Feminism Counterpoint 2: Rape Numbers Will Not Come Down

rape-is-unacceptable

For those of you who are here for the first time, maybe reading Feminism Counterpoint 1 will give some context. In that post I raised the point of judging one another by our clothes and how instinctive that behaviour is. Today we’ll take on another commonly held myth among feminists (evidenced by the buzzfeed responses, one of which is pictured above): That if India becomes more feminist, the number of rape incidents will come down.

What this post is not

Before we begin, this post is not about whether rape is good or bad. We all agree that it’s heinous and that it should go away. This post just questions whether more widespread feminism will do anything to control occurrences of rape. I’m only interested in producing data, asking questions and drawing conclusions, whatever they may be. Often we shy away from making harsh conclusions because they clash with our cherished beliefs. I will try and not do that. If you disagree with anything I say, as always, the comments section is at your service. But only civil debate, please. I’d rather not get into trading insults.

The myth about rape in India

There is a common misconception that India is a ‘rape country’, that crimes against women are worse in India than in most other parts of the world. We often make fun of ourselves – and are made fun of by others – that we treat our women badly. I wanted to see if there is any statistical backing for that. (You can look up the full page here.)

A few things that I noticed:

1. India stands at number 51 (or thereabouts) in the world when ranked in decreasing order of rape numbers per 100,000 people.

2. From 2004 to 2010, the number went up from 1.6 to 1.8. So irrespective of what the media would like us to believe, there is no significant increase in rape incidents in the last decade. (I concede that this may have gone up between 2010 and 2014.)

3. From 1990 to 2008, though, the number has doubled from 0.9 to 1.8. One could argue that 1990 – the start of the decade in which India became liberalized – is also the time in which feminism took off in the country with more women coming into the workforce.

The surprises

What most surprised me is that there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between ‘feminism’ and rape in the top fifty countries. The United Kingdom, a country we would normally associate with equality and safety for women, stands at number 6. Australia, another ‘developed’ nation, is at 8. New Zealand, a country in which I lived for ten years and which is often cited as crime-free and safe, is at 13. The United States, the one country that India looks up to like perhaps no other, is at 11. All these countries have upwards of 25 rapes per 100,000 people, so it’s not unfair to say that rape is at least twelve times more prevalent in these countries than it is in India.

What does this data tell us?

Let’s take the United States as a comparative example. Straight off the bat, it tells us that feminism will not curtail rape. I don’t think anybody will deny that the U.S. is more ‘feminist’ than India. Indeed, most of the feminism that we wish to see here in our country is imported from the West. How come, then, that rape is more common in the United States than in India?

More alarmingly, are all of us misguided in thinking that feminism will make rape go away? If anything, it appears that as India becomes more feminist in her thinking, the prevalence of rape will only go up. This is borne out by two piece of evidence: 1) rape numbers from other countries who are more ‘feminist’ than ours, 2) our own rape numbers (which have doubled) since we began to take our first steps towards feminism in 1992.

The issue of under-reporting

One of the main arguments to this point is that rape in India is under-reported. The counterpoint to that is that rape is under-reported everywhere in the world. Do we have any evidence that the level of under-reporting is higher in India than it is in other countries? Even if we grant for a moment that it is, is it high enough to offset the factor of twelve? In other words, is the relative ‘under-reporting’ variable twelve times higher in India than it is in the U.S.?

(As an example, a study in Canada in 1992, where 12300 women participated, found that only 6% of sexual assaults were reported. So this is a universal problem. Not just India’s.)

I doubt it. In any case, this is an unfalsifiable hypothesis. It’s a statement whose veracity we cannot possibly check. We can ask similar questions on just about any other data set to question its validity. But the most we can do is go by reported numbers. It’s what we do for murders, road deaths, robberies and other crimes. If reported numbers are good enough for all other crimes, it ought to be good enough for rape.

The correlation between feminism and rape

One of the first things they teach you in Stats class is that correlation does not imply causation. I will not therefore argue that feminism causes rape or vice versa. But there is clearly a correlation. Is there something about the brand of feminism embraced by the West that encourages rape? Or is rape just a consequence that we must put up with in exchange for feminism? These are important questions, I think, because wittingly or not, India is already on that slope. And we seem to have gotten it into our heads that more feminism equals less rape. When the opposite is true.

If we delude ourselves into thinking, on the other hand, that the cure for rape is more feminism, we’re likely to continue to be disappointed as we frantically chase more, more and more feminism, only to see rape numbers steadily climbing.

And finally, is there a brand of feminism that we can adopt consciously to ensure that our rape numbers do not go up?

Image Courtesy: Buzzfeed

Comments

  1. Nishtha says:

    I have always believed that the only way any form of crime against women will come down is when a) we stop treating females in our house as sub species, and b) stop giving extra privilege to males for just being a male. It is what we see, how our fathers treat our mothers, how sisters are treated in relation to their brothers.
    It’s the same when we talk about equality of castes, when most homes still keep separate utensils for maids.
    But there is a lot of back and forth discussion on this. How do you feel these crimes will come down? Or is that for another blog post? 😉

    Like

    • Hi Nishtha,

      I agree that the larger issue is equality. Not just equality of the genders, but equality of all human beings. As you mentioned, it has always amazed me (as someone who lived for a decade in a Western country) how badly we discriminate against the poor in India. Maids, waiters, auto drivers, and all those people who we classify as ‘working class’ are treated as a sub-human species. I think gender bias comes out of this same behaviour, albeit at a different level.

      How do I think these crimes will come down? I am certain I sound like a cynic when I say this, but I think inequality and territorialism is so deep-rooted in our genes that we may never be able to conquer them completely. The only way we can make things better is first through an acknowledgement that such behaviour is instinctive, and then formulate steps to educate people to fight against their instinct for the social good. Education will also help, I think.

      But it’s a tall order. Won’t deny that.

      Like

  2. A.) Feminism is not a quantifiable entity nor is rape.
    B.) I do not think you understand what feminism represents. The image here implies that if we propagate feminism as a contradiction to patriarchy, equality between genders will exist. There will be no pre defined roles that everyone will assume. You can be and do as and how you please. A woman will cease to be an object and a man will cease to become the head of the family. Feminism is not matriarchy. There is a difference.
    C.) Correlation doesnt establish causation. However your stats clearly and conveniently ignore the independent and dependent variables that surround your analysis like education, economic situation, cultural definition of roles for both men and women and most of all mindset of people. Therefore your sample size is not at all representative of the population
    D.) You saying feminism’s advent has increased rape is like you saying ever since we introduced the cure for AIDS more and more AIDS patients are turning up. Do you suggest we go back to the dark ages and adopt patriarchy and shut up and conform to our destiny?
    E.) Your numbers can not find a solution to the problem of rape in this country. But your oversimplification will give ammunition to a lot of people to thwart any efforts of ever establishing any kind of basis for feminism.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Shweta,

      Welcome to the blog. I will try and answer each point in its turn.

      A) The number of rape incidents can be quantified. Just like murder and road deaths can be quantified. Not only ‘can’ they have quantified, they ‘have’ been. I agree ‘feminism’ cannot be quantified. But it’s the perception of most feminists that countries like the U.S. and the U.K. are more ‘feminist’ than India’s. Which is why we see comparisons drawn between India and those two countries almost every time a feminist debate happens.

      B) I understand what feminism means. The dictionary defines the word as a movement fighting for gender equality. That is my definition. That is the definition that I’ve used throughout the post. Whenever I say the word ‘feminism’, I’m thinking ‘gender equality’. Whether you agree with my ‘meaning’ of the word, the dictionary agrees with me, so I’m happy with that.
      As for the picture, it says, ‘India needs Feminism because rape is unacceptable.’ Which implies that ‘If India becomes more feminist, the number of rape incidents will come down.’ The image says nothing about patriarchy, objectification or matriarchy. In fact, I didn’t mention any of those in my post either.

      C) Correlation doesn’t establish causation. I agree with that. I said that in my post too. I never said feminism causes rape. I am saying there seems to be a positive correlation between the two, borne out by data from across the world, across cultures, across education and economic backgrounds.

      D) I am not suggesting anything. I am saying that the pattern is mystifying. We expect feminism to control rape, and most of us think that is what it does. My post is showing that it is not the case. From our own liberalization, rape numbers have doubled. Countries more feminist than us have twelve times higher rape numbers than we do. So maybe we should prepare ourselves for higher rape numbers in the future, especially if the trend of feminism continues. That may be offset by other benefits, such as increased freedom for women. It may not be altogether a bad thing.

      E) These are not my numbers. These are numbers freely available to anyone who would bother to look. What these numbers suggest, to me, is that India does not have a rape problem in the first place. Occurrence of rape is extremely low by global standards. And if feminism continues as it does today, it is likely that the numbers will rise and touch Western levels. (That may not be a bad thing because in the bargain, we would have achieved equality.)

      Like

      • A.) Disagreed. If you plan to treat rape as an entity then you are robbing rape of all the trauma it can cause. There for you are very conveniently removing all sense of injustice and consequently anger attached to it. USA isnt feminist. The very fact that they have an entire lobby dedicated to deciding how a woman’s womb should be like is proof enough. I do not see a lobby that instructs all men to undergo a vasectomy after a certain age. Hence no gender equality. (This is just one example. Like you I am using oversimplification to make a nonsensical point!)
        B.) The image says feminism, you say feminism and both of them mean gender equality. Congratulations of the euphoria of being in agreement with the dictionary. Getting back to the point, if you really intend to say gender equality then why do you not use that term and have used feminism? Moreover if we go by your “clarification” that gender equality movement is what feminism is then your “interesting” statistics point towards the fact that there is a correlation between increasing gender equality and rape? Or are you talking about the means to achieve gender equality which is feminism?
        Moreover when I say feminism battles patriarchy I did not use a dictionary to reach that conclusion. I just told you how feminism is practiced by a lot of people. If you choose to remain blind to that and stick to your theories and dictionaries, I will seriously question your hypothesis and reject based on being too conformed to an imaginary state and situation of sample size that you have created in your head. The photograph intends to say, “I need gender equality and perhaps that will encourage men to look at women as more than sexual objects, or in your case more than possible data points for probabilistic rape incidents.” The banality with which you talk of rape is appalling and do not assume the excuse of a scientist or statistician trying to solve a mathematical problem.
        C.) You talk of correlation but your article very evidently hints towards causation. You are very strongly suggesting causation by merely establishing a correlation considered independent of the dependent and independent variables. What you have created is a simple 2+2 = 4 equation and you are trying to use that to solve e=mc^2. I hope that analogy helps you understand what I try to say.
        D.) Feminism does not CONTROL rape. The RAPIST controls RAPE. Gender equality hopes to destroy the rapist not all the men of the world. Rape is about dominion not about sex. If the current trend of feminism continues, hopefully the society will begin to see the kind of discrimination a person is put through because of gender differentiation. Once we break out of these moulds of a man or a woman we might learn to respect each others as individual. Giving woman a freedom will not increase rape but teaching the oppressor that you must resist your urge to inflict pain and abuse on another will decrease rape.
        E.) The numbers, IN YOUR OPINION, might be low when compared on a global scale (purely basing this on the kind of numbers you have presented here) but the brutality cannot be ignored. The delhi rape case led to a steel rod being inserted inside a woman causing her to lose the functionality of her intestine. Recently, in UP, two women were found mutilated and hanging from a tree after having been raped by a gang of men. Both cases their treatment was inhuman. In the West, rape victims have rehabilitation, support and therapy. In our country, rape victims have brutality, social stigma and in most cases death.

        I disagree with your article and I disagree with your statistics. I personally think this is an oversimplification of a complicated problem. It presents a very convenient argument and a convenient interpretation of the situation. Sadly the convenience is only of the author and not the reader. I will not respond, I dont wish to continue justifying or arguing absurdities.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Shweta,

        Once again, the numbers are not mine. These are numbers that are available to anybody to view. The data shows a positive correlation between feminism and rape. It exists, whether we like it or not.

        My post was an attempt to ask the question of why it exists. I think answering that question will help define our own feminism better, and perhaps make better decisions moving forward.

        That is the whole focus of the post. The post is not about whether rape is heinous or not (it is) and whether feminism is a worthy ideal or not (it is).

        But since both of us have had our say, we can let the matter rest. Thanks for leaving a comment.

        Like

  3. Your ideas are so over the top that the only way I can reconcile what you are saying with what you should be thinking is to conclude that your ideas about feminism are not correct. This is the politest way I can say it.

    What IS feminism to you?

    And if this is what you really think, God help us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Dagny,

      Thanks for the comment. Feminism to me means exactly what it says in the dictionary. Equality of the two genders.

      Like

      • Feminism is women raising their voice against the things in this video. That’s my definition of feminism. It is not about reservation- or lack of it. It is not about gender equality. Equality is not even under debate… it is a right… not a favor society grants us. Feminism is a desire- a hunger- to be free of comments such as the ones in this video.

        http://www.storypick.com/feels-like-woman-india-powerful-video-brutally-honest/

        You really have NO idea what you are talking of. Seriously, you don’t.

        Liked by 2 people

      • “Equality is not under debate. It is a right.”

        It OUGHT TO BE a right. But is it? Look at our society today. Is there equality anywhere? The poor in India are heavily discriminated against. The physically disabled, the mentally disabled, the North Easterners…the list goes on. In addition to all of that, there is gender inequality too. Feminism is about achieving gender equality in social and legal terms. Equality in rights, in opportunities, in society. That is feminism. If we achieve equality, the incidents such as the one in the link that you posted will not occur.

        Equality may be ‘not even a debate’ according to you. But it remains elusive to the vast majority of people in the world. So we must fight for it. We must fight to achieve it.

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      • http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Sexual-assault-on-girl-came-to-light-after-stranger-called-mother/articleshow/38572435.cms

        I suppose this child had ‘dressed up’ up too? Perhaps you should advise her father on how he should have been more ‘protective’ of her.

        You seriously have NO idea what you are talking of. And it is the nature of the clueless to go on, nevertheless.

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      • I don’t think you’re interested in debating about this, Dagny. And I am not interested in trading insults and barbs. So maybe the best way forward for both of us is to go our separate ways? You have my good wishes.

        If you wish to still talk about this, please read the post again with a calm mind, and try to understand what I am actually saying rather than what you think I’m saying.

        Like

  4. You sure have caught the attention of many feminists. Such posts always amaze me. Your words are strong. Your intention is clear. You know exactly what you are doing. That itself makes readers come to your blog every time. So to heck with social responsibilities. So what if it took us years to reach this level, to find our voice- to protest and fight male domination. Feminism must be curtailed. I totally agree with you. Did we not have a Mahabharata because a mere woman had DEMANDED her rights of being protected. A queen was disrobed.. who are we mere mortals then? One small question from an idiot like me .. What according to you is feminism? I can write blog posts on this post of yours and scream in the Facebook about what a big MCP you are – but all these will be of no use. It will be so embarrassing to find out after I make my posts that your definition of feminism and our (the mere female species) definition of feminism is totally different.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Rubina,

      Thanks for the comment. Where did I say feminism should be curtailed? Can you show me a line in my post where I say that? I am only pointing out a queer correlation between the rise of feminism and the rise of rape numbers. Why that exists, I don’t know. I am certainly not suggesting that one causes the other.

      My definition of feminism is the dictionary definition of feminism. Equality of the two genders. I don’t know why it’s called feminism when we already had a word (equality), but now that it’s coined, I have no problem with the dictionary definition of it.

      You imply I don’t have social responsibility. Can you explain why? Because you don’t agree with me? And you call me a male chauvinist pig – albeit in abbreviated form. Can I ask why? I pointed out a correlation in the data that is there for everyone to see. Are you saying the correlation doesn’t exist, or that it should not be pointed out?

      Like

  5. My dictionary/thesaurus says the opposite of feminism is chauvinism. Just as there are both men who are feminists, so also there are women who are chauvinists. So I want to ask you this, in a chauvinistic society would the rapes decline? If the whole country was like one Khaap Panchayat, would the rapes decline dramatically? If the increasing rapes are the effects of a feministic society, what do you have to say about little girls, older women, rural women, Dalit women who have no idea about feminism, but are raped? What do you say about atrocities committed on women who cannot raise their voice? To attribute feminism to increasing rapes is nothing short of myopic. Feminism needs to be seen for what it is “Fight against gender equality”

    The root cause of all crimes against women is because women were never seen as equal, their voices were never heard, their choices never considered. Feminism needs to spread its roots far and wide, into villages, into tiny hamlets and the lesser privileged sections of society. Only then will crimes against women decline.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Sridevi,

      Thanks for your comment. ‘If the increasing rapes are the effects of a feministic society’: I’ve never said that. In fact, I said the exact opposite thing, that correlation does not imply causation. So I was saying that we do not have enough information to say what causes what. But there is a correlation – that we cannot deny.

      What is causing the correlation? That’s debatable. Hence my post.

      I agree with you on the rest of your comment. Because I don’t believe feminism causes rapes either. I just want to get to the bottom of the correlation the data shows us.

      Like

    • Also, you say: Feminism needs to spread its roots far and wide, into villages, into tiny hamlets and the lesser privileged sections of society. Only then will crimes against women decline.

      That is the question I was trying to address. If we take other countries where feminism has spread its roots far and wide, like the US and the UK (for example), we would expect crimes against women to be lower than India’s. But surprisingly, they’re higher. Much, much higher.

      It’s a puzzle. Can we try and solve it, though, and see what we can learn from other countries so that we can become completely feminist and yet not allow rape numbers to go up? That is the important question for me. Because it will be disappointing, won’t it, if we became a feminist nation only to find that our rape numbers have gone up twelve times? (Or maybe it wouldn’t be? I don’t know.)

      Bottom line: there seems to be a correlation between feminism and rape numbers. Totally counter-intuitive. If only we can figure out why.

      Like

  6. Radhakrishna Sanka says:

    To see a pattern between rape and feminism might be taking the correlation too far( Sweta is probably right on the part that feminism and rape having no causal relationship). The pattern you may be see might not be what it seems. For example the presence of a higher number of feminist activists might be a direct result of the higher number of crimes against women.

    Coming to the buzzfeed post, it’s complete rubbish. Each and every one of the issues require a lot more than feminism to change the state of the society. I believe the problem has two parts to it 1) The role of women in the view of the Indian society 2) The law enforcement and the judicial bodies.

    Since everyone on this forum would unanimously agree with me that feminism is required to change the way our society thinks, I believe the biggest culprit we stay silent about is our judicial system. From level of the village panchayats to the highest courts in the country, it’s apparent that there aren’t enough of them to neither take on the workload nor be qualified enough to give these issues their due diligence.

    Ever since the Delhi rape in 2012, I found myself reading through each and every issue of rape that comes in the newspaper and it saddens me every time. We do need a lot of feminists in this country preaching equality and equal opportunity, at least that way we might be able to see some change in the people mind sets. I, like many others pray for the safety of my loved ones every night before I goto bed. But in the end what will bring the definitive change in the ‘rape-country’ is a change in our judicial system, be it radical or infinitesimal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Radhakrishna,

      I don’t disagree on whether feminism is a worthy ideal to pursue or not. It surely is, just as equality is in all walks of life. The purpose of the post is to show a correlation which is strange. We would expect intuitively for feminism to alleviate rape occurrences. But strangely, the correlation is positive.

      I am not suggesting a causal relationship. In fact, I expressly stated that in my post. I think many commenters missed it, because almost none of the comments addressed the point raised in the post. I am only pointing out a correlation that exists in the data, and asking for possible explanations on why this exists. Because right now, we’re being lulled into thinking that feminism will make rape go away, whereas all evidence suggests that it will increase rape occurrences.

      Maybe it won’t matter so much because we will have gained a lot of other things in the bargain (like equal rights and opportunities and so on). Maybe rape will matter a lot less in the consciousness in that future. Whatever it is, we can at least ask the questions now and wonder.

      As for how to achieve feminism, I agree with the rest of your post.

      Like

  7. Its because feminism is not making its impact felt at the right places. It is not reaching the affected people.

    Like

    • So are you saying the spread of feminism is less in countries like the US and the UK than in India? The question is quite simple – and rhetorical. Maybe we can all think about it. Intuitively, we would expect feminism to alleviate rape. So as the amount of the spread of feminism increases, we’d expect the amount of rape to go down. That is the intuitive feeling. I had the same feeling until last week.

      Now the data seems to suggest that all countries that are more feminist than us – not just one or two, but ALL, each and every one – have much higher rape numbers. This flies in the face of our intuition. It sure flew in the face of mine.

      Maybe we can think about that. We don’t have to argue about it. Maybe we can think about what caused this correlation. And maybe think about steps that we an take in our own journey towards equality/feminism which will NOT involve increasing numbers of rape.

      Does this all mean I am against feminism? Of course not. I am only suggesting we think a little more deeply about the issue so that we may get the best feminism we could.

      Like

      • Rape has not increased due to feminism. Feminism is the direct result of atrocities committed against women. Nowhere in my comments or otherwise was I referring to countries like US and UK. Rape like poverty is not a national issue. It is a global one and needs to be addressed accordingly.

        There is nothing like best feminism. Either there is feminism or no feminism. Frankly speaking, I am disappointed by this article. I expected a more sensitive, insightful article from an educated person like you.

        Like

      • ‘Rape has not increased due to feminism.’

        Where have I said that it has? You’re confusing a statement of correlation with one of causation. Look at the data. Do you disagree that there is a correlation between the two? The correlation exists for everyone to see. And these are not numbers that I’ve cooked up.

        The question is what is causing the correlation. The debate should be around that. And yes, I agree it’s a global issue, which is why I made use of global statistics.

        Many commenters have said that they expected something better from an educated person like me. I could say the same about comments that refuse to see what is staring at them from the data. Just because it goes against our cherished beliefs, shall we put our heads in the sand and ignore reality? It may work for some, but it doesn’t for me.

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      • Your own words. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to infer from them what several women here have inhered: “If we delude ourselves into thinking, on the other hand, that the cure for rape is more feminism, we’re likely to continue to be disappointed as we frantically chase more, more and more feminism, only to see rape numbers steadily climbing.”

        Like

      • Still talking about correlation in that quote, Sridevi. Right now the ‘accepted wisdom’ is that more feminism will result in less rape. I am saying that all evidence points to the opposite being the case – i.e. more feminism will result in more rape.

        Still not saying feminism CAUSES rape. Still talking about correlation, NOT causation. And I present the numbers for that correlation.

        In my post I expressly stated that correlation does not imply causation. (I did a stats paper in college. They drum that into your head in the very first lecture.) In addition, I also expressly stated that I am not saying feminism causes rape or vice versa. From the data, we can only conclude that there is a positive correlation.

        My intent is to question why this correlation exists. And perhaps devise ways to break this correlation so that we get both more feminism and less rape.

        The entire post is about correlation. Not causation.

        Like

      • *inferred*

        Like

  8. I wouldn’t have commented had I not seen the Oxford definition of feminism being brought up again and again. While Oxford might define feminism as equality, we are far away from getting there.. When women are denied basic respect, feminism takes an entirely different meaning… Frankly going by dictionary meanings indiicates a blatant refusal by you to accept what the reality actually is today…. I rest my case on that, till you keep harping on the dictionary meaning and turn a blind eye to what meaning feminism has taken in the real world there is no point talking about it. On another note, Rather than looking at statistics and what the situation is in other countries, it makes more sense to reflect on indian society and patriarchal mind sets that still continue to exist… Let’s not worry about the neighbors garden when our own needs some serious weeding, don’t you think?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I wouldn’t have commented had I not seen the Oxford definition of feminism being brought up again and again. While Oxford might define feminism as equality, we are far away from getting there.. When women are denied basic respect, feminism takes an entirely different meaning… Frankly going by dictionary meanings indiicates a blatant refusal by you to accept what the reality actually is today…. I rest my case on that, till you keep harping on the dictionary meaning and turn a blind eye to what meaning feminism has taken in the real world there is no point talking about it. On another note, Rather than looking at statistics and what the situation is in other countries, it makes more sense to reflect on indian society and patriarchal mind sets that still continue to exist… Let’s not worry about the neighbors garden when our own needs some serious weeding, don’t you think?

    Like

    • Hi Seeta,

      I agree. We’re better off looking at our own garden. But if our neighbour has tended the exact same garden as ours a few years back, surely we can look at his and take some lessons on what to avoid?

      I looked at statistics in this post because there is a strange correlation between feminism and rape numbers. All our intuition tells us that a more feminist society will be one in which rape numbers come down. And yet from the numbers across the world, the opposite seems to be the case.

      I wonder why. The correlation exists, whether we choose to see it or not. We should try and explain it, maybe debate why it is there, so that in the future, we can perhaps shape our feminism in such a way as to not increase rape numbers?

      Or we may conclude that an increase in the incidence of rape is an inevitable consequence of feminism, in which case we will expect it and try to manage it better.

      Right now we’re ignoring this, and we’re lulling ourselves into thinking that feminism will make rape go away. While on the other hand, the data suggests that it will make rape a more common occurrence.

      Thanks for the comment. And welcome to the blog.

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  10. It is not just rape that concerns more women in India, its the brutality behind rape, its the punishment that is too easy to escape. Indian women are protesting and similar protests are going on in the world. It is a societal problem that is faced by everyone. Fighting over which country has more rapes would not solve problems. People from other countries are fighting for their own causes and so , we must also fight. Are we suppose to take things lightly just because we are below 50 in rape cases? How does the figure appeal to women who face the brutality. Tell a women who got raped, ” Oh! you are not alone. see you are one among 50 out of 1,00,000.” Will she appreciate that? Commenting over figures is easy but facing the emotional trouble is hell of a difference. See the brutality and the daring in Indian men. While in other countries rape is common, in India gang rapes and rapes in public places are common. Does that speak something of our country? Lets take USA or UK, what about their God? Do they have so many of Goddesses as we Indians have? India only praises women as Devi’s not the USA, not the UK…may be that is the reason that India is below the rank fifty? It doesn’t make any sense. Praising God, Spending hours in temples or holy places…people can do everything in India but when there is a chance to help someone, forget a girl, anyone for that matter, is a nightmare for Indians. Rarely will you find Indians fighting injustice and helping others. That is how we are now preparing to build a “STATUE OF UNITY” as if it is going to bring Unity which is nowhere to be seen in India. Figures of rapes in India are lower than USA does not say that actual rapes are lower. its just that very few cases get reported. Here, we have incidences when a boy rapes his sister, a father rapes her daughter, an uncle rapes her relative, a husband rapes her wife, a boyfriend rapes her girlfriend. Do you really think that such cases get noticed? Do you really think that these cases get counted in that figure of 50s? What about families that ask their daughters to stay quite? What about cases when a girl go missing without anyone knowing if she was raped? What about girls who commit suicides and nobody ever comes to know that they were raped? What about women or girls who keep quite themselves because they are afraid that they will get killed because the rapist is from an influential family. Please do some more research and tell us the types of cases that are recorded to arrive at this figure of 51!

    Another thing that is worth notice is that Rape is very poorly defined in Indian law. It does not consider acts of forced oral sexual intercourse, sodomy and penetration by foreign objects that are clearly specified in laws held by other countries like UK, USA and Australia. ‘consent’ and ‘conduct of the victim’ is another debate in India where if there is no resistance from women, it is difficult to prove rape and if the the guy failed to insert in, the act is again subject to question. How about a women who is made unconscious and then raped? What about woman who actually resisted enough to stop man from insertion? Are they not traumatized. Indian laws are too lose to play with in every area and rape is the most exploited area.

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    • I agree with this, Pooja. I do take your point that there is an emotional side to the debate. The comments on this post prove it! And yes, I also take the point of under-reporting that you’ve raised. I also brought it up in my post briefly. The only problem with that is we cannot arrive at a conclusion of what is the percentage of under-reporting. Intuitively, once again, I will concede that the amount of under-reporting is HIGHER in India (as you suggest) than it is, say, in the United States. I am basing this purely on opinion, so I’m quite willing to be proven wrong. Just the fact that sex is such a big taboo in India suggests that we under-report our rape cases more than in a Western country.

      Having made that assertion, all the examples you gave in your post (boyfriend raping girlfriend, marital rape, sexual abuse within the family) are not constrained to Indian society. They’re present all over the world. The EXTENT may differ, and we don’t yet have the means of measuring that extent.

      Also take the point about definition of rape in Indian law. I will do some reading on the matter and see how we can expand the definition of rape/sexual abuse to align with global standards. This is a possible explanation why our ‘numbers’ are lower: maybe we have a looser definition of rape, which leads to us discounting many cases that are counted in a Western country.

      Thanks for an excellent comment. Educated me, and also added to the debate, I think. Welcome to the blog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. rkrishnasanka says:

    @Sharath, I think all the readers of your blog (including me) have to start asking a few questions and some solitary research.

    Question 1: What has the history of feminism been ? Origin, Popular advocates, movements from when it originated to the present day.

    Question 2: How does the feminism address the criminal and savage nature of the atrocities committed ?

    Question 3: Like the odd correlation you showed (not a causal one), can the feminists show any evidence that feminism directly reduces crimes against women ?

    When I thought about why India needs feminism, I could easily think of innumerable examples where women need more rights, more freedom and a society where one does not judge them on appearances or life choices.

    I also thought through all the news articles regarding the anti-rape movements and the responses from the government officials, which included comments about “an Indian society tainted by the west”,”how women who dress scantily are asking for it” and so many more. What I realized over here was that politicians redirect all energy that should be directed to fixing the justice system to starting a 100 year old fight for women’s rightful place in this world.

    PS: Sridevi, Rubeena please try to think before you comment. There’s a world of a difference between causation and correlation, I also gave an alternate explanation for the correlation (which you have seemed to ignore completely) before you label people chauvinists.

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    • I agree with all three questions that you ask, Radhakrishna. The feminism movement is now quite old in the West, and studying it with an aim to learn will only help in our development. When the wheel has been invented already, why not learn from existing designs and improve upon it rather than potentially committing the same mistakes again?

      Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you’ve begun reading on the subject. If you come across something that contradicts what I say, please point me to it so that I can educate myself further too.

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  12. While the number of rapes in developed countries is high, it might well be because of under-reporting and the legal definition of rape used by the country. You ask if the number of unreported cases is enough to bridge the gap. There was a 500% increase in the number of rape cases being reported in Delhi alone post the Nirbhaya incident. See this: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Post-Nirbhaya-500-jump-in-such-crimes/articleshow/38287599.cms

    This is a sobering number. Interestingly, the TOI headline “Post Nirbhaya, 500% jump in such crime” that is rather misleading; what they should have said is “Post Nirbhaya, 500% jump in rape reports”. The article heading seems to carelessly imply that rape cases have gone up after the Nirbhaya incident came to light, when the real and more positive story is that more women are finding the courage to report incidents of rape.

    Regarding your post, to be honest, implying that there is a positive correlation between the rise of feminism and rape is rather careless and a dangerous line of thought, the whole slant of the post is suspect, even though you want to understand why the correlation exists. I mean why did you pick feminism out of all the other potential causes? Why not the rise of Internet or use of mobile technology? Isn’t that what the khap panchayat is doing — picking a convenient reason that is entirely unsupported by any data/research, except for whatever connection exists in the mind of the person making the connection.

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    • Fair enough, Shweta. I am willing to concede that the post heading is a little confrontational too. Maybe I gave the impression that I was hinting at feminism being the cause of rape numbers going up? If so, I apologize. That was not the intention.

      Now why feminism and not other things? Because it seems to me that we almost take it for granted that increased feminism will result (due to whatever reason) in lower numbers of rape, and yet the global evidence seems to suggest otherwise (due to whatever reason).

      If you’re proposing that the level of under-reporting is higher in India than in other countries, since there is no evidence of that, we cannot accept it. Rape is known to be under-reported everywhere, even in countries like the US and the UK. How do we conclude that India’s level of under-reporting is higher? Even if it is, is it higher by fifteen times? I am skeptical of that.

      But I do agree that I have not considered the legal definition of rape in India and other countries. Pooja also raised this point in her comment. I’m trying to dig out some information about this.

      Thanks for the comment!

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  13. Priya Shah says:

    Rape and feminism do have a correlation. But it is not the one you hinted at. The reason rape numbers SEEM to be getting higher is because more rape incidents are being reported. Do you not understand that with the increase of feminism, an increased amount of women, feeling more empowered, are able to report rape without the fear of being judged? India, as well as the entire world, needs feminism, so that women don’t have to be afraid to speak up and report rape.

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