Records compiled with the Woman and Child Protection Unit (WCPU) of Thimphu police show that the city is a safe place for women compared to other countries as crime against woman in Bhutan is not so serious.
However, this little acknowledgement from the keepers of law also disturbingly hints that crime against women is very much a reality.
Though the figures compiled with the police might not be alarming but people, especially women feel that Thimphu is not as safe as it used to be at one time.
Unlike the series of rape cases in Thimphu in 2011 which troubled the highest authorities, the incidents that did come to pass thereafter were not alarmingly serious though they remain undesirable.
The offences committed against women were domestic violence, sexual harassment, battery, and eve teasing.
Another heinous crime against women was the mysterious murder case of the mother and the daughter who were killed brutally in their house in Gumaoney, Samtse on 4 August. The case still remains unsolved till date despite the suspects being identified.
In the series of rape cases, two men were involved in gang rape, criminal attempt to rape, and rape of a married woman.
Domestic violence is one of the major crimes committed against women besides battery according to the officer-in-charge (OC) of the Woman and Child Protection Unit (WCPU) of Thimphu police.
As of 20 December, a total of 175 cases of domestic violence cases have been recorded with the WCPU. The police compiled 316 cases of domestic violence in 2009, 310 cases in 2010, and 244 cases in 201.
The WCPU has however not recorded any case on eve teasing while so far as of 20 December, a total of 30 cases of harassment against women were compiled.
“The figures might be high but most of such cases get compromised since most women find it a hassle to go through all the legal formalities,” the WCPU OC said.
Explaining the harassment, the WCPU OC said it means people harass women through the phones.
As of now no cases of eve teasing were reported to the unit as many women consider it as a minor case and just ignore it.
The OC said that at times woman contribute to the crime and welcome crime against themselves.
Narrating an incident, the officer said on one of the weekend nights, after leaving a party, a woman was so drunk and could barely stand on her own feet and was standing alone just near the Police station.
As the officer walked toward the woman, three men who intended to approach her walked away as soon as they saw the officer.
“Then I did not say anything. The woman started walking toward the Hongkong market road and thinking that the woman might get into problem, I sent one of my junior officer and a constable along to follow her and reach her safely to her house. Upon asking the address, she was unable to give her address and was asking the officer to take her to his place,” the OC said.
“Every night, after late night parties we encounter such cases. Men will take advantage and later the women come to us complaining she has been raped, robbed battered or molested,” the OC added.
Chencho Dema / Thimphu