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Why Is India Seeing a Terrifying Escalation in #Gang #Rapes?

October 25, 2015

by Rita Banerji

India is undeniably seeing an escalation in violent sexual assaults by gangs of men, in which the victims are either killed, or so brutalised they have to be hospitalised. [CLICK HERE for the Campaign’s news reports on gang rapes in India]. There is also a corresponding increase of fear amongst women, a terror of being attacked by a gang of men, where pepper-sprays, self-defence, hand-guns, and emergency speed-dials can be of no help.

Gang rapes by their very nature are collective male statements. In the case of an individual committing rape, the knowledge of the crime usually exists only between the rapist and the victim. The rapist uses his power to silence the victim so he can conceal what he knows is a crime with legal consequences. But a gang rape, by its very set-up, has numerous eye-witnesses, who in their participation in the assault, negate to each other the criminal nature of the act they are all committing. This is in fact a collective validation of the rape. The question that is imperative here is: Why this escalation in gang rapes in India?

One of the clues to that question comes from  a gang rape in January 2014, in Birbhum, West Bengal, where on orders of the panchayat (the village council) a 20-year-old tribal woman was gang-raped by a dozen men as ‘punishment’ for loving a man from another community. The woman was put on a platform, and raped all night with everyone, including women and children watching…


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