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.”
You can learn more about the film at PBS.org. It will air on Tuesday night and then be viewable online. I know I’ll be watching. [Frontline: Outlawed In Pakistan]
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 »
The trial of the five men accused of raping and murdering a 23-year-old on a New Delhi bus began today, after being put on a special fast-track, the BBC reports. No arguments were actually heard, however. The defense argued that the trial should be open to the public, a request the judge denied. Charges were then read, and the trial adjourned until Thursday, when opening arguments will take place. But first, the court will hear a defense motion seeking to move the trial, with the defense arguing that the accused can’t get a fair trial in the city the alleged rape took place in, the Telegraph reports. Read more …
“I was saddened and I was sickened. I literally felt nauseous. I’m from India and while [the attack] didn’t surprise me, it disgusted me … And it reminded me, it brought back to me all of those feelings of when I was walking in Delhi. I used to ride the bus in India to school and I hated it. I hated going on a crowded bus because they would always pinch you or grab you and, you know, when you’re a teenager … I went to school for some years in India and it was terrible …
There is no actual word for rape. The closest word [in Hindi, India's predominant language] is I guess ‘lootna,’ which kind of means to take someone’s honour away. But to say that because a woman has been violated she no longer has her chastity or her honour is missing the point. Therein lies the problem.”
– “Top Chef”‘s Padma Lakshmi, who is Indian-American, responds to the death of Jyoti Singh Pandey, a 23-year-old student in India who was gang raped with a metal rod and later from her injuries. Singh Pandey’s death was followed by another gang rape of a 29-year-old woman just this past weekend. I did not know until reading this quote from Padma that there was no actual word in Hindi for “rape,” which, as she pointed out, explains a lot. [Daily Chilli]