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]
Just weeks after the death of a 23-year-old woman named Jyoti Singh Pandey, who was brutally gang raped on a bus — assaulted with a metal rod which required the removal of her intestines — another woman has been gang raped in India. Police say a 29-year-old woman was gang raped on Friday night by seven men, including a bus driver who drove past her stop, took her to a deserted area, and attacked her. Keep reading »
Her name was Jyoti Singh Pandey.
She was a 23-year-old medical school graduate. She was physically attacked and gang raped in Delhi, India, while riding on a bus home. Her attackers shoved a metal rod inside her, so badly damaging her insides that her intestines needed to be removed. Doctors in Singapore, where she had been flown for treatment, could not save her from her injuries, and she died on December 28.
Today her father has come forward with her name, Jyoti Singh Pandey. He does not want his daughter to die an anonymous victim. Keep reading »
My son turns six next week, and among all the other wishes I have for him, I have a silent hope that won’t be shared at his birthday party. It’s one that swims in the depths of my mind, surfacing occasionally when awful things happen that force me to think about it: I wish and hope and pray that my son won’t grow up to be a rapist.
I know that sounds horrible and not a wish a mother of a six year old should even have in the back of her mind, let alone flashing loud and red and painful throughout it. But I can’t help it. We live in a society that is steeped in rape culture, no matter how many people refuse to acknowledge that reality. My worry was driven home more forcefully after watching a video that Anonymous posted online of Steubenville High School students talking about the rape of a 16-year-old fellow student. This case is heartbreaking enough — the victim was sexually assaulted while drunk and unconscious, only to have the photographic proof of her rape spread all over various social media outlets. Her attackers, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, two football players for the high school’s team The Big Red, were let off relatively lightly, subjected to being under house arrest. However, the victim was also punished, forbidden by the judge in the case from sharing any details of the case, essentially re-victimizing her. Keep reading »
As expected, murder charges were filed today against five men accused of brutally gang-raping a woman on a New Delhi bus. The sixth suspect, a teenager, will see his case handled separately. The men were also charged with rape and other crimes, a list expected to include kidnapping, robbery, and assault, theNew York Times reports. The combination could result in the death penalty, which is rare in India. Also rare in India: The trial will be fast-tracked. (Click for more details that have leaked from the filing.) Read more…
Last week was a heavy one for the people of India. One Wednesday, a 17-year-old girl who had been gang raped committed suicide because police were dragging their feet in bringing her justice. Then, on Friday, a 23-year-old woman who had been gang raped and brutally beaten died from her injuries, which included head trauma and having her intestines removed.
So today, I am not entirely surprised to read a piece about Indian women applying for gun licenses. Keep reading »