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The Invisible Reasons Behind India’s Rape Epidemic

One rape case was reported every 16 minutes in India in 2019. This makes India one of the worst places to be a woman. The rise in the cases of sexual crimes in our country is undeniable. Despite the current cultural change and conversation surrounding women’s safety, India seems to be on the brink of an epidemic. This therefore, forces us to dig deep and question the reason behind India’s rape crisis- is there an increase in the crimes committed or is the number this high due to more cases being officially reported.

Due to waves of Feminism, better education and more awareness, sex has gone from a hushed topic to a more open conversation where people unabashedly talk about their experiences with sexual abuse and assaults. This comfort not only destigmatizes the sufferers of sexual violence but also brings with it a further opportunity to better understand the plight that the victims of these heinous crimes go through. Due to the attackers now being named, understanding the mentality and motives behind these crimes is also becoming easier.

To start with it is important to understand the term xenophobia. The term xenophobia is defined as the fear or hatred of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange. This can be linked to racism, discrimination, riots, wars and just violence in general. But how does this relate to a secular nation like India? India is in the midst of the largest migration the world has ever seen – the rural to urban migration. Close to 31 villagers are estimated to show up in a city every minute, over the course of the next four decades. This rapid and unprecedented transformation has led to a very violent cultural confrontation. Men from these villages, many of whom have had barely any interaction with the opposite sex other than their mothers or sisters for much of their lives, go from the age old well set caste systems and gendered roles to a place where these old traditional social systems and roles simply cease to exist. With the dawn of modernization and westernization, this leads to a lot of confusion in the minds of these young men and women. Moreover, the government provides less attention to the issues of these migrants.

Only ten percent of internal migrants are employed by the industries while the rest are forced into the informal sector where they work in the streets and live in the slums, disregarded by the state and even the society. This can lead to a sense of deepened xenophobia with these internal migrants viewing themselves as devalued and weaker i.e. more ‘feminine’. Something similar can also be seen in the society, when certain men fail to perform and match consistently to the perceptions of the dominant masculinities they are then devalued or feminized and placed under the same groups as the women. This rural to urban problem contributes as a causal factor in the accelerating rapes in India, especially in a city like Delhi. Despite this transformation being a contributor to this issue, it does not, however, conclude the discussion given the rise in the rates of rape cases within these villages as well. In a country like India where a woman is viewed as the honor of the family, especially in rural areas, a crime like rape becomes a tool for vengeance. With the government launching new schemes and programs to uplift the lower castes, aiming to get them jobs and education, we see a dispersion in the order between castes. This leads to a lot of anger among people of the higher castes who then project their power by raping women of the lower caste. The same tactics are observed in wars. Raping a woman is viewed as a means to ‘emasculate the men of the other community’.

Another alarming reason behind these crimes is India’s skewed sex ratio. With nine hundred and ten women per thousand men in 2020, India has the second lowest sex ratio after China. This may not seem like a big number but when we translate it into India’s population we see, approximately, forty million more men than women. Because of this skewed sex ratio, the age group of 17 to 35 year olds are left single without brides. The same age group is responsible for the most crime, with ninety-five percent of these men having criminal records. Historically a less female to male ratio is correlated to an increase in the number of crimes, violence, and a more patriarchal society.

Men have raped babies as well as 90-year-old women as well as men. Despite that the conversation always seems to be centered around blaming the women and her clothing. The prevalence of rape culture and unwilling to face the facts, not only heightens this victim blaming but can lead to fewer reporting of such cases. This attitude encourages the perpetrators to keep doing all the heinous things they want without being held accountable. However, we do see a positive wave of change with both men and women pointing out the flaws of the system and uniting to seek justice for victims of these crimes. While India is still in the midst of this epidemic, it is us, all of us who should question and stand up for what’s right which moves us closer to a more equal and just society.

media

Media: Limitations of story coverage

Our mornings generally start with a dose of news, most of us have subscribed to numerous YouTube channels or follow many social media sites on Instagram and Facebook which keep us updated with the latest happenings around the world. The media never fails to intimidate us be it a global crisis, politics or even haute couture, they have got the latest updates on each and everything. But many a times many media outlets fail to cover many issues. Areas affected by wild weather such as cyclones and tsunamis tend to get less coverage as these stories become hard to cover due to the drastic conditions and the untamed circumstances. These days you find many news and media outlets using drone footage which is not only found to be easier but also more feasible. Technology has always played a crucial role and its advancements can be definitely seen in the developing world where it is seen giving a tough competition to mankind. Many factors play a crucial role in barring the media from covering a plethora of stories.

The fear factor has a crucial role to play in this situation, certain issues which need to be covered by media require a strong courage .Political implications can also restrict media outlets from showcasing certain news features and this can add up to the long list of uncovered data. The notion of censorship also pays a huge role here, many news agencies and media outlets are put under acute pressure from organizations to not showcase a certain story. In many cases the topics being covered are quite sensitive and hence are not shared with the viewers. Eventually many agencies spike the news feature or do not show the true story at all. Also, covering the latest developments is a lengthy task which consists of tedious work. To keep on giving the audience some trendy tea which is accompanied by their hot cup of coffee is not a cake walk, it requires man power and is time consuming, it requires a great deal of patience and also needs a lot of research.

Viewers expect news to be delivered and updated on time and many media houses fail to meet the audience’s demand. They end up delivering inaccurate information which sometimes turns out to be fake or the data being shared by them is wrong which also leads to a slump in the quality of content and can hamper the ratings of the media house.

Media outlets require a strong audience but when the viewers become unresponsive the news agencies and media companies lose their drive to showcase the latest stories. A news agency with low ratings can easily roll down from the viewers’ top picks. Even though journalist risk their lives, go out of their way and have scaled heights in covering the latest events by dodging their fears, but still they do face certain obstacles in their day to day lives which bar them from covering the current developments.