The Real War on Women...in India

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The brutal gang-rape of a 23-year old student in Delhi and her subsequent death has triggered intense, unrelenting outrage across India. For weeks now, thousands of Indians have poured into the streets every day to demand her assailants be put to death.

Pre-trial proceedings have begun for five of the six accused— with the sixth man believed to be awaiting trial under the Juvenile Justice Act because of his status as a minor. The other five have been charged with abduction, rape, and murder among other crimes.

The media has begun calling the 23-year-old victim, whose identity remains concealed, a number of different names including Nirbhaya (fearless in Hindi), Damini (lightning) and Jagruti (awakening). Indeed, the horrific violence she has endured appears to have woken India from its willful neglect of the rights of its female population.

Sexual violence is pervasive in India. According to National Crime Records Bureau statistics, 24,206 rapes were recorded in 2011, equivalent to one rape every 28 minutes.

These figures barely scratch the surface of the problem, however, given that most cases of sexual violence go unreported because victims choose to remain silent for a host of different reasons, including the social stigma attached to rape victims. Questions are often raised about the character of the victim, such as why she was out late at night or what she wore or did to provoke the assault. Even in the case of Nirbhaya, controversial “spiritual” guru Asaram Bapu made headlines when he blamed her for the rape because she failed to call her assailants “brother” while they raped her.

"She should have taken God's name and held their hands and feet… then the misconduct wouldn't have happened," Bapu told an audience of supporters. "Mistake is never from one side alone."

Many times the assailant is a relative or close acquaintance of the victim and rape survivors are often pressured to just “shut up and forget about it,” a Bangalore-based rape survivor told The Diplomat. In her case, it had been an uncle who had raped her for years.

Rape victims are also deterred from reporting the crime because Indian policemen are notoriously awful at handling cases of sexual assault. It is not uncommon for police officers to flatly refuse to file a victim’s complaint, especially if the person(s) accused are of a dominant caste or have political connections. Besides, many women do not feel safe going to an all-male police station.

Comments
17
MW
March 15, 2013 at 13:25

violence against men is usually perpetrated by other men, not women. violence against women is also usually prepetrated by men, not women. in the case of violence against men it is done by people of the same gender. in the case of violence against women it is done by the other gender, who is physically stronger. there's the difference.

patriot
March 10, 2013 at 16:34

Indian Army doing this !!!!  get your facts right Mr. 
see the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoXEDqVaE0s

March 2, 2013 at 07:57

[...] to lift the reserve of women. The comment is meant to commemorate a murder of a immature woman, the plant of a squad rape in Delhi final [...]

[...] Pakistan’s Battle for Democracy Pakistan’s Next Generation of Political Leaders The Real War on Women…in India [...]

omair
February 2, 2013 at 02:25

I wanna ask you one thing. You indian people are much worried about the rape of only one women. But I am much worried about the rape of thousands of women in kashmir by indian army. Is there any protester for those women. No, because they are muslim. And disrespect the women players of Pakistan crekit team. Is that your love with women?

[...] women is the one that disappoints me the most. With three years to meet the goal and this: http://thediplomat.com/2013/01/09/indias-women-problems-its-not-just-about-rape/ still needing to be pointed out, never mind this: [...]

Moira G Gallaga
January 15, 2013 at 14:31

The article hits the nail on the head. Rape is just an offshoot of much larger issues that need to be addressed. The debate on what punishment should meted to the rapists is much easier to resolve than the underlying issues and problems in Indian culture and society that led to this most tragic incident. Misogyny and culturally ingrained gender bias is the root of the problems facing not only India's women but other women in other parts of the world as well. Here at home, while achievements have been made in the area of gender equality and sensitivity, there's still work to be done. The recent debates on the RH Bill show that elements of culturally ingrained gender bias and misogyny continue to exist in our society.

M. Troy
January 13, 2013 at 21:24

I don't see why violence against 1 woman is always labeled as "violence against all women". If a man gets raped, brutally beaten up or murdered nobody calls it "violence against men". There is statistically a far greater chance for a man to be a victim of violence as when you are a woman (and this is a fact, not an emotional opinion).
Why is there never a protest for "violence against humans" instead (I'm not even asking for a protest for "violence against men" because nobody cares). Are only women valuable to people? I am a man and I have never harmed a human being in my life. Yet, somehow, when an evil woman gets killed people care more for her as for me. What's going on here?

Small Town Roots
January 13, 2013 at 08:58

What happened in Steubenville in August was no less a horrendous crime against women than the one in New Delhi.

Ken.T.
January 12, 2013 at 21:16

To change the citizens attitude will take 2 generations of education. The Government needs to institute a programme of education through out the school system covering all levels of schooling and grades. Then there must be an education system to change the attitudes of adults through advertising on T.V., Radio and news papers. It must be on going. It will take atleast two generations for the effects to start to come through.

SRC
January 10, 2013 at 06:59

The difference, @Anon, is that hundreds of thousands of young Indians, men and women, are sufficiently outraged to make a stand against the indefensible in their own country. The "moral campaigners" are all internal, and expect nothing from outsiders. They are marching to change things from within, not trying to cover up flaws for the sake of image-building. Just as it should be,
 

SRC
January 10, 2013 at 06:56

@Dave, hope you're one of those marching to protest the rape of the young girl in Ohio. Never get too smug about misogyny.

Vic
January 10, 2013 at 04:40

The horrific crime exposed the weakeness of the Indian legal system in protecting women but it is necessary to understand that products any society are capable of horrific crimes and it is not limited to India.

Anon
January 10, 2013 at 00:26

I wonder where are all the outraged "moral" campaigners on this and other sites that spend all their days vilifying China when there are REAL issues in India? Rape is one, and the caste system, which incidentally was also practised in Tibet, is another openly accepted practice to which the police turns a blind eye. I once came across an incident when a few "untouchables" caste students were chased out of their university despite being top students for this outdated and inhumane classification. Let's not forget Japan, and their Zainichis and Burakumins.

Dave
January 9, 2013 at 22:59

Clearly, the problem of women's rights in India is rooted in the failure of the Indian health care system to subsidize birth control for college students.
/
Seriously– these horrifying stories really put our "problems" into perspective here in the U.S., don't they?

EAM
January 9, 2013 at 08:58

I have been following this story closely. I have also traveled a lot in India (with women friends and family) and agree that there is a problem. However, I do not think the problem is uniquely Indian at all.
 
Some years ago here in Australia, there was a similar case, which in the end became the basis for a film "The Boys".

Italy seems to be undergoing a similar problem with a spike in deaths of women due to domestic violence, with this priest providing his "answer" if you call it that, quite similar to what an Indian priest has said about the Delhi rape case.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/28/piero-corsi-italian-priest-provocative-women-to-blame-domestic-violence_n_2376702.html
 
The flak that our Prime Minister has been copping on account of her gender (even if there are plenty of things she really can be taken to task for) shows that the problem is not confined to any part of the world.
 
In the Indian situation, it is impressive to see the large numbers of men coming out and joining women in protests. Womens’ rights protests have been around for at least five decades mostly in the West but I am not aware of any situation before large numbers of men joining in – and if so, as this US commentator says, India may be leading the way.
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/india-inspiring-others-to-fight-violence-against-women-us-playwright-activist-eve-ensler/articleshow/17928016.cms
 
The response in China has also been interesting – with an unexpected turn.
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/in-china-delhi-gang-rape-spurs-online-debate-then-censorship/article4259878.ece
 
What is also I think accepted by economists increasingly are the economic and national security ramifications of the status of women in a country. Put simply, keeping “half of heaven” out of productive work outside the home and under the thumb puts you at competitive disadvantage to countries than do better – so that this is not simply a human rights issue. There is a bigger picture in all if this.
 
.All the best with moving forward on this, India!

SRC
January 9, 2013 at 07:54

I am so proud of the young people of India who have marched in the hundreds of thousands the last few weeks to protest the misogyny and to call for the government to govern and make India's cities safe for them. Out of such energy comes change. There will be no going back now.

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