Dress not reason behind rape, says Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman questioned that if dress is the reason, then why are old women or toddlers sexually abused.

NEW DELHI:┬áTaking a strong stand on crime against women, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that it is “ridiculous” to claim that a woman’s attire is the reason behind rape. She questioned that if dress is the reason, then why are old women or toddlers sexually abused.

“What efforts can be made by external agencies when you have known people absolutely violating the women? Some people say about the way women dress. Then why does rape happen of elderly people? Why does rape happen of toddlers?” the Defence Minister said at an event organised by industry lobby FICCI in Delhi.

The minister said law agencies need to be proactive in providing safety to women.

“Out of every 10 such incidents, seven are committed by people who know the victim – relative, friends, neighbour. Law enforcement agencies need to be far more proactive, I concede all that,” she said.

“So I am trying to push the argument that a lot is upon us in terms of the mindsets with which boys are brought up in our families,” the minister said.

Ms Sitharamn added that police needs to be reformed and women’s legislation should be taken up more actively.

The Defence Minister was addressing ‘Stories That Matter’ – an event organised at FICCI and released the Gender Parity Survey Report.

The government had last month cleared an ordinance to introduce capital punishment for child rapists.