies for preventing sexual violence. Further more, subsequent researchers will use it as a literature review. This means that other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regard to an assessment of the prevalence of rape in India.

1.6 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is boarded on an assessment of the prevalence of rape in India. Theoretically, this study will determine the level of rape incidence in India, examine the factors associated with the raping of women in India and investigate the implications of rape  in India.

Geographically, the study will be delimited to women in Punjab, India.

1.7 Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.

In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Rape : unlawful sexual activity.

Prevalent: widespread in a particular area or at a particular time.

Women:an adult or matured female human being.

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