Nation of Beancounters

A collection of … er … unusual theories of rape in India

Posted in Indian Culture, Lists by Navin Kumar on October 18, 2012

So what causing all that rape in India? Some people have proposed radical answers.

1. Increased male-female interaction:

Earlier if men and women would hold hands, they would get caught by parents and reprimanded but now everything is so open. It’s like an open market with open options.

Mamata Banerjee. It’s free choice (for the guy, anyway).

2. Late marriage:

I believe this is happening because our youth are being badly influenced by cinema and television. I think that girls should be married at the age of 16, so that they have their husbands for their sexual needs, and they don’t need to go elsewhere. This way rapes will not occur.

-Harayanvi Khap Panchayat member Sube Singh, no doubt using a heterodox definition of rape.

3. Chinese food:

To my understanding, consumption of fast food contributes to such incidents. Chowmein leads to hormonal imbalance evoking an urge to indulge in such acts.

– Harayanvi Khap Panchayat member Jitender Chhatar (Hat tip: Bhanu Shri)

4. Conspiracy:

I believe that the way in which the statistics (on rapes) are being projected for Haryana, it is a conspiracy against the state.

– Haryanavi Minister Geeta Bhukkal.

5. Ummm… consenting:

I don’t feel any hesitation in saying that 90 per cent of the girls want to have sex intentionally but they don’t know that they would be gang raped further as they find some lusty and pervasive people in the way ahead.

-Harayanvi Congress leader Dharambir Goyat.

6. Movies and television:

Lowering the marriage age could be a solution to the negative influence spread by vulgar programs on TV and cinema on our youth. They have been tremendously influenced by the vulgarity on TV, which leads to early puberty and some of them are unable to handle it, which results in such incidents.

– Khap Panchayat leader Mahender Ghimana. Yes, there is some overlap with theory #2 (late marriage).

7. Phones:

We strongly object that the girls should choose to wear jeans and top. They should also not use mobile phones, as these are things that provoke criminals to assault them. We have passed a resolution banning girls below 20 years of age from using such apparel and gadgets. But we want all girls to fall in line with this diktat for their own safety. In fact, we have urged all villagers to rein in their daughters, which is for their own good.

– Rameshwar Sharma, community member,  Brahmin Samaj, Muzaffarnagar district, Uttar Pradesh. There may be other motives for a ban.

8. High housing prices:

There are few forces more powerful than sexual desire and few forms of inequality more palpable than inequality of access to sex: all the rich guys, to a first approximation, get all the pretty girls, at least if pretty is what Bollywood (or Hollywood) tells us it should be.

…What are we doing as a society to reduce inequality of access to sex? I don’t mean publicly provided brothels — though those are not unknown in history — but just the right to a normal conjugal life. If you are poor in urban India or even middle class and 25, you have be very lucky to have a room of your own in the family home, let alone a separate apartment that you can call your own.

Abhijit Banerjee, Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics and Director, MIT. This one is a good deal more reasoned than the others and I agree with him on the need to lower housing prices. But the links to rape seem… tenuous.

9. Disc Jockeys, who also impose negative externalities on the dairy sector:

The DJ system is causing noise pollution and is also harmful to the animals kept by farmers. Due to high volume of music, people can’t milk buffaloes and cows in the morning as the animals are unable to sleep at night.With DJs around, youngsters dance under influence of liquor and sometimes misbehave with women. Because of this women can’t participate in celebrations, preferring to stay indoors.

Inder Singh, khap leader, Hisar, Harayana.

10. Female empowerment:

As women enter the work place and the public arena, their boldness and confidence seem to trigger a sense of insecurity in a society where men are used to being in charge…  What is the anger that motivates this level of violence? Is the sight of a young smartly-dressed educated female professional generating a sense of displacement in men? … That they are entering male bastions of power has challenged the sense of superiority and entitlement of the traditional Indian male.

Ratna Kapur, Global Professor of Law, Jindal Global Law School.

11. Inarticulate victims:

Only 5-6 people are not the culprits. The victim daughter is as guilty as her rapists… She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop… This could have saved her dignity and life. Can one hand clap? I don’t think so.

– “Spiritual Guru” Asaram Bapu, who, on an unrelated note, also has terrible hand-eye co-ordination.

12. Western culture (or Urbanisation):

Crimes against women happening in urban India are shameful. It is a dangerous trend. But such crimes won’t happen in Bharat or the rural areas of the country. You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gangrape or sex crimes

Where ‘Bharat’ becomes ‘India’ with the influence of western culture, these type of incidents happen. The actual Indian values and culture should be established at every stratum of society where women are treated as ‘mother’.

– Mohan BhagwatSarsanghchalak [Head] of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, who appears to a leading expert on the theory of marriage.

13. Bihari emigration:

All are talking about the Delhi gang-rape, but nobody is asking from where these men came. No one is asking who did this. So many cases are slapped against me (for speaking against Biharis), but no one is talking about the fact that all these rapists are from Bihar.

Raj Thackeray,  Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Chief.

14. Yo Yo Honey Singh:

These pornographic lyrics are unacceptable and it is because of women-hating sentiments like these that men think that it’s fine to do what they did on that bus, that December night in Delhi… Let’s put a stop to these subversive lyrics that infiltrate the minds of people who don’t know better and who then justify to themselves the rightness of a crime that harms another human being, sometimes so severely that they lose their lives

Kalpana Mishra, a petitioner on Change.org, who successfully got Mr. Singh’s New Year concert cancelled. The musical preferences of the rapists in question have not yet been released to the public.

15. The observable universe:

We have no answer to this rising spate of crimes against women. Star are not in position Harm can come on a person if the stars are in adverse positions…We have no answer to this, only an astrologer can predict.

– Chhattisgarh Home Minister Nanki Ram Kanwar.

16. The caste system:

It is no coincidence that the family names of the rapists are Singh, Sharma, Gupta and Thakur – all upper caste men whose sense of traditional entitlement based on their caste may have been challenged in the big city of Delhi. Were Ram Singh [a rapist] and his rape cohort simply claiming masculinity as promoted by their role models in politics, business and the media?

Ruchira Gupta, activist.

17. Porn:

While Ram Singh [a rapist] cannot afford fast cars and the accompanying female escorts, he can certainly buy porn CDs. India has become the third largest user of pornography in the world. Blue movies and CDs are available at any video parlour.

I would be curious to know if Ram Singh was socialized into believing that sex was connected to violence through countless hours of watching porn? I wonder if the police will ask this question during their investigation? Or have they normalized the degradation of women, so much, that they will not explore the root causes of the rape.

– Ruchira Gupta, same as above.

18. Capitalism:

… there is a widening gap between the rich and the poor. Earlier atleast the rich did what they did with a fair amount of discretion. Now it’s all out there, on television, all the sort of conspicuous consumption, and there is an anger and a psychosis building up. Women at the top, at the middle and the bottom are going to pay the price for it, not so much at the top but certainly the dalit women are continuously going to be subjected to violence, and young urban women like the one to whom this happened are very very vulnerable to this kind of psychotic rage.

Arundhati Roy, writer/activist.

19. The late shift:

Any information about women employees working after 8pm should be sent in advance to the labour department. During inspection, the permission received from the labour department for deploying women beyond the permitted time will have to be produced when asked for by district administration officials.

PC Meena, Gurgaon deputy commissioner.

20. Nightclubs. No quote, unfortunately, only a notification.

21. Meat and alcohol:

We cannot stop a crime like rape by policing only…. I think rapes will come down significantly if people stop eating non-vegetarian. There has been lot of research on this…. Rapes will come down significantly if alcohol consumption is not there.

Agnivesh, Swami.

22. The local agents of capitalism and imperialism:

The global upswing in gender violence (including sexual violence and domestic violence) and misogynistic rape culture, ought then to be traced at least in part to the imperatives of global capitalism and imperialism and their local agents, to justify an increased burden of social reproduction for women, the availability of women from the former colonies as pliant labour, and rape as a weapon against people’s movements resisting primitive accumulation. The fear of violence contributes to disciplining women into suitable labourers, both for global production as well as reproduction.

Kavita Krishnan, Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA). Explanation and response here.

23. The high price of movie tickets:

For a … context to hyper-violent masculinity, we must look at culture. Increasingly, cities have no recreational spaces for young men. Films, long one of the few cultural activities that a working-class audience could participate in, now target élites; movie theatre prices exclude large parts of the youth population. There is diminishing access to theatre, art, music and sport. In its place, the street becomes the stage for acting out adulthood, through substance abuse and violence.

Praveen Swami, Editor, The Hindu.

24. Class conflict:

There is a palpable estrangement between the categories – rich, middle class, poor — in India today. In this very estranged society there is no empathy between the classes. It’s each to his own and survival of the fittest. The number of malcontents is growing. The only way that some in this category feel they can kick the system and hurt the high and mighty at whose hands they suffer daily reprimands and insults, is to commit acts that shake the very foundations of what we call “decent” society. Rape then becomes a way of venting all frustrations against a category that is seen as perpetrating and perpetuating social wrongs by depriving the weak and disenfranchised of their share of financial and other resources.

Patricia MukhimThe Statesman. (Hat tip: Sneha Palit)

25. Lingerie mannequins and ads:

Lingerie mannequins promote rapes. Skimpily clad mannequins can pollute young minds. After the Delhi rape case, I felt something had to be done.

– Ritu Tawade, Corporator, BMC.

26. Fashion:

When you are taking food which gives good josh, as time goes you tend to be more naughty… Rapes and all cannot be controlled by police. And people are turning out to be more fashionable. Even the villagers are wearing salwar-kameez from coastal Andhra villages where it used to be very traditional. All these things provoke these type of things, which is not in control of the police… So rapes per se increase or decrease, you cannot attribute to the police.

Dinesh Reddy, Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh.

27. Not visiting temples:

There is a cultural difference between Chennai and Bhopal” and “crimes such as chain snatching, eve teasing et cetera are low there. People are religious and women visit temples everyday. They are fully dressed and there is no vulgarity. It is also peaceful and Marwari businessmen have settled there for work because the environment is safe.

– Babulal Gaur, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister

28. The Night Show:

Did Nirbhaya really have go to watch a movie at 11 in the night with her friend? Take the Shakti Mills gang rape case. Why did the victim go to such an isolated spot at 6 pm?

– Asha Mirje, Member, Maharashtra State Women’s Commission

If you know any other theories, please share in the comments.

UPDATE: “Revealing clothes” isn’t included because it isn’t “unusual”; it’s practically conventional wisdom. Jeans are a particularly  popular target.

BONUS: A look at the symbols the media attaches to rape.

UPDATE: Related collection here, to which I also owe a hat tip for #12 and #13. I’m rather pleased that such remarks result in an uproar, apology etc. More here. There is, obviously, some overlap.

6 Responses

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  1. […] Thirdly, it’s not clear how Krishnan’s version of “rape culture” works. While Akin’s statement was vile and ignorant, how exactly does it lead to more rape? Rapists aren’t worried about impregnating their victims. Insensitive statements such as these are hurtful and make life harder for the victims of rape, but it’s a strong and unsubstantiated claim that these lead to more rape. “Rape culture” should not be a black box into which unpleasant things go in at one end and come out as rape at the other. It’s this kind of muddled thinking that allows me to compile lists like this. […]

  2. Skanda said, on May 27, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    What about Legitimate rape?? That has got to be a classic!!

  3. Nidaa said, on May 28, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    For some reason I found high housing price the funniest


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