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5 things you need to know about the Uber rape case

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The case of the Uber cab rape has shaken up the whole country and has put a big question mark on cab safety. Uber, which apparently stood for safety and convenience is now being called ‘easy to hail but not safe.’ The accused has now been arrested but it’s once again opened the debate – are our cities unsafe for women? If you are just logging on to the case, here are five things you need to know:

 

1. The accused was a serial offender

The accused was previously arrested and tried for rape as recently as 2011, according to one report. It appears no efforts were made by the cab company to do a background check on the driver even though he had been working for Uber for over six months. The accused has now been arrested and has confessed to the crime.

 

2. The victim was threatened with murder
According to the victim, she dozed off in the cab and woke up with the driver sitting next to her. He told her that if she tried to scream or inform the police, he would stab her with an iron rod. He also sent a missed call from her phone and told her he had all her details. All of this, however, did not scare the victim, who called up the police as soon as she got off the cab (Kudos to her!).

 

3. The cab company overlooked safety measures

Uber failed in keeping up with safety check and did not do a thorough background check of the driver. The cab driver, as it was discovered, did not possess a commercial badge needed for driving taxis.  In addition to this, the vehicle in which the woman was raped was being used by three drivers and the company did not know which of the three drivers was using it at any given point. The company apparently only used a GPS tracker installed in the phone to track the vehicle and didn’t care for which driver was using it. The driver had switched off the phone before committing the crime.

 

4. This is not the first criminal case involving Uber

Earlier this year, a woman in Los Angeles woke up in a motel with her driver, who had reportedly taken advantage of her in a drunken state. Another woman from Chicago filed a complaint against the company because her driver attempted sexual assault. There have been several other cases in the US and the app has even been banned in Germany for lacking commercial licenses. The victim was travelling by a registered and licensed cab company in the capital. No one expected this from Uber. Delhi is not new to rape and security in the city seems at a loss of dealing with rape cases or even preventing them. The latest incident comes amid increasing concern at sexual violence against women in India.

 

5. Uber is a $50 billion company, where are the checks? 

Uber is an international company and despite various complaints, no efforts have been taken to ensure the safety of its passengers. The CEO of the company said that the requirement for background checks is absent in India’s commercial transportation licensing programs. This again throws light on the inefficiency of the Indian government to protect its women.

 

The cab service has now been banned in Delhi. This should serve as a warning to all other cab companies and motivate them to  pay serious attention to employee vetting. For consumers, it’s a good reminder not to get carried away by the promise of ‘safest rides in the city’ a tagline that Uber often referred to.

 

Compiled by Shubhangini Arora