By Janet Allon · 17 Jun 2014
India has a horrific rape and violence against women problem, which came to international attention after a medical student was raped, tortured and murdered on a bus in 2012. Just recently two girls were found hanging from a tree after being raped in Uttar Pradesh. Last week brought news of police officers themselves being accused of gang raping a woman who came to a police station in Uttar Pradesh to inquire about her husband's release.
Alas, in India as in (other countries), even some political leaders and other public speakers say horrific things about rape. Some of these will be familiar: "Boys will be boys," and "She asked for it," are refrains used to blame and shame sexual assault victims worldwide. Some of them, as the Times of India reports, are not only repulsive, but downright bizarre.
The list, slightly edited from the Times:
No one commits rape intentionally — Chhattisgarh's home minister Ramsewak Paikra: On Saturday, the minister had to say the following thing about rapes: "koi jan bujhkar nahi karta, dhoke se ho jata hai dushkarm (No one commits rape intentionally. It happens by mistake)."
Police cannot deter rapes — Babulal Gaur: Only Babulal Gaur can understand what he meant by saying that no one but God can stop rapes. He went to absolve government machineries such as the police of any responsibility when it comes to curbing the incidence of rapes. "I said police cannot deter rapes, but can take action only after it has been reported. Rapes occur within closed doors or in isolated places. Without prior information, how can police prevent crime?"
Boys will be boys — Mulayam Singh Yadav: The SP supremo's comment that "boys will be boys"and that they "make mistakes"should go down in history as the example of a leader who has little or no concern about the life-altering consequences of rape. Addressing a rally in Moradabad, Mulayam had said that, "Rape accused should not be hanged. Men make mistakes." He had added that, "When their friendship ends, the girl complains she has been raped."
It's not as if you faced any danger — Akhilesh Yadav: Although UP's chief minister did not say anything directly condescending about the plight of rape survivors and victims, he did showcase his insensitivity when reacting to the recent case of gang rape and murder of 2 dalit sisters in Badaun. Questioned by reporters over the inexcusable rise in violence against women in Uttar Pradesh, an edgy Akhilesh Yadav on Friday shot back at the journalists, "Aapko toh khatra nahin hua? (It's not as if you faced any danger?)"
TV brings vulgarity into homes — SP MP Ram Gopal Yadav: Yadav, who is also Mulayam Singh Yadav's son said that the media was tarnishing the image of the country, and UP in particular, by blowing the Badaun gang rape and murder case out of proportion. He also blamed television for bringing vulgarity into homes and "polluting young minds".
Even the woman is guilty —Abu Azmi: Another Samajwadi party leader and father-in-law of actor Ayesha Takia, Abu Azmi had gone to the extent of saying that those women who get raped should be hanged and also that just because by virtue of the fact that married women have extramarital sex (when they get raped!), they should be punished along with the rapist. "Rape is punishable by hanging in Islam. But here, nothing happens to women, only to men. Even the woman is guilty."
Dented-painted women — Congress MP Abhijit Mukherjee (President Pranab Mukherjee's son): The president's son is the one who made the phrase 'dented-painted' famous. By 'dented-painted'Abhijit Mukherjee was making a reference to the women who had come out in large numbers to protest the gruesome and horrific gang rape that took place on December 16, 2012. He had said that these, "sundari, sundari mahila (pretty, pretty women)", at the agitation, "walking on the streets with candles", were not students. Students, he said, were different.
Rapes occur in India, not Bharat — RSS's Mohan Bhagwat: According to RSS supremo Mohanrao Bhagwat rapes occur only in the cities and not in rural India (various statistics point to the fact that 75% of all rapes take place in rural India). "You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gang-rape or sex crimes. They are prevalent in some urban belts. Besides new legislations, Indian ethos and attitude towards women should be revisited in the context of ancient Indian values," Bhagwat had said.
(Rape accusation) was concocted to malign the government — The claim of an Anglo-Indian woman that she was raped in a car in a posh locality in Kolkata was met by the following comment from West Bengal's chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, which hinted that the case from "sajano ghotona (concocted incident) to malign the government".
Western culture is responsible for rapes — Shankaracharya of Puri Swami Nischalananda Saraswati: The seer clearly holds 'western culture' responsible for rapes. "There is need to change this. Before Independence we were able to maintain our culture and values, but in the last 65 years we have lost a great part of it. Such horrific incidents don't happen all of a sudden. They happen when the thin line of culture and values are crossed in the name of civilization and development."