Sunday, March 15, 2015

India in International Rape Rankings

As the chart above downloaded from Wikipedia shows, India is nowhere in the top ranks of the incidence of rape reported by the United Nations.  The following paragraph spells out the situation:

“Adjusted for population growth over time, the annual rape rate in India has increased from 1.9 to 2.0 per 100,000 people over 2008-2012 period. This compares to a reported rape rate of 1.2 per 100,000 in Japan, 3.6 per 100,000 in Morocco, 4.6 rapes per 100,000 in Bahrain, 12.3 per 100,000 in Mexico, 24.1 per 100,000 in the United Kingdom, 28.6 per 100,000 in the United States, 66.5 per 100,000 in Sweden, and world's highest rate of 114.9 rapes per 100,000 in South Africa.” [Note: Figures for Sweden are so high not because it has a worse problem but because its laws have zero tolerance for sexual aggression.]

This comparative picture has been entirely ignored by Indian mass media in covering the overall story of rape in the country; it was blatantly absent from comment on the BBC rape movie by Leslee Udwin.

Western media have gone out of their way to present India in the worst light possible.

For example, the CNN report of the latest Indian outrage – the weekend rape of a 70-year old nun in Nadia, West Bengal – concludes with the following observation:

“Official data in India show that rape cases have jumped almost 875% over the past 40 years -- from 2,487 in 1971 to 24,206 in 2011. But campaigners say sexual assaults are underreported because of stigma and cultural factors. Experts say the causes of the high number of rapes include the nation's patriarchy, widespread poverty and lack of law enforcement in rural areas.”

Another element of imbalance in the CNN report is that its first paragraph says on the basis of a local police report that one of the robbers of a Christian school raped the old woman when she resisted, while the next quotes a New Delhi Church official saying three of the four robbers raped her. (He added bizarrely that the crime was especially heinous as “all her life she has remained a virgin.”)

The Church official made no mention that there was no assault on two younger nuns, who were merely tied up, an anomaly difficult to explain if the robbers were intent on gang rape.

The latest atrocity, coming as it does on the heels of growing criticism of the BBC rape movie, adds to the speculation that we are witnessing a deliberate anti-Indian campaign.

As the CNN report on the nun noted helpfully, “A series of rape cases involving girls, foreign tourists and a physiology student who died following a brutal gang rape in 2012 has hurt India's international reputation.”

Indian commentators should note that the timing of the assault on the nun will maximize that negative impact because the story will certainly be noticed at Sunday church services around the world.

Another recent story from eastern India that gained worldwide attention is the lynching of a Bengali man accused of raping a Naga girl.

In the aftermath it appears the sex was negotiated for payment, and that the accusation of rape followed a demand for more money. The lynching occurred after a few provocateurs roused the communal feelings of a crowd of impressionable young students.

None of that has made it into the headlines.

That was also the case with another infamous rape/murder case last year, when two UP teenagers were found hanging from a tree (see here).

What should be amply clear from all this is that nearly 70 years after decolonization, Indian society and its political establishment are entirely incapable of responding to a malign British campaign aiming to make India less attractive to investors and tourists.

Indians should take note of the role of Britain's local media proxies in making that possible.

They do not make the least effort to verify the facts of reported outrages, much less present a balanced picture of the situation in the country.

They did not feel impelled to investigate even when the prime accused in the Nirbhaya case committed "suicide" in prison, giving substance to the suspicion that the men had been paid for the crime and that loose ends were being tied.

This is part laziness -- it is so much easier to blather on with meaningless condemnations -- and part corruption: Indian media barons are not their own masters (see here), and have little power to create a national narrative in the face of foreign pressure.

Things will not change unless Indian readers and television viewers become vocally disapproving of this situation.


Chuck said...

perhaps the data is accurate, perhaps not but it is irrelevant to india's daughter. the documentary was about one rape and horrific murder of a non assenting woman with ridiculous justification by the rapists, their lawyers, and many others talking about the subservient role of woman in india. a friend, married to an indian,lives in india much of the year and has a daughter living in delhi tells me they are both very fearful and don't go out alone in the evening in delhi. the rape laws in sweden are very tight. ask julian assange who says he felt the sex he had was consensual. maybe, maybe not. assange left sweden because a woman must give clear verbal permission, a "yes," for sex not to be considered rape. your earlier post on norway and u.s. elections suggest how things are done in voting can impact elections. perhaps the same is true for rape, accounting for sweden's numbers. i recall reading the indian press when the young indian u.n. diplomat had differences with the servant she brought here. the mainstream indian press was blatantly biased in favor of the diplomat and angry at the servant for her disloyalty.

Bhaskar Menon said...

The table was downloaded from Wikipedia and the statistics are from the United Nations. You are absolutely correct that Sweden is at the top of the list because of technicalities that in fact, do the country honor. As for the statistics being irrelevant to "India's Daughter," I disagree. Except for the death row intereview, the documentary says nothing that Indian media did not report. The lawyer's views were much dissected.

As to the fear of women in Delhi, are you saying that is news? And where else would be true too?

Leslee Udwin has produced the Indian equivalent of the sexploitation movie of 1970s America. It has no redeeming value and is a ghoulish addition to Britain's obscene record in manipulating India's global image