Why Rape Seems Worse in India Than Everywhere Else (but Actually Isn’t)

Yes, the gang rapes have been shocking — but India's reputation as rape capital is undeserved

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Ajay Aggarwal / Hindustan Times / Getty Images

Women shout slogans outside the District court in Saket as they call for the death penalty of the four men convicted of rape and murder on September 13, 2013 in New Delhi, India

Since the gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in New Delhi last year, India has become the world’s rape capital. An American website recently satirized the problem by joking about an upcoming rape festival in the country. You can call it a reflection of the way the world thinks of India or you can call it bad taste (depending on which part of the world you are in) — but you know the image of India as rape hell has stuck when most readers of the article failed to realize that it was satire. Rape is a serious problem all over the world. So why does it seem so much worse in India?

1. More rapes are being reported now: Along with the modernization of society, more Indian women are being educated and are going out to work. They are breaking out of the subservient mold that society had given to them and are more independent. While this means they are more likely to be sexually abused, it also means they are more likely — compared with women of a previous generation — to report rapes and confront sexual predators. In the three months after the Delhi gang rape, the number of rapes reported in the city more than doubled to 359, from the 143 reported in January-March of 2012. This doesn’t necessarily mean more rapes are happening now, just that more women are emboldened to come out and report.

2. India actually has a high conviction rate for rape: According to the Guardian, just 7% of reported rapes in the U.K. resulted in convictions during 2011-12. In Sweden, the conviction rate is as low as 10%. France had a conviction rate of 25% in 2006. Poor India, a developing nation with countless challenges, managed an impressive 24.2% conviction rate in 2012. That’s thanks to the efforts of a lot of good people — police, lawyers, victims and their families — working heroically with limited resources.

3. The media report everything: According to Dave Prager, the American author of Delirious Delhi, crimes that “wouldn’t garner even a sentence in an American paper because so many bigger crimes would elbow it out of the way” are obsessively reported in Indian news publications. Post the Delhi gang rape, Indian media have faithfully recorded each and every rape case, highlighted them for the world and continue to do so.

4. Most Indians, men and women, hate the reputation that rapists have given their country: No country in the world can claim to have witnessed protests against rape on the scale of India’s, where people turned out in the tens of thousands to voice their shock and sadness. It was people power that forced the government to change existing rape laws and drew the world’s attention to the problem. What happens in other countries? This may not be a typical example, but the rape of a teen girl by high school football players in the Steubenville, Ohio had many in the town sympathizing with the rapists and not the victim.

181 comments
KabirBedi
KabirBedi

O my God these obsessed Indians would do anything even lie just to portray that Indian is safe while the world and its own women call it the rape capital of the world. Child rape, old woman rape, beastality rape you name it India has. It is so pathetic to see burbor290 posing as a Pakistani who actually is an Indian just to cover up for the A** kicking the Indians have received on this blog same as the A** kicking they received in 1999 kargil war where the Indian pm ran off to clinton to ask for help. as Clinton mentions in his address to the Indian parliament. India should get up & smell the reality and should take measures to protect its women rather then whining on an excellent anti Indian article written by an Indian who is trying pose a positive image on india. If serious measures are not taken to protect killing & rape of Indian women in India, Bharat Marta / mother India will be the only woman left in the country.

Nav.kr.ee
Nav.kr.ee

Every Body is requested to mail in Detail to BBC with statistic on the email ID Provided in their CONTACT US. and please share here also. so that everyone can do if its an editor in chief or higher authorized person.

Avdhut
Avdhut

What drives men to rape is the same the world over. India is at an advantage in that it has a population that is willing to stand against the crime, no matter how small the prevalence of the crime. It's good that the media are highlighting the issue, but they need to similarly denounce trends that exacerbate the issue, such as the promotion of Osho's philosophy that human beings can do whatsoever they like when it comes to the pursuit of self-fulfilment.

GouthamBabu
GouthamBabu

All these articles by the international media on rape focus on India almost exclusively to the detriment of the perception of rape situation in other countries. This has stirred up racist behavior against Indians. I see German professors turning down Indian applicants for academic programs mainly for the reason of "rape culture in India". I see people in various comments page behaving in a racist manner, saying that buying from Indian businesses is tantamount to condoning rape. I am deeply offended by this racist and hypocritical behavior. Rapists are bad people and their nationality does not matter. If you really want to look at nationality, India has much lesser rapists than the USA while having four times the population. The punishment is quite serious for rape and the Indian media (both regional and national) is very vigilant and makes an outcry online and on newspaper every time a rape gets reported. This results in quite a lot of Indian rape incidents posted on national media and attracting unwanted international attention. It is not that India has more rape incidents , it is that there is a greater outcry at such things in India than in the other countries.

Rape culture is also present in the USA (prevalent in towns like Steubenville where the townsfolk actually sided with rapists), UK (remember Rotherham) and Sweden. The CDC in the USA actually has conducted detailed surveys on rape and showed that nearly one in 5 women in the USA has been raped. I am in no way diminishing the extent of rape in India. Rape is a global problem and Indians have actually fought against it more than our US and European brethren. I just hope Indian males are not generalized as rapists just because they raised so much outcry against rape. Ironic, isn't it?

MiniSrivastava
MiniSrivastava

I would like to suggest that this movie should actually become a compulsory viewing as a part of course curriculum in all schools in India for various reasons: 1) It shows the impact of such crimes on victims's family and friends; 2) It shows impact on accused's families and dependants' 3) It shows the misconceived perceptions of male superiority over women which such huge proportion of people believe... this is not only the mindset of uneducated men but also highly educated men like the defence counsels...this notion definitely needs to be attacked and changed... The Modi government needs to make sense and see things in larger perspective and avoid this ostrich kind of approach... Good sense must prevail

TrueIndian
TrueIndian

@MiniSrivastava Another troll.. its not educated defence.. even the educated people have this notion..films or documentaries like this willn't change.. only the conviction rate help them under check.. we are wasting our resources on these.. everyone is aware that's mistake.. but people still do it because there is no fear..

Ria
Ria

As a girl I know how unsafe I feel today due to all these cases of violence against women. The attitude of society towards women must change. It is the collective responsibility of everyone to ensure that a woman can live in a safe and secure environment. A lot needs to be done in this regard to ensure the safety and security of women.

However, I have come across a great mobile application that is a great tool to help during an emergency. This app is called ICE Emergency app. I sincerely wish none of us ever have to use this app but it is better to be safe than sorry. It is a question of our life.

Here are some of the features of this app:

1) Quick way to ask for help using Call or Share your location by SMS.

2) Easy to find and Get direction to your nearest Police Station or Hospital.

3) Learn techniques/tips to be prepared to handle emergency situation before anything unexpected happens.

4) Emergency sounds that can help you in a crisis.

This app can be easily downloaded from Google play. Below is the link for that.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ice.EmergencyHelp.gen

BaliMali
BaliMali

Yet another article whitewashing and dismissing the facts and threat. The fact that Sweden and Britain has the same problem with gang rapes all done by certain people of a very specific religion that has the leeway and blessing to rape, rob and murder as they please.

ZameerAhmed
ZameerAhmed

India is a rapist country of the world. Foreigner dont go there. pakistan is far better place to go than India. India is full of dirty work.

TrueIndian
TrueIndian

@ZameerAhmed Atleast we have no protection for few women..looks like Pakistan is having much bigger problem.. exploding crackers all over the place.. so please try to solve that problem Zameer before ranting on another..

redpillranter
redpillranter

@ZameerAhmed  get lost porki.you filthy scums flog your women and are into bestiality.it's just jealousy.a failed state like pakistan can't be compared to india

burbor290
burbor290

As a Pakistani, I love dissing Indians just as much as anyone (still mad about the 1999 Kargil War) but I think this rape incident is WAYYY OVERBLOWN. I’m gonna side with Indians here, specially guys. India has 1.2 BILLION people. America has 300 million. India had 24,000 rapes in 2011. Same year here in America with LESS people, 83,000 RAPES!! Pick any third-world country and compare its rape stats to Flint or Detroit, or Oakland or Bridgeport. Just because it’s not on CNN or FOX doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. When I was in 16, we visited a women’s shelter and I met a woman there who’s FACE WAS BURNT OFF. Her husband tied her up, raped her and lit her on fire! You can NOT make this up. Less than 50 miles where you live this kind of stuff happens. Of course, the punishment in India is a joke compared to America, and even ONE woman raped is one person too many, but put everything in perspective and you’ll find the world not as black and white. And to all the girls who are like “Brown guys are rapists.” Get over yourself! We’re one of the most romantic people on the face on this earth. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you. We have the best romantic movies, the best songs, any white girl that’s dated a brown guy will tell you the things he says to her makes her knees weak. She’ll be talking to her friends and out of nowhere just fall on the floor thinking about how sweet he was the night before. So if you don’t like brown guys, step back because there’s dozens of girls that do. We’re awesome. The worst that ever happens with a brown guy is sometimes we’re awkward and corny, but nothing to lose sleep over. And just a side-note, everyone says Puerto Rican guys are the most romantic, even if you agree we’re still second. And that’s the WORD.

KabirBedi
KabirBedi

O my God these obsessed Indians would do anything even lie just to portray that Indian is safe while the world and its own women call it the rape capital of the world. Child rape, old woman rape, beastality rape you name it India has. It is so pathetic to see burbor290 posing as a Pakistani who actually is an Indian just to cover up for the A** kicking the Indians have received on this blog same as the A** kicking they received in 1999 kargil war where the Indian pm ran off to clinton to ask for help. as Clinton mentions in his address to the Indian parliament. India should get up & smell the reality and should take measures to protect its women rather then whining on an excellent anti Indian article or Bharat Marta / mother India will be the only woman left in the country.

Sarahcopeland
Sarahcopeland

Indian is the capital of rape and it's getting worse. I feel extremely sadden by the thought of young children getting raped everyday. Disgusting

TrueIndian
TrueIndian

@Sarahcopeland I would like to see a developed world where people stop stereotyping.. Man with beard called Muslims in place of Sikhs/Sadus.. and its getting far worse.. 

AnanyaHind
AnanyaHind

@Sarahcopeland You are truly ignorant. Go feel sad for the victims of child sex abuse perpetrated by so called Fathers in your churches.  BTW, "Indian" is not a country.  India is the name of the country and citizens of India are called Indians. 

NehaMehra
NehaMehra

India is a beautiful country but the mentality of the Indian men is not at all good.I visit India a lot of times because i love it but the mentality of Indian men is not at all good. Period. The second they saw a girl crossing the streets or buying something in the market they start eve teasing which is annoying.My friends including my cousins have experienced that a lot in Delhi and till today it hasn't changed.Some thing needs to be changed.I came across this video http://viralexpose.com/going-viral/the-most-relatable-video-describing-what-a-girl-goes-through-in-india/ as it describes perfectly what a girl goes through in India.I hope things change for good.Some men are really good while some are no less than devils and because of those devils the name of this beautiful country is getting ruined


patelharsh1
patelharsh1

@NehaMehra Yes,in India lot of eve teasing happens and it makes women feel annoyed, but fact remains that a girl has more chance of getting raped in US or UK or many other developed nations than India. #simple statistics..

AnanyaHind
AnanyaHind

@NehaMehra Mentality of "the Indian men" is not at all good. I think you should correct that to read "SOME Indian men" otherwise I  presume that the mentality of your father, grandpa, brothers and male family members are not at all good and they indulge in teasing girls crossing the street.  

Savitri
Savitri

What about the rapes in Jammu and Kashmir by Mujadeen. Too bad that will never get international attention.


"Hindu civilians have been subjected to rape and murder perpetrated by members of terrorist organisations like the JKLF and the Hezb-ul Mujahidin and about a hundred such groups.[5] These abuses have forced over three hundred thousand Hindus to leave the Kashmir valley, suffering internal displacement to refugee camps in Jammu and New Delhi."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_in_Jammu_and_Kashmir

tahir.zahhid
tahir.zahhid

@Savitrithis the first few lines of link u shared ...

There have been allegations of rape and mass rape in Jammu and Kashmir being carried out by both paramilitary groups and Indian regular armed forces.[1] The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front have been accused of ethnic cleansing by using murder, arson and rape as a weapon of war to drive out hundreds of thousands of Pandits from the region.[2][3]

there are rapes in jammu and kashmir but not by mujahideen.. but by ur so called army.. shame on people like u.. n plz check ur link u shared

British67
British67

@Savitri Bhan Chaud and the amount of rapes by ignorant Hindus against Muslims and your own Kind ?

tahir.zahhid
tahir.zahhid

@Savitri there is no rape done by mujahideen.. but yes i think some hindus were killed on charges of spying for army.. that is all .. and there was not ethenic cleansing of hindus in kashmir.. they were vacated by then governer  jagmohan singh...if u don't know history then u should stay away from propaganda... learn to write what is 100% correct...

peter.aremone
peter.aremone

@tahir.zahhid @Savitri Most rapes in India are by Muslims. In Jammu & Kashmir too it is mostly Muslims. Remember the ethnica cleansing of half a million Hindus from Kashmir by ALL the Muslims there in 1989? - even Muslim under 18 minors participated raping Non-Muslims.

bluechepay33
bluechepay33

I am also a rape victim of indian guy name Mohammed Basheer Ahmed (29 yrs olds Electrical Engineer as on the picture i used here) who was reportedly living at #10 Navodaya Colony, Medhipatnam, Hyderabad Area, India according to his profile in his old Tristar Engineering company in UAE. The incident happen in Dubai on end of October 2011 that resulted to a son. Unfortunately, he was not been punished as he fled right away to Hyderabad after the incident. I try to report the incident to Hyderabad Police but no action had been taken as accident didn't happen in India as well as this guy family belong to Upper Caste in the Town. 


So in short, this guy is happily roaming around Hyderabad, India without getting punished for rape. He even proudly posted his picture in FB nowadays proving to me that he and his family are untouchable in India and rape is an acceptable in their culture.

Savitri
Savitri

@bluechepay33  That is really sad.. So sorry :( Dubai should have extradited him.

mobhushan
mobhushan

Good article, could've been better if statistical comparison of rape instances was made with major cities. There was a big spurt in rape statistics in Delhi in 2013 and yet it recorded roughly a similar or less no. of cases as Chicago records on average. Delhi is a city of 22 million vs. Chicago's 2.7m. Look within before you try to stereotype some other city or country.

JConabicycle
JConabicycle

What a load of CRAP.    TIME has really jumped the shark with this "reporting."   If we had one-tenth the number of REPORTED gang rapes as India,  in similar circumstances, the US or Britain would be on fire.   TIME, this is lousy, cheap and lazy reporting, but you're getting very good at that lately.

Savitri
Savitri

@JConabicycle  You are probably right. Marital rape is not reported by millions of women in India. 


Up to 70% of Indian women experience domestic violence. These same domestic abusers are the ones to rape their wives. Marital rape not a crime there. So I agree the stats may not be wholly accurate.

Koba
Koba

This is so full of sh*t.  The vast majority of rapes go unreported in India.  Women are shamed for speaking out and the police discourage any reporting.  This is a known fact and has been backed up by plenty of documentation if one would take a few seconds to check sources.  Indian propaganda at its' best.  

RahulSenna
RahulSenna

@Koba You are right dude ...and in US each and every case is being reported every american is so aware of this... Just Madonna and Pamela Anderson happen to be so busy with something so they did not report after being gang raped.