[TW – Rape]
It’s nearly a year since Nirbhaya was raped and murdered. 10 months to be precise. So what’s changed since then?
According to new government figures there have been 1,330 rapes in Delhi in the 10 months since January compared with 706 for the whole of 2012.
Sexual assaults increased more than three fold from 727 last year to 2,844 this year. Sexual harassment, known in India as ‘Eve-teasing’, kidnapping of women, and attacks on brides by husbands and in-laws also increased significantly.
Some may say that this is an increase.
Some may say it’s copy cat attacks.
Some may say that it’s due to Chow Mein.
I say it is progress. These were things that happened behind closed doors. I don’t think that Indian society and Indian men have renewed attempts to harass and molest and rape women but Indian women have decided to report more and more such cases and seek justice.
The total number of actual rape cases may not have gone up but attitudes towards rape may have changed encouraging more women to come forward and not remain in silence. To the tune of nearly a 100% increase. India has certainly not become less safe in the area I live and if anything it is becoming more safer. This means that this is just an acceptance of rape as a crime rather than a shocking slight to honour that must be hidden away.
So what does this mean? Unless India loses it’s ties with the culture of rape and sexual harassment and starts genuinely valuing it’s women to the extent of boys rather than “as girls” (and vice versa) we will see rape and sexual harassment being more or less a fixture of India.
Things are happening and the people who decry it are those who fear that their way of life is changing. I feel that last year’s rape was the watershed event in India’s treatment of women and a mainstreaming of feminism in India.