The sinister motive behind media focus on rapes in India

Judging from media reports, India has a BIG problem with rape. No other country seems to come even close. All over the globe “another rape in India” is reported ever so often.  On my last visit to Germany, I jolted when on 27. December 2013 the most popular TV news ended with “another gang rape in India”. It was one of only five topics of the 15 minutes broadcast.

Even my sister wondered how a gang rape in India made it to the main news in Germany. That same day in a conservative estimate, over a thousand rapes would have been committed all over the world.  In the USA some 200, in South Africa some 170. In the western cities, the statistics show a high percentage, much higher than in India. Many of those rapes would have been gang rapes. In many cases, the girl or woman would have been killed. Behind each of those statistical figures are painful, heartrending stories. If we knew what is happening at this very moment on this earth – how much pain humans inflict on other humans and on animals – we could not bear it.  With so much crime happening everywhere, why is India being singled out and shamed with “another gang rape”, when it actually has only a fraction of the crimes other countries have in relative numbers? In absolute numbers of course it would be no surprise if India with her huge population of four times the size of the United States were number one apart from China. Even then it is not number one. USA is.

The deluge of rape reports on India started with the shameful gang rape of a young woman, Jyoti, in a bus in Delhi on December 16th, 2012. Jyoti died. The six culprits were convicted. One committed either suicide (official version) or was killed by prison inmates. Four got death sentence. The sixth was a minor, six months short of his 18th birthday. He got away with 3 years in a reprimand home. As he allegedly was the most brutal of all and responsible for the death of Jyoti, efforts are on to try him as an adult.

This gang rape received unprecedented publicity. It reached national and local news all over the globe. It reached even a friend in Slovenia, who is usually oblivious of what is happening. Why was it broadcasted all over with such intensity? Was it because Indians protested in a big way and demanded harsh punishment? Those protests should have actually gone in favour of India, as they made clear that Indians consider rape as completely against their culture. But the opposite happened:

Ever since that December 2012, news on India have centered almost exclusively on “another rape” and even on the “rape culture of India”. One year later, the tragic story of Jyoti was again splashed over half a page in a local Nuremberg newspaper, and in its year-end- review, the Spiegel magazine did not feature anything about India, not even the Uttarakhand disaster with over 7000 dead, but – a group of victims of sexual abuse learning martial arts in Lucknow, ready to take on anyone who molests women. Obviously it was implied that such molesters are lurking at every corner.

India does have a problem with rape. Other countries also have this problem. Yet the exclusive focus by the world media on “rapes in India’ is not justified and raises suspicion of an agenda behind it. Articles appeared now, often written by Indians with Hindu names, that Indian (read Hindu) culture is to be blamed for the rapes, because it does not consider women as ‘autonomous entities’, which probably means that they can’t do what they want. The Washington Post proclaimed that sexual violence was endemic in India. The Reuters Trust Law group named India one of the worst countries in the world for women. A Harvard committee crafted strategies for ‘adolescent education’ to change the Indian mindset about gender. It was getting a bit much. Don’t westerners look at their own record – past and present – and compare it with that of India? Are they not ashamed?

Anyone who cares to find out will easily discover that rape is not in the culture of India, and women have a good, even respected position compared to other cultures or countries. This position may not be in tune with the view of feminists, but are feminists the measure of all things? Do those feminists believe that village women in India want to be like them? In my view, those feminists look pitiable in the eyes of those often very strong village women who see Sita as their ideal. The main anguish of those women is poverty, not gender roles.

To blame Hindu culture is preposterous to say the least. In fact, if Hindu culture would have prevailed and Christianity and Islam had never appeared on the scene, the world would be a better place. Christians and Muslims have traditionally used rape as a tool of war. For them, the ‘other’ was never worthy of any consideration and could be brutally raped and killed never mind if they were civilians. The Geneva Convention’s purpose is to stop this barbaric behaviour. Hindus never needed a Geneva Convention. They also fought wars, but they did not brutalize women or the civilian population.

The campaign to paint India blacker than it is sadly has worked. It is now a ‘fact’ for most foreigners (and for the convinced Indians) that Indian women have to live terrible lives, more terrible than anywhere else. No disagreeing possible. Everyone will shout you down with plenty of horrific examples. Yes, there are plenty of horrific examples and one needs to find out the reasons and find remedies. But individual criminals do not define a country, even less, if other countries have more of them. So why is India beaten with “another gang rape” again and again? Is the purpose to spoil the image of India? And if so, why?

In recent times, Indians have clearly made a mark. There is tremendous talent in the country. It is acknowledged that Indians have brains. This expresses itself in a new found confidence. ‘Western values’ are more likely to be scrutinized now and the ancient Hindu tradition is seeing a renaissance. The ‘established opinion’ that Christianity and Islam are any time better than Hinduism is being challenged. Modern western values are also more likely to be scrutinized and the west does not like it. The established opinions have power and this power seems to be used to malign India in a most unfair manner.

Rape is a delicate subject and whoever tries to place it into perspective is likely to get slaps from all sides, not least from the women’s groups. Not many will dare to state, that India has a problem, but not a bigger one than other countries, and does not need interference from the west in handling it. In fact, India has a great advantage. The family system is generally still strong especially among the masses who have escaped English education. Celibacy before marriage is still valued and not ridiculed. Romantic love is still seen for what it is – a temporary emotion and not a solid basis for a lifelong companionship. Compromise among family members and even sacrifice are not yet condemned as restricting individual freedom. Sita is still an ideal for most Hindu women. Bhakti, love for God, can still be expressed.

The fact that these values are still strong is not appreciated by western opinion makers. Those values are considered out of sync with the Zeitgeist. They pose a challenge to the western lifestyle which is being pushed into India. ‘Modern, western values’ mean for example (I learned this from an article in a German magazine) to live in rainbow or patchwork families, Those families will either have homos as ‘parents’ or children from different partners as the parents would have had several live-in relationships earlier. It is supposed to be a great learning experience for everyone. A book will soon be out in Germany that examines whether homo marriages make better ’parents’ than the traditional man–woman combination. It is overlooked, that homo ‘parents’ can’t produce children together. But then, who needs children in the west?

Traditional Indian society is clearly out of sync with this modern lifestyle and to portray it in a poor light, “another rape” makes headlines every other day. Care is taken that only rapes committed by men with Hindu names reach the limelight and are discussed on TV. India has some 200 million Muslims and some 50 million Christians and they also commit rapes and very cruel ones, as well. For example the minor in the rape case of Jyothi is a Muslim. This news, however, did not make it to the mainstream media. There seems to be communalism in regard to broadcasting crimes, and maybe even in registering them. This makes sense, if the objective is to demean Hindu culture and thereby propel it to reform and open up. It is expected to leave those old fashioned family values behind, to have condom vending machines in colleges, to consider free sex as normal. What better start than to talk of rape? It prepares the ground for allowing westerners to prepare the syllabus for ‘adolescent education’. And once the youth is convinced, the ‘backward’ Hindu society will be a thing of the past.

This prospect would be a horror for the Indian masses from all religions. Hindu society is indeed rigid in certain aspects and has much scope to improve, but its values are still highly preferable to western, modern ‘values’. One just needs to look at western societies to realise that the modern life style is a failed model. It has already regrettable fallout: many youngsters are without direction because of too much freedom. They long for clear rules and turn to fundamentalist, evangelical churches. Hindu Dharma would be the better option. But they are not likely to get to know about it in an unbiased manner.

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  • Aragon Clavon

    So, in the end it is a conspiracy of the west on one of the most oldest civilizations of the east and why so, because the west believes that the Indians are indeed intelligent and sooner than later are going to demand their place in the sun, so let us malign them to an extent that they cannot anymore regroup and hurt the west and this is what the article explains us.

    So the author has not yet realized that all the hyped Rape cases appearing in foreign media are entirely of the making of foreign media and the Indian media are none to be responsible for the current state of affairs, that Indian media is not at all biased towards one political party and this political party is not at all trying to reap rich dividends in the coming general elections based on their Womenifesto.

    Everything and anything that happens in India is foreign in origin; just like it was for last 1000 years. Just as the Muslim invaders who attacked India 1000 years before and ruled India for 600 years is actually their own fault for invading and ruling India. And similarly if British ruled India for 350 years it is still the fault of british and not at all because Indians are easy to be divided in to political groups based on many factors but not limiting to their religions, castes, and lately by gender. That Indians are highly jealous of their neighbor envy is not at all a issue here, that we would rather fall as group than survive as individuals is not at all the case, it is simply the conspiracy hatched by western media who apparently have nothing better to report than Indian news stories and they are doing all this because Indians are brainy and they are hard working and they are coming at the westerns with an ever depreciating rupee value which incidentally touched 68 rupees for one dollar not quite long ago.

  • Jitendra Sharma

    Yes It is a sinister design …all are after Hinduism…Because they fear it..they take it as their enemy in hegemony….All Hindus for the sake of your Vedanta Culture… sink your differences ..become ONE..otherwise …your progenies …maybe anybody…but a HINDU

  • LauraDavids

    Of course this article raises many points, but I will comment on aspects of them that I believe are in need of reexamining. First, my background: I have lived in India for nine months and traveled on my own extensively. I turn away from generalizations based on my limited experience–and the fact that India is hugely diverse in terms of religion, language, level (or not) of globalization, level of education, etc. However, I have been treated well and warned well. I was also in Delhi when Jyoti was attacked and murdered, and I saw Indians who formerly would not have demonstrated on this kind of event, do go out and have vigils, etc.

    Now, my research scholars (men and women in their late twenties who hail from diverse castes and families) all urged me not to travel alone. The women of this group will also not travel alone due to their perception of eve-teasing (etc.). Yes, there is groping and yes, there is rape, including that of children, which I did not see this article address.

    So, here are my points: while there is respect for most women, you can see evidence of this not happening all over the place. I even had one man who lives in Delhi express his disgust at his fellow men for the way they looked at women (and that look is one that objectifies women, does not view them as equal human beings). There is much in aspects of the Indian culture that both appreciated and respects women and there is much that does not. Now, what I take most offense at this this statement by the writer: “T his position may not be in tune with the view of feminists, but are feminists the measure of all things? Do those feminists believe that village women in India want to be like them? In my view, those feminists look pitiable in the eyes of those often very strong village women who see Sita as their ideal. The main anguish of those women is poverty, not gender roles.:

    Let’s look at that more closely. First, the writer is slamming a group (which often includes men) without showing much understanding of what feminisms (note the plural) can be seen to be about. Feminists are not women who don’t wear bras and hate men. Feminists are people who see the value in BOTH sexes (all people) having equality and equal voices. The prior statement shows such dislike, disinterest, and misinformation that it highlights failures of this article. It also highlights sloppy thinking. The writer notes “the main anguish of those women is poverty, not gender roles.” Well, what about gender roles REDUCES them to limited circumstances, including poverty? Could it be they are nothing if not married? Could it be that some men, when they get hold of family income, are more likely to spend it on something inappropriate like drinking than women? (Note: there is tons of research on how if you provide opportunities for women they lift the household economically, etc.) I won’t go on except to say this: it’s a complicated topic and when you blame the west (not looking at male/female ratio, nomadic folks in the city often adrift from their moral compass, or family, etc.) and you essentially blame feminism (with a poor understanding of it), you do not encourage solutions or good thinking.

  • Rina Mukherji

    I do agree that there is a bias in reporting on India in the West. And racism does work in a very subtle manner against Hinduism and Indians in the US and Europe. However, one can never deny that single women travelling in most parts of India, and particularly the Hindi belt, are never totally safe. I have travelled the length and breadth of this country, and abroad, and know how tough it is. Rape may be an extreme act, but molestation, and street sexual harassment is extremely common. This kind of behaviour is never the norm in the Far East, the Americas or Europe. We certainly need to clean up our act, moat particularly in cities like Delhi, which , unfortunately , happens to be the national capital, and hence, representative of the Indian nation. Perhaps, better governance, better transport infrastructure, and a more sensitive judiciary, might ultimately make a big difference for all us women.

    • anurag

      ma’m , i dont think anyone is denying tht safety of women is an issue in india nowadays.. the point is it is also an issue elsewhere and blown out of proportion by media in case of india with much detrimental effect.. it is indians who should b criticising indians and making way fr the bttr, western criticism is hypocrisy at the least and racism at the worst.. definitely even if no one would admit it the media is heavily influenced by missionary elements of both muslims and christians and they work subtly to malign hinduism which is a far bttr religion on any level.

  • If you read Rajiv Malhotra’s Breaking India, Dharampal’s Beautiful Tree, Arun Shourie’s False Gods and other writings on how westerners view India and Hindu thought, one would realise that it is all about indoctrination with domination as an end. It is sad but Indians have been fed and have come to believe that they are inferior. It all started with the invasions. The British however were the most successful in breaking the Indian spirit. They broke the hold of the vernacular system in the cities, made the pursuit of English and an English education as the most important object in one’s life. How ironical that universal education came into existence in England only in the late 19th- early 20th century. India had a vibrant village education system when the British took control! The biggest problem was lack of the historical narrative by Indians who did not belong to the left leaning elites.

    And now the West is selling their idea of an ideal society where the rights of the individual is more important than that of the family. Why? That’s part of the marketing strategy of multinationals. Don’t believe me?? Just take a look at the latest ad by Nestle. Instead of selling the product direct, Nestle has projected its ideas of how a nuclear family deals with friction between an adopted child and a natural one and connected this up with its product! Any young adult watching this ad would think ‘wow! so cool!! only mncs are caring and up to date and politically correct!! ‘ What crap!!

    Look at all the ads on mobiles. Most do not talk about the product directly but sell a lifestyle which is mostly about the me generation. So why would youngsters not demand ‘me! me! me!’

  • any comparable real stats to back up the indian rape culture vs the world?

  • JB

    Really really appreciate the Article and the great mind behind uncovering the intentions behind it. Crime is part of every society and no society, culture, religion, country is free of Crime but Feminists & huge feminist funding across the globe have conveniently converted Crimes into Gender Crimes, result of which, India has 49 Anti-Male Laws. The absurdity of such laws is that:
    > Domestic Violence Law only allows Women as a Victim and only Men as perpetrators. Vice-a-versa is not covered in Law
    > CrPC 125 Maintenance Law only allows Women to take Maintenance from Men. Vice-a-versa is not covered in Law
    > Adultery Law only allows Wife to file case on Husband. Vice-a-versa is not covered in Law. Husband can ONLY file case against the other guy, but not his wife
    > Dowry law gives immunity to the Dowry giving girl.
    > India does not see Custody of child being given to father even if the Character of the wife is proven which can have criminal effects on upbringing of the child
    > Custody battles go for long with women using children as tool to extort from their Husbands and system supports women in doing that
    > Rape law does NOT allow Men to be victim & only allows them to be perpetrators. Meaning, a man who is raped has NO law in India
    > Sexual Harassment at Workplace Law again covers ONLY female victims and does NOT allow a Man to file a complaint
    > Similarly, all other new laws of harassment, acid attacks, vouyerism etc etc. do NOT allow a Man to be a victim

    India for sure should Patriarchal ……….. RIGHT?

    Thankfully, there are few organization in India who work and stand up for Men and their families.

  • Om

    Appreciate the way the author put the perspective.

    But she has solely focused on Hindu and Indian family culture!!

    In metros, in big cities and in even towns, that is slowly crumbling apart. Consider Bangalore.

    Divorces are happening rapidly. Bangalore, one of the most westernized cities, is next only to Delhi in terms of divorce? Hindu culture a reason – for or against ??? Absurd!

    Bangalore, also one of the most affluent city, is the suicide capitcal in India. Highest number of suicides happening here. Hindu culture? Come on!!

    Children are going fatherless (worldwide it is the pattern nowadays that mothers only get custody for decades now). Again Hindu culture targeted or Indian tradition targeted??? Absurd again…

    Husbands & his entire family targeted in Indian system since 1983 based on a law called 498A- which is completely fraud. Hindu culture or Indian tradition?? The number of husbands falsely going to jail will put any rape statistics in any country to shame.

    Feminism, pseudo liberal mentality, sleeping with many men – as much as possible, child out of wedlock –> are the norms now days. From Australia to Germany, from USA to Jap, it is turning things upside down.

    Ironically, it is men who are propagating these…who are these men – like the Shashi Tharoors of India or Barack Obamas of the US – whose wives are already dead or have no relationship with the husband.

    It is not Hindu culture per se – but world has made men worthless and it is men who are leading the charge to make other men worthless, along with many women who happy to junk any men – as they themselves are divorced or single or child out of wedlock or suffering from mental diseases. Cometh a war, everything will change in favour of men. History has taught that men are the idiotic and foolish gender of the two.

    And it is going to be the way. In India, it is far worse as Indian males are the most chauvinists ones – they think they are in charge of rest 50% of women – as long as he himself is not firing line. Shame. And it is going much more worse.

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  • Maria…Brilliant stuff…Are u on twitter btw?

    • I am on twitter but not (yet?) tweeting, just to follow some.

  • Regarding how tourists see India, I would like to share a comment by Adriana made on 28.1. 14 on my blog to this article. Here it is:

    This reminds me of a conversation from a couple of weeks back. I was planning to visit India with a friend. But my aunt convinced us that India is unsafe. She recommended Spain instead. When we turned to Google, this story turned up – [British tourist, 31, brutally gang-raped metres from Spanish holiday apartment](
    A couple of searches later, we found the [British Behavior Abroad]( report for 2013. It says that 31 British tourists were raped in Spain last year. Another 39 were sexually assaulted! We’re talking about the tourists of just one nationality. And we’re talking about a single year! For India, it was 0 rapes and 1 sexual assault (the notorious case of the woman who jumped from her hotel window to escape a sexual assault). There is no under-reporting because these figures are from reports to British embassy, not Indian police.
    That said, I’ve heard from some Indian acquaintances that India IS more unsafe than most of America and Europe (including Spain). We’re visiting Seychelles this Feb!

  • Udit Gupta

    very well thought out Ma’am, i guess large share of the blame must be ascribed to our main stream media…. whenever crime happens in other countries media over there believes in factual reporting with authentic information but in India media simply believes in sensationalizing the issue for TRP purposes…. and then of course as you pointed out earlier as well being Anti-Hindu as become sort of fashion in this nation…..

  • Veeru

    Thanks for a great insight, nobody seems to be paying attention to the fact that US has almost 15 times more rapes happening annually if you compare with India. This is a very significant stat because US has only 1/4th of population compared to India, but they got 4 times more police force. Simple conclusion, more police force doesn’t mean less crime, it only happens due to the mindset. Thanks to our family system and our great mothers who teach values to their children,

  • Thank you for a balanced and sensitive article on this most horrible aspect of ‘modern’ living. I have never been able to understand why there is this need to put down some tradition…if the West leaves Hindus alone we will never interfere to impose our values on them…as it is we have this notion of allowing noble thoughts to come to us from all sides…that is the recommended path as stated in the Rig Veda…and yet, Hindus are slowly losing their customs and traditions and think they should ape the West. Like you mention, if the so-called ‘youth’ is swayed then half the battle to stamp out Hindu values is won. It is a despairing situation for mothers like me with growing daughters…what do we ‘impose’? How do we convince our English educated youngsters, to whom we have given the ideas of freedom of thought, of the wealth of values in our traditions?