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.

153 comments
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.

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.

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

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


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

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.

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.

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.  

Shaas
Shaas

Thank you for this article. The problem of rape is great and GLOBAL! You are the first who looks at it with somewhat objective lenses. The Americans and westerners easily forget the rape statistics of their own country: In the USA, statistically every 3 min. a woman raped, and every 15 sec a woman beaten. Every country has to clean its house first before it  can throw accusations and derogatory remarks.

SridharReddy
SridharReddy

Walmart's owners Walton family is the richest with wealth of 150 billion dollars and their employees are the poorest.  Mukesh ambani and brothers are richest with family wealth of 70 billion dollars, Tata family wealthiest and their employees are the poorest. Coincidence. Countries tax department is not able to help it.

SridharReddy
SridharReddy

Modi is comming to over cum a whole lot of blunders done by one family of indira-congress party in the past 4 decades.

zann
zann

"This may not be a typical example ... " (the Steubenville rape case)   No it isn't. What it is, is typical bad Times journalism, where provocative hooks trump telling the truth.

Interesting article until then.

4truth
4truth

India s chief of federal police just said: "If women can not avoid a rape they should enjoy it" -

this tells the world much more about the situation than this poor article that has analytical weaks.

DaveDasi
DaveDasi

Lingam and Yoni are the male and female sexual organs respectively. Hindus areallowed to worship anything - including sexual organs. It is not unknown for them to name their children Shiva Lingam (God Shiva's sexual organ) or Rama Lingam (God Rama's sexual organ). In some place in Karnataka, the gods demand both males and demales ro pray naked together.

Alixa Baloch
Alixa Baloch

I agree with every word in the article. Being an Indian girl, I am ashamed of the rising number of rapes happening in our country but I am also proud of the young generation who is protesting really hard against it and are coming out in huge numbers. Of course a lot has to be done not only in India but all over the world and Im happy that India is making a difference by protesting against this terrible crime...

tmophiring
tmophiring

What about dealing with rape instead of trying to minimise its prevalence.

The problem in India is bad, like it is in many countries and it is excellent that there is now greater awareness.

Also if you really believe the media is reporting everything, that is delusional thinking.

JuanGonbsales
JuanGonbsales


An Indian man has been arrested for raping an injured cow using coconut oil as lubricant, IBTimes UK understands.

Muthu, aged between 50 and 55, was seen raping the animal, which was lying injured on a railway track in southern India. The incident took place in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Speaking to IBTimes UK, local police officer Jayavelu confirmed Muthu, who goes by only one name, has been arrested under unnatural sexual offence act.

Muthu has confessed to the crime and is in police custody.

The ghastly rape was seen by representatives of Blue Cross of India (BCI), an NGO working for animal welfare.

The four-year old cow met with an accident and was lying unconscious alongside a railway track. Officials at the NGO received a complaint about the injured mammal and approached the scene.

The BCI volunteers were initially confused when they saw Muthu alongside the cow.

Dawn Williams of the BCI told IBTimes UK: "We were initially unsure of what the man was doing to the cow. When we went further and took a closer look, we realised this man was inserting his penis into cow's vagina. There was a bottle of coconut oil kept beside him, which he used as a lubricant."

Williams said the offender attempted to flee the scene and was apprehended by the volunteers. Later, Muthu is said to have asked to be pardoned for the act.

The cow was sent to medical examination and the veterinary hospital has confirmed the animal was raped. The animal has died in the hospital due to injuries caused in the accident.

Cow is generally considered as holy in India and is worshipped in several parts of the country. The incident is likely to shock many.

To report problems or to leave feedback about this article, e-mail: v.sridharan@ibtimes.com
To contact the editor, e-mail: editor@ibtimes.co.uk

Mauryan
Mauryan

Rape is not justified, no matter how much of statistics is provided to create the feel good effect. I'd like to see much harsher punishment for rapists than mere jail terms. The punishment needs to send a message to those who think that they can get away with it. 

Okey Chen
Okey Chen

Viagra going out business in India, they do not need viagra. Some of them are supermen in action.

besenthil
besenthil

Such a crappy article...I was expecting the author to provide atleast one valid argument...

NandaKishoreN
NandaKishoreN

What did the author achieve by writing this rather s t u p i d article is not known but this seems to be a cruel joke and a good reason for the rest of the world to laugh at the society.  Think properly, borrow an intelligent brain if required before writing something like this.

The headings like "media reports everything" and "more rapes are being reported now" are so misleading the entire debate.  That's why words are precious, handle them with care and caution.  Communication is NOT the piece of everybody's cake.

ErKedarPaul
ErKedarPaul

24.2% conviction rate is very low even for India and as an Indian I feel ashamed.

inform.srijith
inform.srijith

Excellent article. Article lambastes the Western propaganda that India is a worst state when it comes to Women security. I would like to share a small statistics which may help to expose the double standards.

 1.8 incidents of reported rape in India per 100,000 people in 2010 compared to 27.3 in the U.S. <http://www.unodc.org/unodc/data-and-analysis/statistics/crime.html> That itself shows, that the extent of crime against women is much exaggerated when it when we talk about India, while the claim of US as a safer place is falsified. 

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...

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

Savitri
Savitri

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

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.

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.

projectrevo
projectrevo

@4truth  Um he didn't say that idiot. Obviously you chose to take it out of context. What he said "'Do we have the enforcement?' Sinha said after being asked if sports betting, which is banned in India but widespread, should be legalised. 'It is very easy to say that if you can't enforce it, it's like saying if you can't prevent rape, you [should] enjoy it.'". Do you not know how to read? He was trying to say that just because something occurs frequently and is hard to ban does NOT mean it should be legalized.

Sec
Sec

@tmophiring If you think the media reports the truth you are also delusional.

ooty001
ooty001

i know people in the west do much more crazy things.For you to point out one weirdest thing ever to have occured to reflect a whole nation shows how aggressive you are to still beat third world down. BTW  UK media is known  to misinterpret, exaggerate and in several cases  report events that never even happened. 

neel.pushpam
neel.pushpam

@NandaKishoreN "Communication is NOT the piece of everybody's cake."

Certainly, not yours, NandaKishoreN, when you trashed the article "s t u p i d", and "Think properly". Your way of thinking is not the one "proper way of thinking". N. Bhowmick's article assesses the overall rape scenario in India vis-a-vis others, with reasoneable & strong arguments.

Where I am based, in Middle-east, the problem is as much and possibly more prevalent, but under-reported, because the attitudes in some of these cultures are such. On this reason, I agree with this author.

hari29
hari29

24.2% conviction rate is very high when most of the rape cases in India are reported by spurned lovers who slept with their bfs before marriage and cried rape when the bfs refused to marry.

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.

NandaKishoreN
NandaKishoreN

@neel.pushpam Oh yeah?  

I agree on one thing that similar atrocities on women are under-reported in other countries.  On this reason, I agree with YOU.  But that was my very point.  

The same should be communicated in a way that it shouldn't sound that any author putting forth such facts shouldn't sound as if supporting or defending the crime in a given society.

That's precisely how this article sounded.  That's what made me write what I meant "Communiation is NOT everybody's piece of cake".  When we choose to pen an idea it should be carefully worded in a way that people don't take an altogether different meaning from it.

Before attacking me, I implore U to kindly read the kind of arguments the sub-headings 1 and 3, what I quoted above, have been used to defame the Indian Culture, Religion and Society.

At least a better use of words should be expected from the so-called TIME journalist.  The TIME-WORLD management might NOT care about how the words might get implied but the writer should have cared.

As Indian readers we do care, I do care.

westwoodwizard
westwoodwizard

@MadhukarMurthi @inform.srijith Nonsense...your rationale is nonsense. Either you accept statistics by the very same organizations when they make India look worse than the United States and when they make India look better than the United States rather than cherry pick. And what do you mean by the statistics show that rape is under-reported in India? How do you know since under-reporting means that you cannot possibly know something happened unless it was reported. Now let us go with the reality that crimes do occur and are not reported in India. Guess what fool...crimes such as rape are also under-reported in the United States and you are foolish if you believe otherwise. Under-reporting of rapes even if you could account for an accurate number will not make up for the wide gap that exists between the United States and India in terms of rape incidents. It is just more white Christian nonsense to attack a country and think itself culturally superior to India with its brown Hindu majority whom white Christian fanatics hate (many who ironically  call themselves liberal.)

RahulSenna
RahulSenna

@MadhukarMurthi @inform.srijith Go to any university in US 25% of girls been raped never reported .... Jimmy Savile remember literally thousand victims never reported when he did it.... Madonna and Pamela Anderson were gang raped never reported ...