Monday, December 31, 2012

2011: 24,206 rapes in India, trending upwards

The authorities in New Delhi ("rape capital") represents a culture of depravity where the brutal gang rape and murder of 23 year old woman was met with a ho hum attitude. [In Indian student's gang rape, murder, two worlds collide].

Worse yet they thought they could ignore the initial outrage that grew into a national outrage that still continues. And bent on continuing to make it even worse still - they treated protesters as criminals.
Just how much did these politicians and civilian authorities believe the populace would bear? Reuters had this:
"Last year, a rape was reported on average every 20 minutes in India. Just 26 percent of the cases resulted in convictions, according to the National Crime Records Bureau, which registered 24,206 rapes in 2011, up from 22,141 the previous year."
And what kind of people, five men and a teenager from the city's slums, gang rape and torture a woman "to teach her a lesson?" What kind of lesson? Can this event be singled out as extra-ordinary and fault laid at the feet of slum culture?

It is ironic that the world's largest democracy has so much of its population wallowing in slums. And in some way they seem proud of it. Tours of the slums are a major tourist attraction. See this lead in paragraph from a travel site:
"Ever interested in how people survive and live their life in slums? Delhi has quite a few tours offering slum walk, though in different forms. The duration of these tours vary from 45 minutes to three hours and each one of them shows you Delhi's underbelly. The slum walk could be an eye opener for a western tourist."
But see this New York Times story In Indian Slum, Misery, Work, Politics and Hope.  The focus is on the slum, Dharavi, in Mumbai, India, and characterizes the slum as consisting of four layers: misery, work, politics, and hope. The point is that a slum environment doesn't necessarily produce the likes of those who gang-raped, tortured and murdered a 23 year old middle class professional.

Surely - it cannot be denied that those on the bottom layer of misery have their situation compounded by population density, lack of work, failure of politics and lost hope. But to sink to the depths of despair that unleashes such savagery cannot be said to result from slum living.

There is more to it.  It is a disdain for women that pervades Indian society. See this from BBC News - Women's tales from brutal Delhi where the author Soutik Biswas writes:
 "The mistreatment and abuse of women is a particular problem in Delhi and northern India. A stiflingly patriarchal social mindset, a brazen culture of political power, a general disdain for law, a largely insensitive police force and a rising population of rootless, lawless migrants are only some of the reasons. There must be many others."
"So if you are a woman - unless you are very rich and privileged - you are more likely to face indignity and humiliation here."
Sadly the truth is found at the beginning of his article:
"Another day, another rape, another round of outrage. Yet, more than 630 rapes later this year so far, nothing much will really change."