India Has a Gang Rape Problem

Illustration for article titled India Has a Gang Rape Problem

It should not take an hours-long violent gang rape to convince India's government to take sexual assault and violence against women more seriously. But that's what happened: a 23-year-old was savagely raped and beaten with iron rods on a bus that passed through several police checkpoints on its way around the city.


Do you want to hear the subsequent good news or bad news first?

The bad news (let's rip off that depressing Band-Aid) is that, while thousands of demonstrators protested in front of New Delhi's police headquarters, Parliament, and a major university, and while the survivor of the gang rape lay in critical condition in the hospital with internal injuries, at least two more girls were gang-raped. From CBS:

Police on Wednesday fished out the body of a 10-year old girl from a canal in Bihar state's Saharsa district. Police superintendent Ajit Kumar Satyarthi said the girl had been gang-raped and killed and her body dumped in the canal. Police were investigating and a breakthrough was expected soon, Satyarthi said.

Elsewhere, a 14-year old schoolgirl was in critical condition in Banka district of Bihar after she was raped by four men, said Jyoti Kumar, the district education officer.

The "good" news is that the cases are provoking outrage in a country where rapes are often underreported and rapists are rarely prosecuted. The Times of India newspaper covered the first rape extensively, television stations debated the way the country treats women, and lawmakers from different parties are demanding a plan from the government, which is now under intense pressure to take all of this more seriously.

"It is a matter of shame that these incidents recur with painful regularity and that our daughters, sisters and mothers are unsafe in our capital city," Sonia Gandhi, head of the ruling Congress Party, wrote in a letter to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. She promised the Party would take action soon. It can't come soon enough.



Ari Schwartz: Dark Lord of the Snark

Serious question: is India any worse than any other country? Especially any other country with a population of over a billion people?

I'm not diminishing what happened, but I really find it difficult to jump to the conclusion that India is necessarily worse than any other country without more than a few data.

I'm not saying that it doesn't have a problem: it does. But is it worse? By how much? I don't like jumping to any conclusions when we have a few data in a country of that many people. It seems dangerous to me.