Delhi gang-rape: Some questions

Over the last few years I have experienced an alarming routine. Open the newspaper, read about rapes, stabbings, molestations and murders, shake my head and carry on with my life. The Delhi gang-rape is not the first and sadly will not be the last either. Perhaps it is just the sheer brutality of this case that sends a chill down my spine. Perhaps I have finally had enough. Regardless, it is time to attempt to make sense of what is happening around me. To ask some questions. To come up with some answers. Here are some questions that come to my mind.

Severity:

Is the number of rape cases increasing? Reported cases? Actual cases? As a fraction of the population?

Is the number of convictions for rape increasing? As a fraction of the reported cases? Actual cases?

Causes:

Is there something that most rapists have in common? Religion? Caste? Language? Region? Lack of education? Wealth? Power? Marital status? Social status? Age? Attitudes towards gender roles, sex, relationships, lifestyle? What (if any) is the typical profile of a rapist?

Is there something that most victims have in common? Religion? Caste? Language? Region? Education? Wealth? Power? Marital status? Social status? Age? Attitudes towards gender roles, sex, relationships, lifestyle? What (if any) is the typical profile of a rape victim?

Effectiveness:

Will increasing the penalty for rape reduce the number of crimes?

Will increasing the penalty for rape increase the number of convictions?

Will imposing the death penalty for rape increase the number of murders?

Will imposing restrictions / enacting new laws reduce the number of crimes?

Will imposing restrictions / enacting new laws make it easier to implement the laws?

Ethical questions:

Does a rapist deserve to live?

Should rape be punishable by death? (Note that this is not the same as the previous question)

What kind of restrictions are acceptable (assuming they are effective)? (Example: If women are banned from all public places, the number of rapes would go down. Would that be acceptable?)

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