Rape in India

There have been some high-profile rapes in India recently and that means we get the rape apologists:

Sharma said the male companion of the murdered 23-year-old was ‘‘wholly responsible’’ for the rape as the unmarried couple should not have been on the streets at night.

‘‘Until today I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady,’’ Sharma said in an interview at a cafe outside the Supreme Court. ‘‘Even an underworld don would not like to touch a girl with respect.’’

A spiritual guru, Asharam, sparked an outcry earlier this week when he said the New Delhi victim was equally responsible and should have ‘‘chanted God’s name and fallen at the feet of the attackers’’ to stop the assault.

Mohan Bhagwat, the head of the pro-Hindu Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh that underpins the country’s main opposition political party, said rapes only occur in Indian cities, not in its villages, because women in cities adopt Western lifestyles.

Sharma said the man and woman should not have been traveling back late in the evening and making their journey on public transport. He also said it was the man’s responsibility to protect the woman and that he had failed in his duty.

The sad thing is this isn’t something that would be all that unusual in the US. Rape is fairly widespread and most rapes do not lead to convictions. There is also the perception that it’s not that big a deal:

In one  case, an Army Reservist says two male colleagues raped her in Iraq and videotaped the attack. She complained to authorities after the men circulated the video to colleagues. Despite being bruised from her shoulders to elbows from being held down, she says, charges weren’t filed because the commander determined she “did not act like a rape victim’’ and “did not struggle enough’’ and authorities said they didn’t want to delay the scheduled return of the alleged attackers to the United States.

Bertzikis, 29, of Somerville, Mass., says she was raped by a Coast Guard shipmate while out on a social hike with him in Burlington, Vt. Bertzikis complained to her commanding officer, but she said authorities did not take substantial steps to investigate the matter. Instead, she said, they forced her to live on the same floor as the man she had accused and tolerated others calling her a liar and whore.


When a course critique revealed that a senior enlisted marine in his company was systematically assaulting “dozens and dozens” of female trainees, Jacob investigated, got more than 80 corroborations of the behavior, and sent the report up along the chain of command. Less than a week later, the offender was sent to Camp Lejune and subsequently deployed for Iraq. When Jacob asked why he hadn’t been prosecuted, Jacob says he was told, “He’s a good soldier. He just can’t handle an integrated training environment.”

There is also the victim blaming (go here and here for more):

The 11-year-old Texas girl was allegedly gang-raped in an abandoned trailer. The suspects — 18 of them — range in age from middle-schoolers to a 27-year-old. The story came to light when a classmate of the girl told a teacher of seeing video of the attack on a cellphone. And if you think somebody can’t make the rape and exploitation of a child about victim blaming, you didn’t read the slanted, ill-conceived piece in Tuesday’s New York Times.

In a feature by James C. McKinley Jr., the paper of record speculates on how the small town of Cleveland, Texas, has been rocked by the story, and the torturous question of “how could their young men have been drawn into such an act.” How, indeed? It’s surely a horrifying scenario when 18 young men are implicated in a crime of violence and degradation. The victim’s affidavit says the assault began when a local 19-year-old offered her a ride in his car, and escalated to a protracted group assault, featuring “threats she would be beaten if she did not comply” and participants recording the abuse on their phones. How could these boys have been “drawn into such an act”? Was it drugs, sociopathy, coercion? Or was that little girl just asking for it?

After all, as the Times helpfully points out, “Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.” Gosh, I wonder if she’s pretty or you know, developed, because that’s relevant too.

If you have followed any rape trial, you know this is typical–the victim is almost always blamed. So the US might want to try to improve itself before mocking other countries–still, it’s always good that we can agree that gang rapes are bad.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Rape in India | Petunias

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