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A court in India found four men guilty of the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old New Delhi woman on December 16 last year. The victim, whose father identified her publicly as a medical student named Jyoti Singh Pandey, was attacked with a male friend on a moving bus and sexually assaulted with a metal rod. She was so badly injured that she had to be flown to Singapore to have her intestines removed. She eventually succumbed to her injuries. Singh Pandey’s murder was one of the first high-profile sexual assaults and murders of women and girls in India, which led to the country enacting tougher laws to punish rapists and hold police accountable for ignoring sexualized violence.
Her four attackers were convicted on 11 counts of rape and murder. (A fifth attacker committed suicide in prison and a sixth was under age 18 at the time of the gang rape and was sentenced to three years in a reformatory.) Their sentencing, which includes the possibility of hanging, will be handed down tomorrow. Singh Pandey’s family is pushing for the death penalty. [Toronto Star] [Photo of gavel via Shutterstock]
A 22-year-old photojournalism intern in Mumbai (Bombay), India, was brutally gang raped by five men last night, as her male friend was violently attacked. It’s yet another shocking act of sexual violence against women in India — a country fraught with high-profile acts of sexual violence against women and girls over the past year, several of them resulting in death. Keep reading »
The ongoing trial of Li Tianyi, a 17-year-old boy accused of participating in the gang rape of a woman in Beijing, spurred some vomit-inducing comments from Yi Yanyou, a professor at Tsinghua University. As the blog Shanghaiist reported, in defending the accused rapist, Yanyou posted to his Weibo account that since “a bargirl, a dancing girl, an escort or a prostitute” is more likely to consent to sex, it isn’t as bad to rape them. Keep reading »
On Sunday and Monday you’re binge-watching “Arrested Development,” I get it. But set your DVRs now for Tuesday night at 10 p.m. for “Outlawed In Pakistan,” a new documentary airing on the PBS program “Frontline.” The film by Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann, follows a teenaged girl named Kainat Soomro, who accused four men of gang rape at age 13 at great risk to her own life. Like other women who try to go through Pakistan’s justice system, she’s found herself being shamed, doubted, and threatened by a culture that blames the rape victim more than her perpetrators. One family member of one of Kainat’s accused rapists even told the two female filmmakers, “There will be murders over this.”
Over the past few months, India has been racked with high-profile gang rapes and deaths of little girls and women. From the three sisters under age 11 who were sexually assaulted and murdered to the student who was gang raped with a metal rod, which mangled her insides so badly it eventually killed her, the brutality of the country’s rape culture is horrific. One of the main problems with the rape culture in India has been placing the onus on the victim instead of the perpetrator — society as a whole, including police, had been blaming women for being out in public where they could be attacked, instead of punishing the men who hurt them.
The new laws aren’t perfect. First of all, as legal scholar Karuna Nundy for the BBC notes, the laws only protect the “modesty” of women, not boys, men or transgender folks. Additionally, marital rape is still legal (including if the wife is a minor ages 15 through 18) and homosexuality is still criminalized.
Alas, it is with cautious optimism that we welcome India’s new spate of laws criminalizing rape and other acts of violence which went into effect yesterday. Keep reading »