- Posted August 23, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Speaking up about sexual violence
Let's Talk About This
This iReport was featured on the September iReport for CNN show on CNN International.
- Jamescia, CNN iReport producer
Full disclosure: I am an Indian-American female, and I have only ever visited India with my family members. I am shocked and horrified that incidents like the ones RoseChasm wrote about in her CNN iReport article occur in a country that, even though I am one generation removed, I identify with.
Like the UC student who was on the same study abroad trip, I want to make it absolutely clear that the majority of Indian men are not disrespectful towards women. The Indian men I know personally are kind, intelligent, humble men whose occupations range from businessman, driver, doctor, dancer, and manual laborer. It is unfair to stereotype all Indian men as rapists because this is not the case, and it is a little heartbreaking that some Indian men have felt compelled to apologize on behalf of their entire gender.
Despite my horror and my reflex to defend Indian men on behalf of the many wonderful people I know, I am glad RoseChasm wrote about her experiences. Her article has shocked many with its contents, but it is with public accounts like hers that the sexual harassment is acknowledged.
With stories like RoseChasm’s, the brutal rape of the Delhi student who died last December, the rape of a photojournalist in Mumbai and the most recent news of a 15-year-old being kidnapped and raped, it’s incredibly difficult not to be cynical about the state of the country. Many Indian women certainly feel this way; reports have shown that women are cutting back their work hours because they don’t feel safe commuting in the evening. A quick survey of Indian youth by asking personal acquaintances of mine and reading blogs reveals that my generation believes that India is an unsafe place for women for a multitude of reasons.
Eight months after the infamous case of the rape and murder of a Delhi student, it is also easy to be cynical that any action the government takes will have any effect. Months ago, there was talk of expedited courts and increased punishment, but this has gone nowhere. Policemen and government officials are notoriously corrupt in India and the courts are slow to bring cases to attention.
In the cases that have been made the most public and have raised the most attention, however, arrests have been made. The perpetrators of the Delhi rape case were arrested and convicted much faster than is typical of rape cases. The Mumbai police have arrested one rapist of the photojournalist, and are searching for the other four. Police are conducting raids to find the rapists of the 15-year-old girl in Delhi.
Public outcry has demonstrably generated police action. Just look at the case of the deaths of three sisters in Lakhni, Maharashtra, where police might have been tempted to call the deaths accidental and leave it at that if protesters hadn’t blocked the national highway and demanded a proper investigation.
India has a long way to go in terms of alleviating sexual harassment, a complex global problem that has too many facets to propose any one solution, but public acknowledgement that sexual harassment is a serious issue and demanding action on behalf of victims is a start. The more attention given to rape and sexual harassment cases by Indian citizens there is, the more pressure there is for the police to arrest rapists and for the government to pass legislature that protects victims and punishes perpetrator. Not to mention it sends a powerful message to rapists: you will not get away with this.