Random Thoughts: Rape and The Indian Blame Game

After the Delhi gang-rape case, there has been a sudden upsurge in traditional as well as social media over rape in India.
As usual in such cases, the initial reaction is to find someone to blame.
And in this case, the onus of the blame has been put on

  1. Patriarchal Indian Society – without realizing that more rapes happen in the not-so-patriarchal USA
  2. Indian masculinity – “who feel threatened by women asserting their identity” without realizing that rapes happen even with infants, senior citizens, visually challengedmentally challenged and homely women in conservative villages of Haryana to Kerala.
  3. Indian Police – as if police officials are omniscient and should be present before the crime happens
  4. Honey Singh – I am expecting a petition against Vatsyayana next

This blog post is a collection of thoughts about the same.


Lets first begin with the fact that any crime has following possible deterrent

  1. Moral/Personal (“I cannot do it, its wrong”)
  2. Social (“Society will ostracize me for doing this”)
  3. Legal (“I will be sent to jail if I do this”)
  4. Fear of failure (“I might fail in my attempt”)

Moral
In case of a rape, the first reason is usually overcome by the sexual urge. A stronger moral character can, of course, resist the urge to commit the crime eg. its only due to strong moral character, little or no looting/theft happened in post-tsunami Japan.

Legal
There are three aspects of the Legal system

  1. Legislative
    Do India lack strong laws to counter rape?
    The maximum term for punishment is life imprisonment.
    Though under rarest of rare cases, the death penalty is possible.
    Of course, some petitioners think that this is not sufficient and the death penalty should be imposed without realizing that death penalties can lead to reduced conviction rate since [for a judge] taking someone’s life requires more thorough check then putting the person behind bars from where he can re-appeal the decision. Also, let’s not forget how stronger laws have more chances of being abused.
  2. Executive
    While people are busy blaming Indian police, they fail to realize that India has only 13 police officers per 10, 000 people. It is simply impossible for police to monitor each and every public spot and yes, rapes do happen at home. Even in the US, where there are ~26 police officers per 10, 000 people,  adjusted for population, rapes are ~15 times more prevalent.
    Note: Even if we assume rapes are under-reported by a factor of 10 in India as compared to the US, it still implies that the US still has much higher incidents of rape.
  3. Judicial
    Of course, neither on traditional media nor on social media, anyone has the courage to blame India’s holier-than-thou judiciary. It is estimated that at the current rate, India’s elephantine judiciary have almost 300 years of pending court cases assuming no new cases are filed in those 300 years. judicial reforms can reduce this and hence create a retributive deterrence but as pointed earlier that even in the USA where laws are way more strictly enforced, the incidents are much higher.

Social
So, everything boils down to social factor.
Turns out that social factors actually favor perpetrator in India, the victim is made to feel ashamed and jostling into never-ending rape case implies her marriage will become an issue. Interestingly, one will never hear this “marriage problem” in case of the perpetrator.
The day society decides to look down upon perpetrator (instead of the victim), things will change and people who wish to commit rapes will have a stronger social resistance to overcome before they commit this crime. How many times have you seen this happening? [except in the rare incident of Guwahati molestation].

Fear of failure
Just having a feeling that one might not succeed in his attempt can be a strong deterrent.
Therefore, introducing a deterrent in the form of a possibility of potential victim carrying pepper spray might work as well.

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