Five Reasons Men Get Away With Rape in India
Police Don’t Do Anything
No woman in India is going to try to report sexual harassment when they’re almost 100% sure nothing will result from it. Indian police seem to be the weakest or the most ignorant when it comes to cases involving women. Whether they are being bribed, think it’s not a major problem in India, or simply don’t care is unknown. A great example of this is when a woman in Delhi reported a case against a man who sexually harassed her. New York Times states, “Not long after telling the police that she had been raped, a woman from South Delhi looked out her apartment window and saw the man who had attacked her laughing with an officer who had given him a ride back from the police station.” Indian police are the last ones that should be ignorant to these vulnerable women being sexually harassed. Women need the protection of police to make sure the man gets the highest penalty possible to get some closure. The job of the police is to protect the citizens, not their own pockets.
Being Held Responsible
Victims of rape should not be held responsible! Women should be able to dress the way they please, but not be blamed when they are sexually harassed. Men rape woman not their outfits. When women go to court to report a rape case, they are asked irrelevant and ridiculous questions such as, “How could the daughter of a good family have gone to cover the demolition?” “Did you smoke?” “What kind of clothes were you wearing?” In the past 60 years, rape incidents increased 873% in India, and victim blaming has only made it harder to create change.
Dishonoring Family’s Reputation
Women live in the constant fear that by reporting a rape incident they will be dishonoring their family. This is the family’s fault if their daughter believes this. How can parents blame their own daughter for being a victim of a rape incident? An unfortunate young woman who has just been raped can only want the support of her parents, especially knowing that in today’s society almost no one else will support her. After such a tragic event the only thing a woman wants is her family’s support; and, when she can’t get support, she understandably isn’t going to fight for her rights. A big issue in India is the parents’ reaction to rape attacks on their daughters. They immediately worry about the consequences of what their neighbors might think. The next-door neighbor’s opinion of their daughter shouldn’t matter because what’s more important is their own daughters’ image of them.
Honor killings happen when a woman is raped or is said to have participated in illicit sexual activity. When a woman is probably under much duress, her family helps her out by taking away her life for “dishonoring the family.” Although it is nearly impossible to get an accurate number of honor-killings in India, because they are often disguised as suicides or accidents, Nirmala Samant Prabhavalkar of India’s National Commission for Women (NCW) makes a good point, “Killing is killing. It is unconstitutional and illegal, it’s an offence. There is no ‘honor’ in killing.” Men aren’t “honor-killed” for raping a woman, but the woman, being the victim in the situation, is, all because she “shamed” her family. How? By daring to step out of her house, knowing that she didn’t have the protection of a male?
Adolescent Wives/Marital Rape
Adolescent marriages in India are a huge factor in preventing proper consequences for rape. The Hindu reports:
Adolescent wives are most vulnerable, reporting the highest number of marital sexual violence in any age group. Adolescent girls also account for 24 per cent of rape cases in the country, although they represent only 9 per cent of the total women population. An estimated 2·5 million adolescent girls [between 15 and 19 years] are victims of sexual violence in India.
These statistics are overwhelming to say the least, and deserve to be addressed because this cannot be the society that future adolescent girls live in.
Adolescent marriages need to be completely stopped in India. Marriage should not be forced on a woman who has yet to start her life. A large number of the rape incidents occurring in India are of adolescents who are marrying at ages completely unsuited for it.
Men begin to think they “own” the woman after marriage and can do anything with her. This is wrong and young women need to learn to speak up and stop men from taking advantage of them. This message needs to be passed to every adolescent woman in India because the first step to stopping the repeatedly occurring rape incidents is to get women to do something about it. Only when more women start to report their ignorant husbands will they actually get a response. Men should fear the consequences of trying to take advantage of any woman, whether it is a stranger on the street or their own wife.
What makes adolescent marriage and/or rape even more devastating and ridiculous is when what every woman fears, happens. After a woman has been ripped of her dignity, the first thing that she worries about is whether or not she gets pregnant. This goes for adolescents who are being raped by their husbands and for those who silently let it happen fearing the consequences of speaking up.
Women in their twenties are much less likely to die during childbirth or pregnancy than girls under 15, who are five times more likely. Young women are clearly not meant to have babies when they themselves have barely learned to live on their own. A 15-year-old girl cannot raise a child when her mother is still in the process of raising her.
Marital rapes need to be recognized under the law in India in order for women to have the ability to escape such a dreadful marriage. Men won’t fear the consequences of marital rape when there aren’t any. Even after the huge tragic gang rape last year of a woman, who faced a brutal death, only last week did India make its sexual assault legislation stronger. However, a man who rapes his wife still isn’t punished under the law.
The Indian government is making it seem as if this huge felony is not even something that needs to be recognized. For their information, the definition of the rape is described as, “the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse or any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.” There is absolutely no part of that definition that says, “Unless they are married.” Women have the same rights they did before they got married and they are entitled to report their sexually abusive husbands or at the least divorce them.
Women need some type of guarantee that there is a way they can get proper closure so they speak up and don’t stay silent. Future generations of women need to be thought about as well because India’s current society for women is not one that should continue. Sexual harassment shouldn’t be the future of the daily life for a woman. No mother wants their daughter to grow up in India’s current patriarchal system for women; and, in order for things to change, they have to be the ones to take actions and make sure their daughters never even have to face such cruel incidents.[Image Attribute: nevil zaveri cc]