Rape and the Media’s Role

This week I want to address a question that people in my country are still asking. India is the largest democracy in the world. It’s economy is growing and strengthening faster than almost any other country on the planet. It is a country celebrated for its cultural richness and diversity, and accused of sending muslim terrorists/ immigrants into the United States by Donald Trump (yet another thing to be proud of). However the Indian Muslim population isn’t the group of people I’m most worried about- It’s the Indian rapist population.

24,923 rape cases were reported in india last year. But that’s a small, small fraction of the number that occur. I know firsthand. My two best friends in India are girls my age- one was molested three years ago and raped this April- MONTHS ago. The other was raped when she was 15, and maintained a relationship with her rapist for a year. Neither ever reported their cases. I could go into why they aren’t reported, but it doesn’t matter to me. Because 69 (ha ha ha but that’s what the math says) reported cases per day should be enough to get attention. 29% of rape cases actually lead to convictions in 2011. Why is the media relevant here? Well the media influences and educates us- the media has everything to do with this. But this video encapsulates the failings of indian media on this issue:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiIxkOah09E

A company known as ‘East India Comedy’ was set up in Mumbai a few years ago and is well known around the country for comedic sketches and stand up shows focusing on delivering social commentary about Indian society. They are our Daily Show, and they cover certain things that Indian media fails to. The entire country is shaken by arguments regarding the cause of rape every week; hundreds of news organisations, politicians and bloggers come together and wage war over the question: Why does India have such a high rate of sexual assault? My personal opinion is that the culprit lies in the quality of our sex education- or our lack of it. Teenagers in India are not taught the most basic and fundamental aspect of sexual interaction- consent. Indian men don’t know what it is. Indian women don’t know what it is. Marital rape is legal not because indian politicians are evil and corrupt (which they are), but because the Indian masses believe that eternal sexual consent is implied the moment a woman accepts a marriage proposal. Sexual fidelity heavily supported by Indian journalists and politicians, but no one actually teaches Indian children the difference between a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ in a physical situation. The media have failed time and time again at propagating this idea and it is their responsibility to bring this issue to the rest of the world, because clearly we cannot solve this problem on our own.

Indian media has consistently allowed ignorance and denial to spread and endure for decades. I am the example the prompt has asked us to demonstrate. I blame the media for allowing this problem to persist in a modern world, where the rest of the world understands how bad rape is, and my own country does not. What do you think?

 

-Karan Abrol

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