Outraged modesty: India stuck in the past on sex crimes

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It's nearly a year since the gang-rape of a 23-year-old student on a Delhi bus brought thousands on to the streets, demanding better protection for women. The law was updated, new police procedures and fast-track courts were introduced – but in some ways India's approach to sex crimes is still stuck in the past.

A year ago, shortly before the notorious rape case in Delhi, another rape took place in a small town outside the city.

A 17-year-old was walking home from her grandmother's house in the afternoon, when suddenly she was surrounded by young men who bundled her into a car and drove her to a secluded spot, where they took turns raping her.

They made a film of the attack on a mobile phone. It clearly showed eight men raping her, she says.

But when her case came to court, only four were convicted.

The young woman is from India's untouchable – or Dalit – caste. The boys were from a higher caste. Consequently, the boys were offered water as the case dragged on in the boiling courtroom, the teenager's mother says, but her daughter wasn't. And this is just one of many ways she objected to the court proceedings.

"The lawyers of the accused said her character must have been flawed, and they questioned what she was doing outside the home."
 

Written By: Joanna Jolly
continue to source article at bbc.co.uk

32 COMMENTS

  1. So she’s ‘untouchable’? except in the case of the gratification of violent sexual urges of sick twisted misogynist perverts when in whose eyes she becomes ‘available’ on the basis of the ‘moral delinquency’ of being outside her house?

    Shame on you Indian men! A terrible shame on you that you are not ‘men enough’ to accord your women the respect and protection they deserve by right.

    • In reply to #2 by Vorlund:

      Shame on you Indian men! A terrible shame on you that you are…

      Indeed it is. I do not think we can justify or reason the atrocities committed in India. We are shameful about the situation.

      But before the self righteous Europeans and Americans brow beat, could we please have a look at the facts and numbers, please!

      Rape at the national level, rate per 100,000 population (2010)

      South Africa 132

      Sweden 93

      United Kingdom 29

      Australia 28

      Belgium 28

      USA 27

      Greece 1.9

      India 1.8

      Canada 1.7

      Let us look at that list for a minute. Ignoring South Africa(132) and India(1.9) (two comparable developing nations with extreme income disparity) for a minute, could someone please explain why the the Swedes, the British, the Americans and the Belgians act like thugs going around raping people, while the Greeks and Canadians don’t? Unless you want to claim somehow rape is over reported in one western nation while not in the other? Somehow Canadian women are either too scared to report than their American counterparts, or that Canadian police is more corrupt that American police to under report rapes, or an average Brit or an American is raging thug compared to the civilized 21st century Greeks and Canadians?

      Now to the question of India,in my view, even a single rape is unjustifiable. As social primates with an ability to empathize with our fellow beings, our ability to think and understand the world rationally and our ability to advance in technology, there can be no excuse for such atrocities. And an Indian, I sympathize with my fellow Indians who have been victims of such heinous crimes.

      But what I do not understand is the moral high ground some of the other countries take! Why is rape still persistent (demonstrably at a higher rate) in so called “21st century civilized nations”. I do agree we need to modernize and force India towards a progressive path, but please do spare us your moral pronouncements. When you paid off your debt to Mother Earth for destroying the pale blue dot, and for enslaving fellow homo-sapiens,and causing the greatest animal extinction and countless genocides and countless annihilation of cultures, may be then, the Europeans and their off-shoots can take the moral high horse. Until then, please do stop the rape and abuse of humans in your neighborhood, before pulling the rest of us, mere uncivilized tribes to 21st century.

      Ranting aside, comparing BRICS group of countries (Brazil, South Africa, India, Russia and China), India has the highest conviction rates for rape and lowest incidences of rape as well. Once again, that is not a justification, it is a mere statement of fact.

      • Here’s the thing: I am NOT answering as a country.

        But what I do not understand is the moral high ground some of the other countries take! Why is rape still persistent (demonstrably at a higher rate) in so called “21st century civilized nations”.

        The “moral highground” I am taking is as a man who has NOT raped. A man with a mother, sister, wife, and daughter who is outraged by any rape.

        Having said this, in India (even though the statistics you provide show a country where this is rare) the LAW shits on the women again. That is the black eye that India suffers from. Get it correct, it is not that Indian men rape more often. It is that Indian Government helps them do it.

        In reply to #10 by soulreaver:

        In reply to #2 by Vorlund:

        Shame on you Indian men! A terrible shame on you that you are…

        Indeed it is. I do not think we can justify or reason the atrocities committed in India. We are shameful about the situation.

        But before the self righteous Europeans and Americans brow beat, could we pleas…

        • In reply to #11 by crookedshoes:

          Here’s the thing: I am NOT answering as a country.

          But what I do not understand is the moral high ground some of the other countries take! Why is rape still persistent (demonstrably at a higher rate) in so called “21st century civilized nations”.

          The “moral highground” I am taking is as a man who…

          Agreed. I was responding to the claim that Indian men are responsible as a whole and are far more culpable than other nationalities. I guess we are to be blamed in the same sense, the Americans are responsible for putting disproportionate levels of minorities in prison, and Norwegians for their skin heads and the Brits for their BNP.

          But you side stepped the issue I raised, why do the first world still lead in rape occurances and still have abysmal conviction records. Why do first world countries struggle as much as third world to combat this crime. If third world gives poverty and lack of resource to tackle these heinous crimes, what excuses does the first world have? I am sure we could all spend a lot less on SUVs and Land Rovers, and spend more on rape prevention. But somehow first world men lead in owning SUVs but can’t be bothered to eradicate rape. And fail miserably in trying to do so.

          • I didn’t side step the question. I didn’t answer because I do not know (I agree with you).

            We drop the ball across the board and I do not know why. We have exceedingly low conviction rates. There is NO EXCUSE. NONE.

            But somehow first world men lead in owning SUVs but can’t be bothered to eradicate rape. And fail miserably in trying to do so.

            Men have done their best to control things and have fucked up almost every nuance of the world that they claim to run. It is a disgrace and if there are any answers out there, I sure hope they are found ASAP and acted upon. The state of affairs in BOTH first and third world countries when it comes to rape, is a disgrace. And, it is MEN who are to blame.

            I have often made the outrageous claim that “you could drop 95% of the men on the planet to the bottom of the ocean, and the world wouldn’t miss them at all”…. Of course, I’d have to take my chances that I’d be in the 5% that stayed “on dry land”.

            In reply to #12 by soulreaver:

            In reply to #11 by crookedshoes:

            Here’s the thing: I am NOT answering as a country.

            But what I do not understand is the moral high ground some of the other countries take! Why is rape still persistent (demonstrably at a higher rate) in so called “21st century civilized nations”.

            The “moral highg…

      • In reply to #10 by soulreaver:

        Unless you want to claim somehow rape is over reported in one western nation while not in the other?

        I doubt that rape is “over reported” anywhere in the world. If anything I expect a substantial under reporting for some very understandable reasons. The stats on rape are a special kind of minefield for anyone who is trying to understand rape. Whether or not a woman goes to the police and reports a rape is a situation that is complicated by cultural conditions that she must juggle. Here in the States the legal system leaves much to be desired in its handling of these cases, but just in my lifetime I’ve seen a huge improvement in how the system handles victims of rape and perpetrators of rape as well. Note that I said improved and not perfect.

        When an American feminist looks at what is going on with women in India or any other part of the third world I hope you will remember that we are never saying that we have some kind of feminist utopia here and that you third worlders are hopeless screw ups and that we are here to show you the error of your ways. We still do have rape here. We still do have rapists getting away with their crimes, but does that mean we should feel nothing when we hear of gang rape in India? I feel it profoundly, even though I have no connection to India whatsoever. Does this mean that as an American woman I should shut up about the rape problem in India until we have no such a problem here? I fear this day will never get here.

        I think the guys who have commented above me are expressing exactly that. We want improvements in human rights everywhere in the world. If American women and European women have more equality in our society then of course we want that to extend out to women in the third world. These rights we have here didn’t come easily, we fought for them and suffered through the process. Try to understand that most American feminists want to help third world women improve their circumstances by advising them on strategy and tactics. (granted that there are serious divisions between us on what exactly constitutes a correct strategy :-)) But when those people who are suffering under barbaric systems of repression actually spurn our efforts to reach out, and label this as colonialism, that’s when I know that we’re really never going to get anywhere and then we withdraw.

        The ills of colonialism are well known, documented and acknowledged by the first world intellectuals at this point, so set that aside for now because in my opinion, the problem of rape has little to do with these gripes you have listed against the first world, whether they are legitimate or not:

        When you paid off your debt to Mother Earth for destroying the pale blue dot, and for enslaving fellow homo-sapiens,and causing the greatest animal extinction and countless genocides and countless annihilation of cultures, may be then, the Europeans and their off-shoots can take the moral high horse. Until then, please do stop the rape and abuse of humans in your neighborhood, before pulling the rest of us, mere uncivilized tribes to 21st century.

        I want to say that I am sympathetic to the anguish that is revealed in that quote. I hate the annihilation of cultures too and I really get angry when I see the results of religious missionaries (just one example) and their disgusting behavior and I really wish they would be arrested and deported immediately, but here’s the thing; what if we come to the conclusion that there are certain aspects of your culture that are causing rape to persist and even flourish? Can you concede that this must be the case in India? That the justice system is blinded by a historic acceptance of cruel elitism in the caste system, and sexism that is endemic in the third world and if anything is to change for women in India, that some aspects of your culture will probably end up being “annihilated” as you put it.

        I realize that for many people this is a quandary but I must honestly say that for me, I am willing to force other societies into a human rights revolution, kicking and screaming if that’s what it takes, and I’m willing to sacrifice the minimal amount of “culture” necessary to get you there. I want that for women and I also want that for animal rights, children’s rights, and that caste system needs to go too. I don’t feel guilty about promoting justice, equality and every other humanistic ethical value. After that, keep whatever culture is left over and I think there will be plenty of it for you to retain cultural identity.

        • In reply to #14 by LaurieB:

          I doubt that rape is “over reported” anywhere in the world.

          I agree. Poor choice of words on my part. I apologize.

          Does this mean that as an American woman I should shut up about the rape problem in India until we have no such a problem here?

          Surely not. It is very important that people care about what happens to others. I was trying to argue that blaming all Indian men is as futile as blaming all men. That would be like blaming the British or Germans for the Srebrenica massacre, because they belong to Europe and have the same religion and ethnicity of the perpetrators of the crime.

          If American women and European women have more equality in our society then of course we want that to extend out to women in the third world.

          This is where we probably disagree the most. In spite of over whelming wealth and affluence in the western world, women still face discrimination and prejudice. I am married to one such person and even though she is way smarter than I am, she gets paid less than me and have to work twice harder to prove that she is every bit talented as her male colleagues. From an Asian perspective (India, China, Japan), Europe looks like a misogynistic patriarchal barbarous horde. For e.g., Britain would rather celebrate the achievements of Kate Middleton in marrying a “royal” than the countless British women who innovate, teach, paint, sing, dedicate their life to their profession. This to me, epitomizes the problem in Europe and its off shoots (America, Australia, Canada, NZ etc) With all this wealth and affluence, there is gender disparity, and that to me is unacceptable. I do not want my partner or my friends to be treated differently because they have a different pair of chromosomes.

          but here’s the thing; what if we come to the conclusion that there are certain aspects of your culture

          Just a point of order. I do not consider it as my culture. I consider my self as an Anarcho-syndicalist with no national, linguistic andd regional affiliations.

          but here’s the thing; what if we come to the conclusion that there are certain aspects of your culture that are causing rape to persist and even flourish? Can you concede that this must be the case in India? … that some aspects of your culture will probably end up being “annihilated” as you put it.

          I agree. And I voraciously argue for it every chance I get. Traditions, revelations and authority are no reasons to model a world. My only addition to that argument is, you need to apply the same rule to your own culture as well. The marauding, warmongering, genocidal and xenophobic European traditions have to be annihilated as well.

          I realize that for many people this is a quandary but I must honestly say that for me, I am willing to force other societies into a human rights revolution, kicking and screaming if that’s what it takes, and I’m willing to sacrifice the minimal amount of “culture” necessary to get you there.

          I agree again. I want to get the xenophobic, misogynistic, patriarchal Europeans to civilize as well. Even if it means, we need to drag them through the process kicking and screaming. We want Europeans and Americans as mature adults, not as bullying thugs who get a free pass to rape and pillage everyone else. It is not just enough that the third world offers humanity with Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr, while the west has to offer us with war mongering thugs like FDR, Churchill, Stalin, Hitler, Obama, Blair? Is that fair?

          I want the Greeks to stop hitting women politicians

          I want the Britons to celebrate women for who they are, not for who they sleep with or marry

          I want the Germans to offer women access to abortion and family planning

          I want the Irish to offer women who seek abortion respect and dignity

          I want the Europeans to not discriminate against women in engineering and science

          I want the Americans to elect a female head of the state and to offer equal pay for women. And not force young women to work as waitresses for $2.50 an hour.

          I don’t feel guilty about promoting justice, equality and every other humanistic ethical value.

          You shouldn’t. It only took Europeans 400 years to realize that people shouldn’t be discriminated based on gender or race. Less than 100 years ago, families assembled around city centers to witness young African- Americans stoned to death. And they would collect the body parts as souvenirs. The same is true for Canadians and Australians! We really need to promote humanism and secular morality. And we need to start that in NATO countries. Because they are the ones capable of annihilating the planet and are dangerously close to doing so.

          • In reply to #16 by soulreaver:

            In reply to #14 by LaurieB:

            I doubt that rape is “over reported” anywhere in the world.

            I agree. Poor choice of words on my part. I apologize.

            Does this mean that as an American woman I should shut up about the rape problem in India until we have no such a problem here?

            Surely not. It is very im…

            “Less than 100 years ago, families assembled around city centers to witness young African- Americans stoned to death. And they would collect the body parts as souvenirs. The same is true for Canadians and Australians!”

            WHERE is your evidence? And who were these ‘African Americans’ living in Australia??
            Really, please take this drivel elsewhere.

            As for the original topic, rape in India; it is that country’s attitude to women via the repulsive belief in “caste” more than actual rape, that is the problem. I have NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that statistics are being used to cover up the truth, that in such a society women are terrified of reporting rape. And understandably so…

          • In reply to #19 by Fritz:

            In reply to #16 by soulreaver:

            In reply to #14 by LaurieB:

            I doubt that rape is “over reported” anywhere in the world.

            I agree. Poor choice of words on my part. I apologize.

            Does this mean that as an American woman I should shut up about the rape problem in India until we have no such a problem…

            I thought that was obvious. In your case that would be indigenous people. Read Pinker’s Better Angels of our nature or Diamond’s Third Chimpanzee. Btw, Australia is still one of most dangerous place for women with regards to spousal abuse and rape in the developed world.

          • In reply to #20 by soulreaver:

            In your case that would be indigenous people. Read Pinker’s Better Angels of our nature or Diamond’s Third Chimpanzee.

            You made claims about US, Canada, Australia. I remember reading about the US in Diamond’s book. Which cases are covered by Pinkers ? Does it talk about cases in Australia ?

            Btw, Australia is still one of most dangerous place for women with regards to spousal abuse and rape in the developed world.

            Perhaps but that’s not what you where talking about. But looking at it from your own numbers

            Rape at the national level, rate per 100,000 population (2010)

            Sweden 93

            United Kingdom 29

            Australia 28

            Belgium 28

            USA 27

            We seem sadly average. That said there are many problems with these statistics in terms of reporting and definition.

            Michael

          • In reply to #22 by mmurray:

            In reply to #20 by soulreaver:

            We seem sadly average. That said there are many problems with these statistics in terms of reporting and definition.

            Hence the higher rate in Sweden. Apparently there is a different way of collecting statistics in the US as well. I think multiple cases with the same victim is counted as one, while we count the number of instances separately in Australia.

          • In reply to #16 by soulreaver:

            Less than 100 years ago, families assembled around city centers to witness young African- Americans stoned to death. And they would collect the body parts as souvenirs. The same is true for Canadians and Australians! We really need to promote humanism and secular morality.

            Assuming you mean indigenous Australians not African-American-Australians (we don’t have many) that is still news to me. Not that that means it didn’t happen. But have you got any evidence for this ?

            By the way I also thought in the US it was lynching far more than stoning.

            Michael

          • In reply to #21 by mmurray:

            In reply to #16 by soulreaver:

            Less than 100 years ago, families assembled around city centers to witness young African- Americans stoned to death. And they would collect the body parts as souvenirs. The same is true for Canadians and Australians! We really need to promote humanism and secular morality.

            Assuming you mean indigenous Australians not African-American-Australians (we don’t have many) that is still news to me. Not that that means it didn’t happen. But have you got any evidence for this ?

            He may have been overstating things, such as families gathering to witness stonings and body parts being collected as souvenirs, but I think soulreaver was speaking about the Red Summer of (1919), with particular reference to events in Chicago.

          • In reply to #23 by Katy Cordeth:

            He may have been overstating things, such as families gathering to witness stonings and body parts being collected as souvenirs, but I think soulreaver was speaking about the Red Summer of (1919), with particular reference to events in Chicago.

            Thanks for the links Katy. I have read about this in the US context somewhere before. I was wondering if it was the Jared Diamond book soulreaver referred to. I haven’t read about this in the Australia context. It wouldn’t surprise me that it happened but it would surprise me that it hadn’t come to my attention before now. Sadly “we didn’t collect their fingernails” is probably the best I can say about my country of births otherwise appalling treatment of its first inhabitants. We did though collect lots of bones that should have been left undisturbed. My father had a couple of skulls in his geological collection.

            Michael

          • In reply to #16 by soulreaver:

            blaming all Indian men is as futile as blaming all men.

            If I blamed all Indian men then I would apologize. Did I say that somewhere? I can’t find it. I don’t like to blame all men because there are plenty of men who speak up and fight for women every day. I count on that. We need that. India needs many more men to fight for fair treatment for their women and men should know that there are advantages to having a woman who is an equal partner instead of a helpless, dependent slave. I realize that you do know this already but I’m clarifying my position and I don’t think it’s fair to assume that all men are rapists and/or misogynists.

            This is where we probably disagree the most. In spite of over whelming wealth and affluence in the western world, women still face discrimination and prejudice.

            No, we do not disagree. Remember that I conceded that we have many improvements to make here and we are not close to finished with that. I said:

            When an American feminist looks at what is going on with women in India or any other part of the third world I hope you will remember that we are never saying that we have some kind of feminist utopia here and that you third worlders are hopeless screw ups and that we are here to show you the error of your ways.

            You are right about workplace discrimination in terms of unequal pay and other types of discrimination. This is known to exist here in the US and people are more aware of the problem and let’s hope that the women in the work place are dealing with this assertively. I also acknowledge your aggravation with the Brit royals worship and I leave it to the Brit women to defend on that point since I’m not one of them. Although I find it hard to believe that the Indian, Chinese and Japanese have any right to accuse Europeans of barbaric misogyny. That sounds like the pot calling the kettle black, doesn’t it?

            Please don’t lose sight of the fact that as an American woman in this time and in this place I am so lucky to be sheltered from the worst predatory behavior of men because of a strong set of laws that allow me to report crimes committed against me such as assault and battery, kidnapping, rape, forced marriage, slavery, child labor, and laws that allow me to keep and control my own money, vote, inherit in my own name and without restriction, obtain and use birth control, obtain a legal, safe abortion, own land and real estate and other investments independent of my father, brother and husband, and I’m sure I’ve left a few things off the list. These are the really big issues for women that allow us to be independent and make life worth living for us. This is the legal framework that we want for women in the third world. Equal pay for equal work will follow in good time.

            Traditions, revelations and authority are no reasons to model a world. My only addition to that argument is, you need to apply the same rule to your own culture as well.

            Excellent! This is why I support Freedom From Religion Foundation every time they take on the religious right here in the States. In my own family I ask that if a tradition is representative of any sexist or otherwise oppressive idea then I want to delete it from our repertoire of celebrations, or at least alter that tradition so it is hardly recognizable in it’s old depressing, inappropriate form. Of course I can do this in my own life and be some influence with the family but I must admit that I have very little power to influence my society in this way except to donate money to that organization mentioned above and maybe continue ranting on the internet. :-)

            I want the Americans to elect a female head of the state and to offer equal pay for women.

            I want both of those things too and we will get the first before the last.

          • In reply to #25 by LaurieB:

            Although I find it hard to believe that the Indian, Chinese and Japanese have any right to accuse Europeans of barbaric misogyny. That sounds like the pot calling the kettle black, doesn’t it?

            Touché. And right back at ya! The major issue I have with western liberals is their ignorance. Their notion that anything east of Wien Hauptbahnhof is east infuriates me. In particular, your generalization that outside of glorious US and Europe this is the norm,

            Please don’t lose sight of the fact that as an American woman in this time and in this place I am so lucky to be sheltered from the worst predatory behavior of men because of a strong set of laws that allow me to report crimes committed against me such as assault and battery, kidnapping, rape, forced marriage, slavery, child labor, and laws that allow me to keep and control my own money, vote, inherit in my own name and without restriction, obtain and use birth control, obtain a legal, safe abortion, own land and real estate and other investments independent of my father, brother and husband, and I’m sure I’ve left a few things off the list.

            Do you really think that the entire sub-continent is exactly the same?

            And the only reason you would think that way is the ethnocentric view we have of the world. And the only excuse we have for that is ignorance. India is as large as western Europe and has as much population as entire Europe. India has more language groups, religion and ethnicity than Europe. Any generalization like “in India” or “in Asia” or “in the East” would be analogous to saying “in the West” or “in Europe”.

            How would a San Francisco liberal feel if accused of spousal abuse because it happens a lot in some part of his/her country, say Alabama or Tennessee?

            How would an Oxonian or a Cantabrigian feel if accused of being a Nazi because they are white and European, of similar faith and language group?

            Or how would any European feel, if accused of Srebrenica massacre? Because it was carried out by mostly white, Christian Europeans?

            I understand that the education in the west rarely deals with history, geography and linguistics outside of Europe. In this well connected world, there is no more a reason to be ignorant and paint the “rest” with the same brush.

            We need to have a more nuanced journalism and the western liberals should educate themselves about the rest of the world.

            It would be a pity as Asians (Yes! India is in Asia. Unlike what most Americans and Australians think, we are Asians!) if we haven’t read The Diary of a Young Girl or if we haven’t listened to Bach or Beethovan or if we are unaware of conflicts in Northern Ireland or about the Basque separatists.

            I agree with everything you say, except the ethno-centric jingoism inherent in your views (for e.g. “American women”). May be I do to. To be honest, I am normally on your side when I argue with people here (in “India”) and why we need to look at Scandinavia (and Europe) for gender equality. And I would even concede that Asia lags behind Europe in every aspect of gender equality except in one area – women in science and technology.

          • In reply to #28 by soulreaver:

            The major issue I have with western liberals is their ignorance. Their notion that anything east of Wien Hauptbahnhof is east infuriates me. In particular, your generalization that outside of glorious US and Europe this is the norm,

            If you hate generalizations so much then why did you just do the same to me? Are you saying that western liberals are all ignorant? Are you including me in that vast group? I’m sorry that this language does not have a plural “you” so I’m not quite sure when you were directing criticism at me individually and when it was directed at us as a group of Americans, American feminists, western feminists, the West, Americans and Europeans, etc. As I said above, If you speak against Europeans I can hardly address that. I’m not one of them.

            Do you really think that the entire sub-continent is exactly the same?
            And the only reason you would think that way is the ethnocentric view we have of the world.

            The same in what way? If you are talking about the same in regards to women’s rights then I would judge the country based on a number of factors. The first would be the laws that are in place that would serve as a foundation for equal rights. This is what I tried to point out with that paragraph that apparently aggravated you above. It was not intended as a direct insult against India. It is a general foundation of legal rights that support gender equality in any society. I have not researched this but perhaps you would be willing to present this information in an objective way. After that I would be interested to know about the extent to which women of India can and do use their legal system to address grievances that they encounter in their society. Do the police take action on their behalf? Do the courts apply the rule of law as objectively as is humanly possible? This article would suggest otherwise, but if you have an inside view of this situation, by all means, please present it, but how does it further the conversation to lob accusations of ethnocentrism and ignorance of the liberal West? Is it my/our fault that we haven’t lived in India for extended periods of time to familiarize ourselves with life on the ground there? So from the outside we can only judge the state of affairs from any stats that we can dig up and from media reports that we can access.

            Of course it goes without saying that Americans are isolated from the realities of life in the third world. One needs to dig deep for information like that here. What passes for “news” of the world is scarce on conventional media outlets. This is the truth of the situation. Let’s just acknowledge it and move on. I’m going to assume that you are not accusing me individually of ethnocentrism. If that is the case then I will ask you to read back a bit on my profile of comment history and reconsider the criticism.

          • In reply to #29 by LaurieB:

            It was not intended as a direct insult against India.

            I do not care about that. I am not defending any nation state here. I really wish other people would do the same. If the colour of the skin or the gonosomes of a person shouldn’t matter, why should the latitude and the longitude where they were born or lives matter an iota?

            I’m going to assume that you are not accusing me individually of ethnocentrism.

            I was making a more general point but re-reading it, I agree it does have an accusatory tone. Sorry about that.

            If you are talking about the same in regards to women’s rights then I would judge the country based on a number of factors. The first would be the laws that are in place that would serve as a foundation for equal rights.

            On an average, comparing people of same social status, indeed US might offer a better quality of life for women than most Asian countries. And even you would concede that Scandinavian societies would probably offer more conducive environments than US or other western European countries.

            But I believe we are talking about women’s rights in general. To me, the biggest hurdle in achieving gender equality is economics. I agree that social progress is equally important as situation in Saudi Arabia demonstrates. Would you then, not agree that, a girl child born in a middle class literate family in Beijing or Bangalore or Rio de Janeiro or Johannesburg would have better chance of getting an education and being able to enjoy the same rights as her male counterparts than a girl child born into poor semi-literate ethnic minority parents in ghettos across United States? Looking purely at the statistics on teen pregnancies, incarceration ratio, victims of domestic abuse and violence, we can categorically state that the child born in Beijing or Bangalore or Rio de Janeiro or Johannesburg would have higher probability of getting into Stanford or MIT or Berkeley, while the other child, born in the wealthiest and the most powerful nation on the planet, might end up on the streets, drug addled and abused.

            The world is no longer divided on the lines of national borders. Hence having a qualifier “American” in front of their identity does not emancipate them automatically. And not having one, does not automatically condemn them into a life of subservience and dependance.

            Hence, we need a more nuanced approach in dealing with it across the globe. We need to get the minimum wage laws across the globe as it affects women more than men, enhance social solidarity for single mothers and abuse victims, and abolish gender discrimination in various fields – military, science, technology, politics. But then as Frost aptly said,

            The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
            But I have promises to keep,
            And miles to go before I sleep,
            And miles to go before I sleep.

  2. India worries me. It’s potential as an Asian democracy is stifled by its appallingly backward culture and the deep hold that superstition still has on people there. If women and people of lower caste can be so wrongly treated with impunity, human rights are still not recognized there.

  3. I often wonder what steps people take to act in certain ways, how they come to the conclusion that they should do one thing as opposed to another, and how they justify their actions. And the path to gang rape has to be the thing I understand the least. How does a group of people come to the conclusion that it’s a good idea?

    Does a group of friends sit together playing video games when one of them casually suggests “hey guys, how about we rape someone together?” Or do you have to ease into the conversation by first asking them how they feel about rape? And when everyone seems to feel positive about it, you suggest taking the next step? Or do gang rapists have a web site where they meet like-minded people?

    Really, this is mystifying to me. What does the conversation look like? Do the assailants sit around a map with coffee cups in their hands, eagerly debating the best places in the city to rape someone, and which escape routes to use? What does that situation look like? How do the people end up in that situation? Does anyone of them at some point wonder about the fact that only an hour earlier they were joking about raping someone they know, and now moments later they are actually preparing to do it? Do they perhaps even invite more people to the “event”?

    Even if one knows that his (I hope I’m not making unfair, sexist assumptions about the gender of the would-be rapist when using the “his” pronoun.) friends harbour sexually violent fantasies or are otherwise callous towards the feelings of rape victims, it is quite a stretch to actually suggest taking the next step and rape someone together. I’m trying really hard to imagine the situation, how I would approach the subject with my friends, and I cannot for the life of me see what that would look like.

  4. I often wonder what steps people take to act in certain ways, how they come to the conclusion that they should do one thing as opposed to another, and how they justify their actions. And the path to gang rape has to be the thing I understand the least. How does a group of people come to the conclusion that it’s a good idea?

    Does a group of friends sit together playing video games when one of them casually suggests “hey guys, how about we rape someone together?” Or do you have to ease into the conversation by first asking them how they feel about rape? And when everyone seems to feel positive about it, you suggest taking the next step? Or do gang rapists have a web site where they meet like-minded people?

    Really, this is mystifying to me. What does the conversation look like? Do the assailants sit around a map with coffee cups in their hands, eagerly debating the best places in the city to rape someone, and which escape routes to use? What does that situation look like? How do the people end up in that situation? Does anyone of them at some point wonder about the fact that only an hour earlier they were joking about raping someone they know, and now moments later they are actually preparing to do it? Do they perhaps even invite more people to the “event”?

    Even if one knows that his (I hope I’m not making unfair, sexist assumptions about the gender of the would-be rapist when using the “his” pronoun.) friends harbour sexually violent fantasies or are otherwise callous towards the feelings of rape victims, it is quite a stretch to actually suggest taking the next step and rape someone together. I’m trying really hard to imagine the situation, how I would approach the subject with my friends, and I cannot for the life of me see what that would look like.

    • In reply to #6 by Aztek:

      Does a group of friends sit together playing video games when one of them casually suggests “hey guys, how about we rape someone together?” Or do you have to ease into the conversation by first asking them how they feel about rape? And when everyone seems to feel positive about it, you suggest taking the next step? Or do gang rapists have a web site where they meet like-minded people?…

      I suggest you watch an Indian movie called “15 Park Avenue” … its Indian movie but in English (or Hinglish).

  5. India must be dragged to a XXI century by force if necessary. But I have noticed that there is increasing violence against women in all the world. Women are attacked more and more everywhere. This is horrible. If only women would join themselves into a bigger group they could make some changes in this world. After all, this rapists were in group,… everything achieve goal when there is a bigger mass. War are fight in masses, there are (again) men joined in mass to kill and they are called heroes, but when there is one men killing people than this is a crime and he is called a criminal. Ants build house together :) , a group of people can lift a lorry but not one person. They can rape individual human beings, because of mentality of a herd and because legislation frame allows them to do so without any serious or strong consequence. Indian women please fight back, unite, make laws. Men should be more like prof. Dawkins – a feminist, and women more united. :)

  6. We can all see how religion divides people. Religion do not unite, it divides. It divides people in castes in social roles and this is dangerous. Soon rich are commanding a poor one, higher caste a lover one, whites to black, straight to gay, etc. We have to stop dividing ourselves! Proletarians of all countries, unite!!

  7. @Soulreaver #10

    Forgive my tardy response other matters have been more pressing.

    To the chase: You resorted to a form of rhetorical argument about the interpretation of statistics and then quote the same statistics as a form of defence. This is not consistent in as much as firstly the rhetorical position neatly portrays the fallacy of comparing statistics across different contexts and cultures and also the issue with taking statistics at face value both of which undermine the point you were making with regards to India and the other BRICS countries.

    The stats you quote only indicate the incidents reported and while people may wish to infer certain things from them it is not possible to deduce anything.

    The second part of your response, hyperbole aside, is a Tu Quoque fallacious argument, though LaurieB puts this more gently, they have no bearing on the subject of this thread. Without dismissing your point completely, I am quite aware of the influence that the British wrought on other cultures malign or otherwise.

    I acknowledge that my point may have been ‘rough on the nerve’ but I was specifically making that point about the attitude and the treatment of women and not whether women in India are raped more or less often or in worse circumstances. It is a point made with respect to how she was treated by the judicial process in court where her testimony should be treated with equanimity until her allegation is proven or rejected. Tell me, is she more or less likely to be believed because of her caste in relation to the caste of her rapists? It is also a point made with respect to the idea that the solution lies in the hands of her countrymen.

    The way in which victims are treated both as a matter of police enquiry (who assess if there is enough evidence to prosecute)and by the judiciary (who judge whether that evidence holds up) has changed a lot here though it cannot be said to be anything like perfect. It is arguable for example that the necessity of obtaining forensic evidence has made the process of alleging rape actually more traumatic. It is also a common defence tactic to question the victim’s sexual and social behaviour in an attempt to discredit their version of the incident in the eyes of the jury. Though I’ve yet to hear of a defence predicated on the notion that a victim shouldn’t have been outside of her house.

    • In reply to #17 by Vorlund:

      Tell me, is she more or less likely to be believed because of her caste in relation to the caste of her rapists? It is also a point made with respect to the idea that the solution lies in the hands of her countrymen.

      I understand what you mean. May be I came across too strongly. I am not defending India’s record on preventing violence against women or the way Indian bureaucracy deals with the victims. May be I will try again. We know that rape is one of the most heinous crimes as it robs a person of their personal space and right to privacy. With all its might and wealth and pomp and arrogance, west has abysmal track record in tackling violence against women. Hence, it is not just an Indian problem, it is a global pandemic. No culture can claim the moral high ground.

    • In reply to #17 by Vorlund:

      The second part of your response, hyperbole aside, is a Tu Quoque fallacious argument, though LaurieB puts this more gently, they have no bearing on the subject of this thread.

      Well, you’re right about that Vorlund and the point is well taken. soulreaver was tu quogue-ing around all over the place and I should’ve called him on that in a more direct and succinct way. I won’t dance around it again with him or anyone. Thanks for the good call.

  8. While i shall not attempt to defend ‘Indian Men’ , i must comment about the caste system. First off, there is a HUGE divide in India between the rich and poor, urban and rural, educated and uneducated. In India, Enlightenment of the 21st century and the appalling ignorance of the middle ages co-exist. Caste-ism is practiced by the uneducated and the poor. If you were to go to an average Indian School, College or Workplace , you’d be hard-pressed to find ANY discrimination. Since I’m an Indian resident, i seriously question the veracity of the victim’s , mother’s claim.

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