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Why Does the World Media Focus ONLY on Rapes in India?

Why Does the World Media Focus ONLY on Rapes in India?



Judging from media reports, India has a BIG problem with rape. No other country seems to come even close. All over the globe “another rape in India” is reported ever so often.  On my last visit to Germany, I jolted when on 27. December 2013 the most popular TV news ended with “another gang rape in India”. It was one of only five topics of the 15 minutes broadcast.

Even my sister wondered how a gang rape in India made it to the main news in Germany. That same day in a conservative estimate, over a thousand rapes would have been committed all over the world.  In the USA some 200, in South Africa some 170. In the western cities, the statistics show a high percentage, much higher than in India. Many of those rapes would have been gang rapes. In many cases, the girl or woman would have been killed. Behind each of those statistical figures are painful, heartrending stories. If we knew what is happening at this very moment on this earth – how much pain humans inflict on other humans and on animals – we could not bear it.  With so much crime happening everywhere, why is India being singled out and shamed with “another gang rape”, when it actually has only a fraction of the crimes other countries have in relative numbers? In absolute numbers of course it would be no surprise if India with her huge population of four times the size of the United States were number one apart from China. Even then it is not number one. USA is.

The deluge of rape reports on India started with the shameful gang rape of a young woman, Jyoti, in a bus in Delhi on December 16th, 2012. Jyoti died. The six culprits were convicted. One committed either suicide (official version) or was killed by prison inmates. Four got death sentence. The sixth was a minor, six months short of his 18th birthday. He got away with 3 years in a reprimand home. As he allegedly was the most brutal of all and responsible for the death of Jyoti, efforts are on to try him as an adult.

This gang rape received unprecedented publicity. It reached national and local news all over the globe. It reached even a friend in Slovenia, who is usually oblivious of what is happening. Why was it broadcasted all over with such intensity? Was it because Indians protested in a big way and demanded harsh punishment? Those protests should have actually gone in favour of India, as they made clear that Indians consider rape as completely against their culture. But the opposite happened:

Ever since that December 2012, news on India have centered almost exclusively on “another rape” and even on the “rape culture of India”. One year later, the tragic story of Jyoti was again splashed over half a page in a local Nuremberg newspaper, and in its year-end- review, the Spiegel magazine did not feature anything about India, not even the Uttarakhand disaster with over 7000 dead, but – a group of victims of sexual abuse learning martial arts in Lucknow, ready to take on anyone who molests women. Obviously it was implied that such molesters are lurking at every corner.

SHOCKING RAPE STATISTICS OF FOUR MAJOR COUNTRIES:

USA:

  • Every 2 minutes, another American is sexually assaulted.
  • 44% of victims are under the age of 18. 80% are under the age of 30.
  • Each year there are about 237,868 victims of sexual assault, averaging 651 per day.
  • 60% of sexual assault are not reported to Police.
  • 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail.
  • Approximately 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. 38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.

Source:  Rainn

UK:

  • Approximately 85,000 women are raped on average in England and Wales every year, averaging 232 rapes per day.  
  • Over 400,000 women are sexually assaulted each year, averaging 1,095 per day.
  • 1 in 5 women (aged 16-59) has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16.

Source:  RapeCrisis

CANADA:

  • 1 of every 17 Canadian women is raped at some point in her life.
  • A woman is sexually assaulted by forced intercourse every 17 minutes in Canada.
  • Girls and young women between the ages of 15-24 are the most likely victims.
  • 80% of assaults happen in the victim’s home.
  • 70% of rapes are committed by a perpetrator who knows the victims (relative, friend, neighbour, colleague or other acquaintance).
  • Approximately 1/2 of all rapes occur on dates.
  • 62% of victims are physically injured in the attack; 9% are beaten severely or disfigured.
  • Statistics Canada has found that one in four girls and one in eight boys have been sexually abused by the time they are 18.

Source:  AssaultCare

AUSTRALIA:

On 11 December 2013, the ABS re-issued the results of the nationally representative Personal Safety Survey presenting information about women’s and men’s experiences of violence. The ABS define sexual assault as “an act of a sexual nature carried out against a person’s will through the use of physical force, intimidation or coercion”. Sexual violence is defined as including sexual assault and sexual threat.

  • During the 12 months prior to the survey, 8.7% of all men over 18 years of age, and 5.3% of all women over 18 years of age had experienced some form of violence.
  • Both women and men who experienced violence in the last 12 months, were more likely to have experienced physical violence than sexual violence.
  • In 2012 an estimated 17% (1,494,000) of all women aged 18 years and over had experienced sexual assault since the age of 15.
  • In 2012 an estimated 4% (336,000) of all men aged 18 years and over had experienced sexual assault since the age of 15.
  • Both women and men were more likely to experience sexual violence that is perpetrated by a known person rather than a stranger.
  • For women the most likely type of known perpetrator of sexual violence was a boyfriend/girlfriend or date. For men, the most likely type of known perpetrator of sexual violence was acquaintance or neighbour.

Source:  AIFS




India does have a problem with rape. Other countries also have this problem. Yet the exclusive focus by the world media on “rapes in India’ is not justified and raises suspicion of an agenda behind it. Articles appeared now, often written by Indians with Hindu names, that Indian (read Hindu) culture is to be blamed for the rapes, because it does not consider women as ‘autonomous entities’, which probably means that they can’t do what they want. The Washington Post proclaimed that sexual violence was endemic in India. The Reuters Trust Law group named India one of the worst countries in the world for women. A Harvard committee crafted strategies for ‘adolescent education’ to change the Indian mindset about gender. It was getting a bit much. Don’t westerners look at their own record – past and present – and compare it with that of India? Are they not ashamed?

Anyone who cares to find out will easily discover that rape is not in the culture of India, and women have a good, even respected position compared to other cultures or countries. This position may not be in tune with the view of feminists, but are feminists the measure of all things? Do those feminists believe that village women in India want to be like them? In my view, those feminists look pitiable in the eyes of those often very strong village women who see Sita as their ideal. The main anguish of those women is poverty, not gender roles.

To blame Hindu culture is preposterous to say the least. In fact, if Hindu culture would have prevailed and Christianity and Islam had never appeared on the scene, the world would be a better place. Christians and Muslims have traditionally used rape as a tool of war. For them, the ‘other’ was never worthy of any consideration and could be brutally raped and killed never mind if they were civilians. The Geneva Convention’s purpose is to stop this barbaric behaviour. Hindus never needed a Geneva Convention. They also fought wars, but they did not brutalize women or the civilian population.

The campaign to paint India blacker than it is sadly has worked. It is now a ‘fact’ for most foreigners (and for the convinced Indians) that Indian women have to live terrible lives, more terrible than anywhere else. No disagreeing possible. Everyone will shout you down with plenty of horrific examples. Yes, there are plenty of horrific examples and one needs to find out the reasons and find remedies. But individual criminals do not define a country, even less, if other countries have more of them. So why is India beaten with “another gang rape” again and again? Is the purpose to spoil the image of India? And if so, why?



In recent times, Indians have clearly made a mark. There is tremendous talent in the country. It is acknowledged that Indians have brains. This expresses itself in a new found confidence. ‘Western values’ are more likely to be scrutinized now and the ancient Hindu tradition is seeing a renaissance. The ‘established opinion’ that Christianity and Islam are any time better than Hinduism is being challenged. Modern western values are also more likely to be scrutinized and the west does not like it. The established opinions have power and this power seems to be used to malign India in a most unfair manner.

Rape is a delicate subject and whoever tries to place it into perspective is likely to get slaps from all sides, not least from the women’s groups. Not many will dare to state, that India has a problem, but not a bigger one than other countries, and does not need interference from the west in handling it. In fact, India has a great advantage. The family system is generally still strong especially among the masses who have escaped English education. Celibacy before marriage is still valued and not ridiculed. Romantic love is still seen for what it is – a temporary emotion and not a solid basis for a lifelong companionship. Compromise among family members and even sacrifice are not yet condemned as restricting individual freedom. Sita is still an ideal for most Hindu women. Bhakti, love for God, can still be expressed.

The fact that these values are still strong is not appreciated by western opinion makers. Those values are considered out of sync with the Zeitgeist. They pose a challenge to the western lifestyle which is being pushed into India. ‘Modern, western values’ mean for example (I learned this from an article in Focus, a German magazine) to live in rainbow or patchwork families, Those families will either have gays as ‘parents’ or children from different partners as the parents would have had several live-in relationships earlier. It is supposed to be a great learning experience for everyone. A book will soon be out in Germany that examines whether gays make better ’parents’ than the traditional man–woman combination. It is overlooked, that these ‘parents’ can’t produce children together. But then, who needs children in the west?

Traditional Indian society is clearly out of sync with this modern lifestyle and to portray it in a poor light, “another rape” makes headlines every other day. Care is taken that only rapes committed by men with Hindu names reach the limelight and are discussed on TV. India has some 200 million Muslims and some 50 million Christians and they also commit rapes and very cruel ones, as well. For example the minor in the rape case of Jyothi is a Muslim. This news, however, did not make it to the mainstream media. There seems to be communalism in regard to broadcasting crimes, and maybe even in registering them. This makes sense, if the objective is to demean Hindu culture and thereby propel it to reform and open up. It is expected to leave those old fashioned family values behind, to have condom vending machines in colleges, to consider free sex as normal. What better start than to talk of rape? It prepares the ground for allowing westerners to prepare the syllabus for ‘adolescent education’. And once the youth is convinced, the ‘backward’ Hindu society will be a thing of the past.

This prospect would be a horror for the Indian masses from all religions. Hindu society is indeed rigid in certain aspects and has much scope to improve, but its values are still highly preferable to western, modern ‘values’. One just needs to look at western societies to realise that the modern life style is a failed model. It has already regrettable fallout: many youngsters are without direction because of too much freedom. They long for clear rules and turn to fundamentalist, evangelical churches. Hindu Dharma would be the better option. But they are not likely to get to know about it in an unbiased manner.

~ Maria Wirth, (freelance writer who has lived in India for the past 33 years)

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10 Responses to "Why Does the World Media Focus ONLY on Rapes in India?"

  1. ASHWIN  February 16, 2014 at 8:55 am

    why only hindu rapes are broadcasted world wide is surprising. in fact in KERALA ., on feb 14 a muslim man with criminal background ha raped and murdered a hindu girl., why this has not hit the national headlines., paid media., HARI OM.

    Reply
  2. Anna Arleta Paz Michels  February 28, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Of course the media influences people around the world and the fate of millions who choose to travel to India will be changed because of this news.

    Reply
    • VjP  January 28, 2015 at 4:33 am

      Very true that you have to know the dangers in a new place that you are travelling to. But the question here is – why is the focus so centered on Indian Hindus and not all the others around the world? If other cases had equal focus or more preferably, there were no cases of rape happening at all, that would have been the better place for all.

      Btw, because of the biased focus, you are being misinformed. That should be your actual complain..

      Reply
  3. Dipankar  September 15, 2014 at 4:06 am

    Its true Hindu culture is being accused of rapes in India …but according to a national survay by a ngo group for muslim walfare ….results were shoking as 2 out of 10 muslim girls under the age of 16 years has been sexually assaulted by their family members or relatives …but these were reported ones …I dont know how many cases were their in real …

    Reply
  4. Anna  January 28, 2015 at 6:35 am

    I have to say I agree with some points of this article, I am Italian and in Italy they prefer to talk bad about India or immigrants when in our country one woman is killed every two days by an ex-partner or relatives.
    I think though you should not judge people for their sexual orientation, I have many gay friends and would be really happy for them to raise a child.
    And anyway, no religion is much better than any religion, they all have their bad aspects.

    Reply
  5. sean  January 30, 2015 at 12:58 am

    Although India does have a problem in sexual harassment, people get surprised when I tell them that Sweden is the rape capital of the world, followed by another 10 or so countries like US, Belgium, Canada, Japan, New Zealand (mostly what they call first world countries) to name a few, of which India does not factor at all. In some ways I am glad for the scrutiny because it means India will have better laws and more activists and education to reduce these numbers than it would have had otherwise. So regardless of the think tank western media’s agenda’s,they have helped us unknowingly.

    Reply
  6. Anita  January 30, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    I do not agree with the statement, “Anyone who cares to find out will discover that rape is not the culture in India”. A woman traveling alone by bus or train within the North will quickly find out that it is acceptable to grope her as the mentality tends to be “she is asking for it”. This sort of sexual abuse and mentality can easily escalate to rape given any sort of resistance by the woman and encouragement by other men. What does make India stand out is the corrupt police system that not only tolerates this mentality but encourages it. Many women are afraid to report these crimes to the police for fear of being attacked by the police themselves. Another distinction within the culture of India is the reluctance to talk about sex crimes in general. I believe real change can only come through international pressure as changing the corruption within the police system as well as encouraging conversation be initiated within Indian society on its own.

    Reply
  7. Anita  January 30, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    * correction *
    I believe real change can only come through international pressure as changing the corruption within the police system as well as encouraging conversation will not easily be initiated within Indian society on its own.

    Reply
  8. Gopal  February 16, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Very rightly said by the author. I am currently living in Germany and I was talking to a German colleague of mine recently and then we hit on the topic of rapes in India. She was surprised and taken aback when I told her that the rape capital of the world is Sweden and is in Germany’s neighbourhood. I have also lived in Singapore for some time and moved with a lot of non-Indians in my profession. When talking to people, there is one truth that stood out. People like verbally bashing India and Indians, and that too in front of Indians, without even thinking for a second about whether they know what they are talking about. I have even gotten into arguments a couple of times, but after that realised that there is no use arguing. It is mainly because the Western media cannot really see one of their ex-colonies coming up in a big way. And moreover, Indians are now pretty much everywhere in the world and everyone is coming face-to-face with Indians in one way or the other. And we are brainy, for sure. Hence, it’s also a manifestation of their insecurity in a tangential way.

    Reply

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