#MeToo in India: India Deemed Worst Place to Be Female After Reports Show One Woman Gets Raped Every 15 Minutes

Published January 10th, 2020 - 05:49 GMT
A #MeToo protest took place amid a revived debate over sexual violence in India. / AFP
A #MeToo protest took place amid a revived debate over sexual violence in India. / AFP

According to Indian government data, one woman reported a rape every 15 minutes on average in the country in the past year, underlining it as the worst place to be female in the world.

After several headline-grabbing cases in recent months, a #MeToo protest took place amid a revived debate over sexual violence in India. One specific tragic gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, Nirbhaya Galvanised, sparked nationwide outrage.

The horrific gang-rape and murder of the young woman happened when she was heading home with a male friend from a cinema, when six men lured them onto a bus.

With no one else in sight, they beat the man with a metal bar, raped the woman and used the bar to inflict massive internal injuries to her. The pair were dumped naked on the roadside, and the woman died in hospital two weeks later.

The incident brought tens of thousands of protesters onto the streets across India, who demanded activists, lawmakers and politicians to pass laws that enforce harsher punishments and new fast-track courts for rapists and sexual predators.

Nirbhaya’s case is not the first of its kind, as a teenage rape victim committed suicide last year, accusing the police of inaction.

Months before her rapist was convicted, the victim and her family were threatened to drop the case after a truck crashed into the car she was in, injuring her and killing two of her relatives. 

Women reported almost 34,000 rapes this year alone. According to the annual crime report released by the Ministry of Home Affairs, only 85% rapists were charged, with only 27% convicted.

Nonetheless, the violence still remained unabated. The government statistics understate the number of rapes as it is still considered taboo to report rape in some parts of India, because those that end in murder are counted purely as murders.

Women’s rights groups say crimes against women are not being taken seriously, and investigations by Indian police lack justice. 

“The country is still run by men, we only have one female prime minister, and she is incapable of making change with all these men in charge… Most judges are still men,” said Lalitha Kumaramangalam, former chief of the National Commission for Women. 

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