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.

135 comments
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. 

GBrar
GBrar

This article is a disservice to victims everywhere. There is no need for any country to 'win' in this situation. There are millions of women alive today who have been raped worldwide. That aside, this article is extremely misleading. Reporting of rapes in India is not common, conviction rates are not high (but they also exclude the large percentage of rapes that the Indian police don't report),  and not every horrific rape hits the front page. You need only to speak to a few Dalit women to be assured that this is the case. Perhaps you could use your writing talent to advocate for solutions rather than reporting misleading facts that minimize a worldwide scourge. You are either completely insensitive or simply oblivious, but this article is insulting. Your last point is the only one with even an iota of truth. Shame on TIME for publishing this.

Roberto Leão
Roberto Leão

Rape is an extremely sad evet that has hit man´s history all along. But it should have seen its end already - enough is eough!

Evee Vann
Evee Vann

Ok, I did. It tried to tell me India doesn't have as bad of a problem as we are told here in the US. I disagree.

Lindance
Lindance

Rape is atrocious everywhere. No one should ever downplay the horrendous nature of rape anywhere.

pendragon05
pendragon05

They clearly do not know how to have real relationships in that country.

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.

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.

inform.srijith
inform.srijith

@Evee Vann However statistics show a different picture. India has 4 times the population of US. Hence absolute figures won't give the real situation. Also, Indian media does and excellent work than US media (though for viewer ship ratings), which have created awareness among all sections of people. 

GBrar
GBrar

@pendragon05 Your comment is as ridiculously simplistic as the author of this article. If you are five years old, then I understand, otherwise I would hope that you would understand that this type of comment is absurd.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@Shilpa Patil Why it is bs, women are treated as second class citizens in India that is why so many move here to the states. Cows are treated with more respect then women in India.

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.

tmophiring
tmophiring

@inform.srijith stop minimising it. Rape is bad in India, Rape is bad In South Africa and yes the UeSA has a big problem too and should not hide behind India is worse dogma,

Rape is atrociuous anywhere and only ones who can point fingers are those who have eliminated the scourge

NandaKishoreN
NandaKishoreN

@Openminded1 Read Ur comment once again and see how absurd it is.  "... that is why so many (women) move here to states".  How many women or for that matter Indians move to US and how many are still living in India? 

srnvsksrj
srnvsksrj

@Openminded1 

Read about Ariel Castro lately? Stop being naive to assume that things go perfectly in US. 

inform.srijith
inform.srijith

@tmophiring  Sir, I never intended to nullify the rising threat to women and children in India, or in any part of the world. However, on the wake of #DelhiGangRape that happened last December, Indians are more vigilant and aware of the situation. Media have started giving more importance even to cases of molestation, and this has led to higher conviction rates in crimes against women.

Crimes against women are common all across the world, despite how civilized each society/creed/religion is. It's absurd to call India as Rape Capital, and celebrating it, just because more rape cases are reported here. In most part of the world, women are tortured in and our of their homes, and are never known to the outside world. I don't want to picturize any other country is worse than India in case of Crimes against women. However, I have seen many of the international media, especially from the Western nations constantly mudslinging at India in the name of women security. That is extremely unfortunate and condemned, as the real picture of India is much different from what you learn from the overseas media.

In a way, the foreign nations have to be optimistic about  the recent protests demanding more protection for women that rattled all across India. Such massive protests for women have never happened anywhere in the world.

cc @NandaKishoreN 

NandaKishoreN
NandaKishoreN

@tmophiring Rape is heinous anywhere.  But what @inform.srijith is trying to say is that taking merely the number of rapes into consideration, certain groups particularly hostile to India are trying to black-list the country.  But the fact remains that every number in India is merely large.  The number of Internet users, the number of mobile users, and so on every good and bad number is the largest in India.

Even I criticized the author Ms.Nilanjana Bhowmick for the way the issue was raised but the fact remains that one must realize that be it rape or be it any other crime are huge in numbers in India compared to any other country merely because of the populaton.

The way the international media and, as I said, certain groups and people particularly hostile to India are trying to paint it, these are not the sole problems of India.

Having said that, it's incontrovertible that a heinous crime is bad and has got to exceptions in any part of the world.

hari29
hari29

LOL....I am an Indian by birth and moved to USA 15 years ago and have been living here ever since. I also know hundreds of Indians living in USA. I can say for sure that none of us moved here for better civil rights. We moved here money and education. Openminded1: You are as closeminded1 and idiotic as I have ever see. You must be a white trash from deep Texas?

NandaKishoreN
NandaKishoreN

@Openminded1 NRIs migrate to US or UK in search of a better livelyhood, jobs and money is incontrovertible.  But nobody goes to an other country for civil-rights.

A foreign land can hardly provide social security to anybody.

If it was the question of safety and security then why is that so many Indians are attacked and killed by foreigners in foreign lands?  Why do we get the reports of so many Indians personally attacked and killed in countries like USA, UK and Australia?

Ur argument that Indians go to US or UK for social security or civil rights is absolutely and incontrovertibly absurd, and no rational individual in their right mind is going to accept it.

If U want to argue that people will have more civil-rights in a foreign land, then USA, India and Australia shouldn't have fought for Independence from British. 

Openminded1
Openminded1

@NandaKishoreN Its not absurd, it was a statement of fact, that there is an overwhelming amount of people  from India in the United States and the UK. There is no doubt more in India moron, but they leave there for much greener pastures for a reason one is Money, and civil rights for women and respect, they do not get in their homeland. Yet they have the audacity to be pompous when they come here.

AtulNiwas
AtulNiwas

@Openminded1 so u r 63 year old and also a police veteran and u think that cows are treated with more respect then women in india? wow.. so did u read it in some book or simply assumed it because indians tend to show extrarespect towards cows when they are abroad as a means to be in touch with religion..then again only 80% of indians are hindus who respect them other 20% don't ,in fact they even eat beef. but with all that 30 years of police job u don't know about these simple facts..wow

p.s.  i agree that women are treated as second rate citizens, and there are actually a lot of rapes happening here..best wishes sir

NandaKishoreN
NandaKishoreN

@Openminded1 Having accepted all Ur experiences with Indians, how many Indian men and women U might have encountered in Ur life?  Is it at least a million?  There are more than 1.2 billion people in India itself leaving all the Non-Resident Indians dwelling in foreign countries. 

 And I've often observed in comments across various websites that the more an NRI has lived in a foreign country, the more outdated his views and opinions tend to become.

Please don't stereotype Indians.  It'll be as equally wrong as saying that all Americans are racists.

besides, India is highly a diverse society, with people of different classes, educational backgrounds, sub-cultural backgrounds, mindsets.  NOT all people U might have met could be well-educated.  And in fact just having a University Degree doesn't mean that that person is cultured, well-behaved and well-mannered.

@srnvsksrj

Openminded1
Openminded1

@srnvsksrj @Openminded1 Naive, no way I am a 30 year police veteran from a major city now retired and 63 years old. There is nothing naive about me . I am a realist who says it like it is. I will forget more then you know in a life time after 30 years on the streets.  I dealt with many peopel from India and the men here were male chauvinist