Police often part of the problem for rape victims in India

Many Indian women say a powerful force stands in the way of justice for victims of assault: The police

Topics: Rape, Sexual assault, Violence Against Women, delhi gang rape, Women's Rights, ,

Police often part of the problem for rape victims in India

The brutality of the gang rape and murder of Jyoti Singh Pandey on a Delhi bus last month has thrown into stark relief the problem the violence against women in India. But even as the country struggles to bring the men responsible to justice, many Indian women say a powerful force stands in the way of bringing about real change.

The police.

Often corrupt and overwhelmingly male, the presence of local police does not make women feel any safer on the streets, many say. “If you’re a woman in distress, the last thing you want to do is go to the police,” Vrinda Grover, a human rights lawyer based in New Delhi, told the New York Times.

A woman who spoke anonymously to the Times said that not long after telling the police that she had been raped, she looked out her apartment window to see the man who had attacked her joking with an officer who had given him a ride home from the police station.

In fact, the treatment of women by the police is such a problem that laws now forbid officers from even bringing women in for questioning at night. In case after case, police opt to seek “reconciliation” between the attacker and his victim, often delivering the abused women back into the hands of her abuser.

As reported by the Times:

On Dec. 26, an 18-year-old Punjabi woman committed suicide after police officers refused for five weeks to arrest the men who were suspected of gang raping her and instead pressed her to marry one of the men. So many Indian women end up marrying their rapists that the police often squander the first hours and days after a woman reports a rape seeking just such a resolution, said Ravi Kant, president of Shakti Vahini, a nonprofit advocacy group.

You Might Also Like

Even police who try to prosecute assault cases can be stymied by political pressure. Officers have few civil service protections, and politicians can punish them at will. And many low-level officers, making as little as $100 each month, for constables, have turned to demanding bribes on everything from routine traffic violations to major crimes as a way to make ends meet. It’s behavior that shatters public trust, and perpetuates a cycle of insecurity and violence.

But the problem isn’t unique to India. The conversation about rape, law enforcement and greater accountability in the aftermath of the Delhi rape and murder case has sparked a larger conversation on social media about the culture of prosecuting rape and sexual assault cases everywhere — including the United States.

In the summer of 2011, two officers were fired from the NYPD — but faced no jail time — for entering an intoxicated woman’s home and groping her while she wore only a bra. Earlier this month, a lawsuit filed by a former assistant dean of students against the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill alleges that UNC officials pressured her to underreport sexual assault cases on campus.

 

 

 

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    DAYA  
    Young Daya has yet to become entirely jaded, but she has the character's trademark skeptical pout down pat. And with a piece-of-work mother like Aleida -- who oscillates between jealousy and scorn for her creatively gifted daughter, chucking out the artwork she brings home from summer camp -- who can blame her?

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    MORELLO   
    With her marriage to prison penpal Vince Muccio, Lorna finally got to wear the white veil she has fantasized about since childhood (even if it was made of toilet paper).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CINDY   
    Cindy's embrace of Judaism makes sense when we see her childhood, lived under the fist of a terrifying father who preached a fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity. As she put it: "I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell."

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CAPUTO   
    Joey Caputo has always tried to be a good guy, whether it's offering to fight a disabled wrestler at a high school wrestling event or giving up his musical ambitions to raise another man's child. But trying to be a nice guy never exactly worked out for him -- which might explain why he decides to take the selfish route in the Season 3 finale.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    BOO   
    In one of the season's more moving flashbacks, we see a young Boo -- who rejected the traditional trappings of femininity from a young age -- clashing with her mother over what to wear. Later, she makes the decision not to visit her mother on her deathbed if it means pretending to be something she's not. As she puts it, "I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody.”

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    SOSO
    We still don't know what landed Brooke Soso in the slammer, but a late-season flashback suggests that some seriously overbearing parenting may have been the impetus for her downward spiral.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    POUSSEY
    We already know a little about Poussey's relationship with her military father, but this season we saw a softer side of the spunky fan-favorite, who still pines for the loving mom that she lost too young.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    PENNSATUCKY
    Pennsatucky had something of a redemption arc this season, and glimpses of her childhood only serve to increase viewer sympathy for the character, whose mother forced her to chug Mountain Dew outside the Social Security Administration office and stripped her of her sexual agency before she was even old enough to comprehend it.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CHANG
    This season, we got an intense look at the teenage life of one of Litchfield's most isolated and underexplored inmates. Rebuffed and scorned by her suitor at an arranged marriage, the young Chinese immigrant stored up a grudge, and ultimately exacted a merciless revenge.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    HEALY
    It's difficult to sympathize with the racist, misogynist CO Sam Healy, but the snippets we get of his childhood -- raised by a mentally ill mother, vomited on by a homeless man he mistakes for Jesus when he runs to the church for help -- certainly help us understand him better.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NORMA
    This season, we learned a lot about one of Litchfield's biggest enigmas, as we saw the roots of Norma's silence (a childhood stutter) and the reason for her incarceration (killing the oppressive cult leader she followed for decades).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NICKI
    While Nicki's mother certainly isn't entirely to blame for her daughter's struggles with addiction, an early childhood flashback -- of an adorable young Nicki being rebuffed on Mother's Day -- certainly helps us understand the roots of Nicki's scarred psyche.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>