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Don’t Tell Women What to Wear, Tell Men not to Rape

There have been some horrific stories coming out of India — a place where rape and molestation are considered perfectly normal acts by many men. The latest terrible event was a young woman, raped with a metal rod that shredded her internal organs and resulted in her death, all for the ‘crime’ of being out after 10pm — an outcome excused by ‘experts’ because she resisted.

The promising sign, at least, is that people are marching in the streets to protest Indian rape culture. Avicenna was there, taking pictures; you should be following that guy, don’t you think?

Comments

  1. Tony the Queer Shoop (owner of the pink cotton ball of death) says

    I felt sick when I read how they raped her with that metal rod. The hell is wrong with them? She’s out late? So what. She should have been able to experience life on her own terms, rather than be limited in such sexist ways. I hope the men are found, tried and imprisoned. But I worry they won’t be.

  2. DLC says

    Thanks for the morning dose of depressing horrorshow. Anyone who would do something like that to another human being is not fit to continue to draw breath. Or, at least not to continue to exist outside of prison walls.

    I have always found the “if you don’t to get raped, don’t go out wearing ___________” argument to not only be ultimate fail, but also to be insulting to men as well as women. How bloody weak-willed are men supposed to be that they cannot resist raping a woman wearing anything less than a full-body coverage potato-bag of a suit ? The whole concept disgusts me.

  3. la tricoteuse says

    I’m never sure if it’s more or less shocking, more or less horrific, when women are raped with tools, rather than body parts. If nothing else, it highlights that the real goal is (I’ll qualify this with an “almost”) never the sex, but the power. It’s (almost) never really about the man getting off. It’s about hurting her. Humiliating her. Showing her that she’s at your mercy, and you can do what you like, all too often with impunity. It’s saying “this is what happens to women like you” (where “like you” can mean “attractive” or “unattractive”, “alone” or “recently seen in the company of a man”, “uppity”, “out at the wrong time” or “out at all”, “wearing the wrong clothes”, or any number of imagined slights including even just “existing while female”). It’s saying “I don’t even need the added bonus of a forcibly gained orgasm to enjoy and feel justified in hurting you this way.”

  4. Gregory Greenwood says

    The latest terrible event was a young woman, raped with a metal rod that shredded her internal organs and resulted in her death, all for the ‘crime’ of being out after 10pm

    I feel physically sick after reading that, not too mention deeply ashamed that I share a gender and a species with the sick (yet sadly all too human) monsters who did this.

    What the hell is wrong with these arseholes? What kind of person even contemplates forcing an iron bar into someone else’s body, let alone actually doing it? There is no justification for any rape, but when you hear that this was done merely because she was out a bit late and in the company of a man it makes it even more terrible due to the arbitrary use of such horrific violence for no reason at all. The attackers have clearly been warped by some aspect of patriarchal society to the point where they really do place no value on the life of women whatsoever.

    This is one of those things that really does make me despair for the future of our species.

  5. bubba707 says

    There was a news story I saw on, I believe, Fark, where the mother of one of the perps said her son should hang as he deserved it. I got the impression the families of the perps have pretty much cut all ties and disowned them.

  6. dantelevel9 says

    There are many details of this crime that I was not aware of. (I didn’t need to know about the metal rod. Out damn images, out!) But I had heard that this occurred on a moving bus. So . . . where was the bus driver? Did he not think to stop? And what of the other passengers? The sound of bloody murder must have been deafening in that enclosed space. I’d also never heard about ‘Indian rape culture.’ I grimace whenever someone refers to American ‘gun culture.’ But rape culture? So many questions. On the other hand, my limited experience with Indian men here in the USA has made me wonder about them at times. An Indian colleague of my wife’s once hit on her at an office party after a few drinks. Nothing new there. But from her account it went well beyond a mere proposition and came very close to assault. It’s certainly not what I would have expected from such a soft-spoken, well educated guy. Perhaps the missing piece was the rape culture I’ve just now been made aware of.

  7. says

    Someone suggested that the solution is to ban men from going out after 8 PM. I am sure a lot of women would feel safe with that law! #Indianhumour

  8. Infophile says

    @7 dantelevel9:

    Rape culture isn’t unique to India by any means, though it’s a lot more blatant there than in the US. I recommend reading Rape Culture 101 to get a better grasp of the problem.

  9. Chuck says

    The title threw me a bit. Was the excuse for the rape because she was out after 10pm or because she was wearing immodest clothing? Or was the title more of a general comment on rape culture not necessarily touched on by this particular story?

    The rape itself is horrific. Almost as disturbing is the environment that allows someone to say something like, “If she had just surrendered immediately she wouldn’t have lost her intestine.” Maybe more disturbing because it’s that environment, that patronizing “I know what’s good for you” mindset that enables the rape in the first place.

  10. Beatrice says

    If I haven’t mixed up different cases, the driver was actually driving his friends around, no other passengers. They picked up the woman and her friend.

  11. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    If nothing else, it highlights that the real goal is … never the sex, but the power.

    Not entirely, La Tricoteuse. The lack of power is often the motive. ‘I have no power in most of my life and it hurts, but for now we [I think that the fact that gang rapes are often the most brutal is important] have power over you and we’re going to use it.
    According to many accounts the victim was educated and the rapists were not.

  12. says

    I’d also never heard about ‘Indian rape culture.’ I grimace whenever someone refers to American ‘gun culture.’ But rape culture? So many questions.

    I’m gonna make you grimace more, there is also an American rape culture:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/sports/high-school-football-rape-case-unfolds-online-and-divides-steubenville-ohio.html?pagewanted=all&_r=3

    Some residents and others on social media blamed the girl, saying she put the football team in a bad light and put herself in a position to be violated.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2012/08/fr-benedict-groeschel-on-child-sex-abuse-a-lot-of-cases-the-youngster-is-the-seducer/

    A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer.

    Or if you scroll a bit to PZ’s post “Piero Corsi continues that fine Catholic tradition…” you can see an example of Italian rape culture.

    Rape culture is not confined to India but is unfortunately widespread.

  13. Beatrice says

    Chuck,

    If you follow the link to Avicenna’s blog, you’ll see that one of the protesters had a sign saying “Don’t Tell Women What to Wear, Tell Men not to Rape”.

    How important the distinction between excuses like “she was out after 10pm” and “she wore immodest clothes” really is? They are often used in combination anyway, and they represent the same mindset.

  14. Beatrice says

    According to many accounts the victim was educated and the rapists were not.

    I don’t think the rapists knew the victim.

  15. Chuck says

    If you follow the link to Avicenna’s blog, you’ll see that one of the protesters had a sign saying “Don’t Tell Women What to Wear, Tell Men not to Rape”.

    Ah, that’s where it came from. Gotcha.

  16. says

    According to many accounts the victim was educated and the rapists were not.

    I don’t think the rapists knew the victim.

    No, but the markers of education do include going to movies with a boyfriend late at night. That sort of thing is something that uneducated women from rural India simply don’t do, as a matter of course.

    I also read something to that effect, that the class tensions in India (which are intense) may have played into this. It was in the Indian media. I shall search for the article.

  17. la tricoteuse says

    sc_numbermess @13:

    If nothing else, it highlights that the real goal is … never the sex, but the power.

    Not entirely, La Tricoteuse. The lack of power is often the motive. ‘I have no power in most of my life and it hurts, but for now we [I think that the fact that gang rapes are often the most brutal is important] have power over you and we’re going to use it.

    Er…that’s not really different from what I said, unless you’re confusing “goal” and “motive”. I’m not sure how “we have power over you now” could be called a lack of power. I understand the point that I THINK you’re trying to make, which is that the OTHERWISE lack of power is a motivation to exercise what (apparently little) power someone has whenever possible, but the fact that power over women might be the ONLY power such an individual has does not negate the fact that it is, in fact, power, and that it is power which the woman lacks.

  18. Dick the Damned says

    A friend recently told me that he was dealing with a difficult family situation in India. His mother-in-law had died, & left her estate to her daughters alone. Her sons were contesting this.

    He told me this just before the recent events there enlightened me to the rampant misogyny. (Okay, i guess i’d suppressed knowledge of the occasionally continuing practice of suttee.) I can now guess why she favoured her daughters.

    I do hope that the recent tragedy helps turn things around for women in India.

  19. says

    Maybe someone who has more expertise than me can help, but having looked into it it appears that no one has done a comprehensive survey of rape victims to assess how they were dressed. It’s too subjective anyhow, and the idea of measuring hemlines at the hospital is repulsive.

    What has been done is assessments by experts, and everyone agrees that rapists are looking to get away with it. They’ll go for the vulnerable looking victim no matter what she looks like or what she is wearing. And here’s the worst part. Women who look shy and overly covered up and sexually inexperienced? Vulnerable. Women in miniskirts and heels? They look like they’ll scream and go for the testicles. Not vulnerable. Figure it out.

  20. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    Well, a goal and a motive are completely different , La Tricoteuse. The rapists’ goal is to show their power; I think one important motive is their lack of power in the rest of their lives. To expand: the power the rapists had over their victim was only temporary- for a few minutes only. According to many accounts one aspect of caste power- much more powerful than mere class power, you can escape class, you can’t escape caste- in rural India includes the ‘right’ of upper caste men to demand sex from lower caste women, which would undoubtedly affect the behaviour of lower caste men elsewhere. It isn’t just a change in attitudes to women that is necessary but a complete cultural transformation..

  21. xenithrys says

    I read in the Telegraph on line that the rapists first harangued the victim for being out with a man who wasn’t her husband (she was single). That sounds familiar: very like the kind of thing the Taliban would say. And the bus was described as a private bus. I wondered if this was a religiously motivated mobile vigilante squad. Can anyone familiar with India tell me if that’s even likely?

  22. la tricoteuse says

    Is there any particular reason you keep restating my points as if I had said something completely different, or is it just for funsies?

  23. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    I don’t think the rapists knew the victim.

    Many Indians do ‘know’ Indians they have never met, Beatrice. They can idenrify caste, class and educational positions very rapidly. That may not be objectively true, but if people believe it is true, that’s what affects their behaviour.

  24. says

    @ la tricoteuse (nice handle, BTW!)

    I fully agree. When people say rape is about sex, my standard response is, why not just have sex then? In order to rape, the rapist must feel he has something to gain from overpowering and overcoming another person’s resistance. He may enjoy the sex as well, but without the element of “I’m doing this to you whether you like it or not,” he wouldn’t be a rapist.

  25. Randall Gross says

    Here are some horrifying statistics from Delhi, keep in mind that if this is the norm, then it’s probable that many more cases go unreported there than here:

    There has been only one conviction out of over 600 cases of rape reported to Delhi Police this year even as crime against women has been on the rise in the national capital.

    As many as 754 accused were arrested in the 635 cases reported to Delhi Police between January and November, the highest in past five years, home ministry data said.

    Of these total accused, only one was convicted while 403 were facing trials, investigations were pending against 348 and two others were discharged.

    A total of 572 rape cases were reported to Delhi Police last year as against 507 in 2010, 469 in 2009 and 466 in 2008.

    The Delhi Police arrested 745 accused last year. Of these, 18 were convicted, 34 were acquitted, 597 were facing trials in different courts, 86 were still being investigated and 10 were discharged for the crime.

    In 2010, out of 685 arrested accused, 37 were convicted and 107 were acquitted. Trials were going on against 518 accused and investigations were pending against 13 others, the data said.

    Whereas, a total of 675 and 604 persons were arrested for rape in 2009 and 2008 respectively. Of these, 82 were convicted in 2009 and 52 in 2008, the data said.
    From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Only-one-conviction-out-of-635-rape-cases-in-Delhi-this-year-reveals-home-ministry-data/articleshow/17819104.cms

  26. says

    The promising sign, at least, is that people are marching in the streets to protest Indian rape culture.

    Well, it’s very promising, but with one problem. Many of the protesters were holding signs that said, “Hang the rapist.” As barbaric and disgusting as rape is, it does not justify other acts of barbarism. I support the protesters only insofar as they oppose rape culture in India, but not in their proposed solution to it.

  27. la tricoteuse says

    @SallyStrange

    Thanks! Are you a fan of knitting, or of cheering on beheadings? :D (I admit that my ‘nym selection was more motivated by imagining myself shouting “off with their heads” at various annoying people’s metaphorical beheadings and giggling inwardly than anything else, though I have tried to learn to knit several times and always give up). /OT

    Anyway, yes. There are too many ways to have consensual sex (or, you know, just do it yourself if all else fails) for the sex itself to ever be the sole or even primary motivator. It’s just a bullshit argument.

  28. Ogvorbis: useless says

    A total of 572 rape cases were reported to Delhi Police last year as against 507 in 2010, 469 in 2009 and 466 in 2008.

    Well, obviously it is teh wimmenz fault! If they stopped reporting it, the numbers would go back down.

    [SNARK] — not aimed at Randall Gross but rather at the endemic rape culture in India. And the USA. And Italy. And, for that matter, the rest of the damned world.

  29. Beatrice says

    sc_numbers,

    Yeah, I was looking at it from a Europe-centric perspective, not taking into account the cultural and economical realities of India. A pretty stupid mistake on my part.

  30. says

    Thanks! Are you a fan of knitting, or of cheering on beheadings? :D (I admit that my ‘nym selection was more motivated by imagining myself shouting “off with their heads” at various annoying people’s metaphorical beheadings and giggling inwardly than anything else, though I have tried to learn to knit several times and always give up).

    Honestly, I was unaware that “tricoteuse” meant anything BUT “knitter.” I assume the other usage is from the French Revolution? That’s pretty cool.

  31. timothya1956 says

    Take a look at the composition of the street protests that followed the rape. It may be that the rising Indian middle class is beginning to demand an end to the entrenched culture of corruption (and rape). On a by-note, an Indian media report two days ago claimed that five members of the Lok Sabha are facing rape charges.

  32. bobo says

    I have been reading, and apparently one of the rapists was mad b/c she chose to fight back, so he *stuck his hand* into her vagina, ripped out her uterus and intestines, and then threw her out the bus…

  33. Ogvorbis: useless says

    bobo:

    [META]

    Some of us ’round these parts can be triggered by different things. One of the ways that the regulars try to minimize this is by giving a warning just above a paragraph/comment that is graphic and/or disturbing. It doesn’t always prevent the trigger but it is a polite thing to do.

  34. la tricoteuse says

    SallyStrange:

    Honestly, I was unaware that “tricoteuse” meant anything BUT “knitter.” I assume the other usage is from the French Revolution? That’s pretty cool.

    Yup! They were old women who hung around the guillotines alternately shouting and knitting. Apparently, they also did some storming of castles and the like, though I wouldn’t quote me on that.

    bobo@38

    I have been reading, and apparently one of the rapists was mad b/c she chose to fight back, so he *stuck his hand* into her vagina, ripped out her uterus and intestines, and then threw her out the bus…

    I…just…no. Just no. Jesus fuck people are vile.

  35. la tricoteuse says

    Addendum: ack. sorry. should have trigger-warninged the quote. Sorry sorry sorry. *hangs head*

  36. Ogvorbis: useless says

    Addendum: ack. sorry. should have trigger-warninged the quote. Sorry sorry sorry. *hangs head*

    No need to apologize. It is not a rule and I know that I forget sometimes.

  37. bobo says

    Ogbvorbis: Sorry, I thought it was a given considering that some of the horrible details were in PZ’s original post.

  38. Tethys says

    Sorry, I thought it was a given

    Bobo

    It is more considerate to leave the sordid detail behind the link (as PZ did) so that the readers can choose the level of sordid detail they wish to be aware of. I would love to remove that horrible detail from my brain, so in future please don’t make such thoughtless assumptions.

  39. bobo says

    Sorry Tethys. I already know that I am a horrible person, b/c sometimes my grammar is not perfect.

  40. bobo says

    And it was not behind the main link. It was right there on the main page. For everyone to see.

    And usually I do post trigger warnings, but I am still largely naive about this stuff. For some reason, this time, it did not click.

    Don’t hate me too much for an innocent mistake. I am sorry I can’t go back and edit my post.

  41. says

    A correction to be made… (TW)

    Outside the realm of Mortal Kombat it is practically impossible to rip out a woman’s uterus and intestines with your bare hands. Especially through the vagina…

    These are embellishments to make a gruesome murder even more gruesome. The forcible insertion of a iron rod damaged the vaginal war and cervix resulting in uterine and intestinal ruptures. This lead to peritonitis and death.

    It’s a rather problematic practice in India. People think it’s helping but it really just dilutes the truth with clearly silly embellishments which make people suspect the reality of an incident.

  42. says

    OT

    bobo

    Sorry Tethys. I already know that I am a horrible person, b/c sometimes my grammar is not perfect.

    You seem very preoccupied with your grammar, why? There are plenty of people here with English as a second (or third…) language that might not have perfect grammar (though English as a first language is no guarantee either) but it generally isn’t a problem. Sometimes a poster’s grammar will be so poor as to make their meaning hard to discern but as long as it doesn’t prevent communication then it doesn’t matter.

    Don’t hate me too much for an innocent mistake.

    I doubt anyone will hate you for that. If someone regularly posted content that would be likely to trigger people without a warning it would be different as they might do it on purpose while acting coy but a lone incident, while unfortunate, is not gonna make people hate you.

  43. says

    TRIGGER WARNING:

    Outside the realm of Mortal Kombat it is practically impossible to rip out a woman’s uterus and intestines with your bare hands. Especially through the vagina…

    Yeah, I was wondering how the hell they could get any grip.

    It’s a rather problematic practice in India. People think it’s helping but it really just dilutes the truth with clearly silly embellishments which make people suspect the reality of an incident.

    QFT.

  44. bobo says

    Julien: I am preoccupied with my grammar because I made the mistake of admitting that sometimes, in certain circumstances, I really don’t care if my grammar is perfect. Everyone just assumed that I was an arrogant asshole who was out to make reading difficult for people because I had nothing better to do. I feel like I am worse than an MRA for that mistake. And now *this*.

    I am going to start second guessing every.fucking.thing.I.do.now.

    And for the record, I am genuinely sorry for not posting a trigger warning. Like I said, I usually do, but it just did not click this time. Seeing how angry people got over my grammar gaffe, I can only assume they want my head on a stick for forgetting a trigger warning.

  45. Daniel Schealler says

    Of course, if she hadn’t resisted, then those same experts would have pointed out that her lack of resistance meant that it wasn’t really rape, on account of her lack of resistance.

    The excuse-givers are disgusting.

  46. crowepps says

    This isn’t only a lower caste problem:

    “Since 2007, political parties gave tickets to 20 rape accused to fight in state elections. This is shocking and requires urgent action,” Jagdeep Chhokar, the founder of ADR, said.

    “The politicians who come out to condemn rape are the ones who are openly giving the rape accused a chance to fight elections. This is hypocrisy,” he told AFP.

    The report stated that political parties had also given tickets to 260 men who were charged with other crimes against women, including molestation.

    It did not record how many of the accused candidates had been found guilty.

    “Political parties should stop giving tickets to candidates with criminal backgrounds and all those lawmakers who are accused in rape cases should be thrown out of power,” Chhokar added.
    http://dawn.com/2012/12/21/indian-political-parties-let-rape-accused-run-for-office-study/

  47. says

    Many Indians do ‘know’ Indians they have never met, Beatrice. They can idenrify caste, class and educational positions very rapidly. That may not be objectively true, but if people believe it is true, that’s what affects their behaviour.

    Yeah, in this country apparently some people go by whether or not you’re wearing a hoodie and carrying skittles. :\ Same principle.

  48. says

    la tricoteuse:

    Marcus, those kinds of reactions are my favourite, so hooray!

    I’m terribly fond of the 1934 movie the Scarlet Pimpernel, so I have a scene from that movie in my head when I see your nym. :D

    /derail

  49. laurentweppe says

    When people say rape is about sex, my standard response is, why not just have sex then?

    If you’re stronger than the person you lust after but have the intelligence of a rodent in rut, overpowering said person might actually be easier than seducing her. Not every rapist is a smart bastards who premeditates his act and knows how to take advantage of the system to get away with it.

    ***

    There has been only one conviction out of over 600 cases of rape reported to Delhi Police this year even as crime against women has been on the rise in the national capital.

    Said Police cover a jurisdiction of over 11 million inhabitants “it’s probable that many more cases go unreported there than here” is a polite euphemism.

    ***

    Are you a fan of knitting, or of cheering on beheadings?

    “Tricoteuse” as also been used to describe women who perform abortions. My mother was once mistaken for an anti-abortion nut after she dismissively used that term on parents (she was an high-school headmaster and a part of the parent population which tended to be apathetic and uninvolved in the education of their kids would turn into a bloodthirsty mob every time a teacher was accused of “mistreating” one of the school kids, usually by asking one of the poor little angels to spend a saturday morning or two in school to catch up with the homework they didn’t do: hence the “Tricoteuse” nickname)

  50. says

    bobo

    Sorry Tethys. I already know that I am a horrible person, b/c sometimes my grammar is not perfect.

    Seriously drop it.
    This is at least the second thread you’re leaving your little message of hurt fee-fees.
    This is not about you and it’s bloody insensitive of you to make this about you.
    You were given the friendly hint about trigger warnings, something many people don’t know and it doesn’t make them bad people.
    The mature thing is to say “oops, sorry I didn’t know, I’ll try to remember in the future” instead of getting all up on that little cross you made yourself.

  51. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    According to BBC reports, she was a medical student. Does that make it even worse?

    No. How can it be worse? Would it be “better” somehow if she were a factory worker, or a housewife, or a prostitute?

  52. csue says

    Is it time yet? Can we all just demand to be implanted with vagina-tasers now? Or hell, just issue us all one at birth.