India has had enough. After dealing with a rape crisis for the past few years, a top policeman in India has inspired wrath after making a rape comment.
Ranjit Sinha, a Central Bureau of Investigation officer, made a comment Tuesday, comparing legalizing betting to rape: “It is very easy to say that if you can’t enforce it, it’s like saying if you can’t prevent rape, you [should] enjoy it.”
In response, Indians are protesting and calling for Sinha’s resignation. What makes Sinha’s rape comment more enraging is that he’s responsible for investigating rape and terrorism in his bureau.
After the brutal gang rape and resultant death of a young Indian girl aboard a Delhi bus in December 2012, India’s women have been reeling, living in fear yet protesting against their government for its weak prosecution of rape suspects. India suffered even more trials after more rapes and murders were reported; its international image is in shreds.
Sinha apologized for his comment Wednesday, saying he meant only to say that betting should be legalized but it does not mean such legalization will be enforced by Indians. Making the rape analogy, he says, was unintentional.
Intentional or not, what Sinha has done is further injure the soul of his country. With India in such turmoil and its women in despair, how can he hope to help repair India’s image in the international arena? In spite of his apology, women’s groups are still demanding for his resignation.
India has a problem with rape. Its law enforcers are lax about prosecuting rape suspects. A January 2013 article by Reuters on India’s justice system states:
“The 24,206 rapes reported in 2011 by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is the equivalent of one rape every 20 minutes, but even that is thought to be a minority of the number of such attacks across the country. “
Here in the U.S., where a person is sexually assaulted every two minutes, and justice is not always served in rape cases, in India, when a woman gets raped, not only does she have to deal with the psychological fallout, but she’s also confronted by the ugly, judgmental attitudes of her neighbors, policemen, and doctors. The aftermath can be just as damaging as the rape itself, what with having to deal with the stigma of rape and becoming outcasts for surviving rape. Many rape cases end up being dropped because rape survivors give up on the painfully slow coming of justice (if there is any) that is the labyrinthine criminal justice system.
Instead of laying all the responsibility on women to prevent rape, let’s ask our men to become our allies against sexual assault. How can they help women in this crusade?
- In a potential assault situation, he can step between the woman and the would-be rapist and say he doesn’t approve of what’s going on. If the threat continues, he can call the authorities.
- Become an ally. Accompany a group of women, arriving and leaving together. Make sure you know their whereabouts if you get separated.
- If someone you know has been assaulted, be patient. Be present for her. Encourage her to report the assault to the proper authorities. If she resists, give her space and time. Don’t put pressure on her to do anything until she feels ready. Let her know you will go with her to the hospital if she wants to go.
- Educate yourself on rape statistics and volunteer for a rape or women’s organization. The women in your life will love you for it.
By Juana Poareo