India

India Bans BBC's Searing Documentary on the Delhi Gang Rape

But the director's pc plea that rape is a global problem trivializes the violence Indian women confront

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The Indian government last week banned Leslee Udwin's searing new BBC documentary, India's Daughter, on the

Delhi Rape
ramesh_lalwani / Foter / CC BY-NC

gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old med student in New Delhi. It is accusing the documentary of being part of an international conspiracy to defame India. Udwin is calling on the government to call off its foolish ban, pleading that her point was not to single out India, but highlight a global problem. In fact, she says, she loves the country and wanted to "put it on a pedestal." Why? Because rape exists everywhere, she maintains, but India alone arose in spontaneous mass protest against Jyoti's rape, deeply moving Udwin, herself a rape victim.

But I note in my column in TIME that such sentiments might sound noble but their false equivalence does a real disservice to Indian women.

One of the controversial aspects of the film, which is genuinely terrific and responsible, were its interviews with the rapists and their lawyers:

Without a hint of remorse, a soft-spoken Singh (one of the rapists), calmly tells Udwin that a woman is more responsible for rape than a man. Decent girls — 20% of the population, in his estimation — dress modestly and don't stay out until 9 p.m. like Jyoti did. Furthermore, she should not have resisted the rape because then his pals (he insists he only drove the bus while they raped her and violated her with an iron rod) would not have been so brutal.

But even worse than these statements by Singh — a poor, uneducated man who lived in a slum of rural migrants steeped in backward mores (much of which Udwin does a great job of drawing out) — were the comments of his educated, city-dwelling lawyers. One of them asserted that he would have no compunctions about dousing his sister or daughter with petrol and burning her in front of his entire family if she engaged in pre-marital activities…

Most Western countries, including the United States and Udwin's own England, have made far more progress in beating back retrograde patriarchal notions that feed violence against women than India and other traditional societies. For starters, the views expressed by Singh and his lawyers are commonplace in India — but anomalous in America. Udwin would have to drill into the subterranean reaches of America before finding a man willing to spew such bile…

Udwin's original promos for the film had promised to highlight worldwide rape statistics to draw attention to the global scope of the problem. The final film omitted them (at least the version I saw), which is just as well because such statistics mislead more than they enlighten.

India's official rape statistics registered 1.8 rapes per 100,000 people in 2010, compared with the United States' 27.3 in 100,000. But everyone knows that rape is massively underreported in traditional societies, where there is a strong stigma attached to victims. Moreover, the definition of rape is much broader in America compared to India, where marital rape wasn't even considered rape until recently. Perhaps most importantly, whatever problems the U.S. and UK have in prosecuting rape, India's criminal justice system is virtually incapable of arresting and prosecuting rapists in a timely manner — when such arrests and prosecutions are made at all.

Ignoring the strides that some countries have made in safeguarding women and their rights may be politically correct. But such false equivalence doesn't help Indian women. If even rich, advanced countries can't protect their women, it seems to say, then it's no big deal if a poor, developing one like India can't either.

Go here for the whole thing.

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23 responses to “India Bans BBC's Searing Documentary on the Delhi Gang Rape

  1. One of them asserted that he would have no compunctions about dousing his sister or daughter with petrol and burning her in front of his entire family if she engaged in pre-marital activities?

    Seems like a pretty localized conspiracy to defame India.

  2. Udwin would have to drill into the subterranean reaches of America before finding a man willing to spew such bile…

    Or just visit YouTube.

    1. “Or just visit YouTube.”
      Isn’t that what he said?

  3. If Hermione really cares about women’s rights, she might want to start in India.

  4. This is why unbalance American chicks have to make up rape stories to get attention. This is what they’re competing against! Why is no one talking about the victim gap they face?!!

  5. It is accusing the documentary of being part of an international conspiracy to defame India.
    When you modify “conspiracy” with words like “vast” or “international”, you’ve joined the lunatic fringe.

  6. India is such a pro-rape, anti-woman country:

    Punishment for rape.–(1) Whoever, except in the cases provided for by sub-section (2), commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may be for life or for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine unless the woman raped is his own wife and is not under twelve years of age, in which case, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.
    -Indian Penal Code, Ch. XVI, Sec. 376

    Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both”

    Indian Penal Code, Ch. XXII, Sec. 509

    1. And China’s constitution guarantees religious freedom and free speech. What’s your point?

      1. Here’s the wrinkle in that

        The State protects normal religious activities. No one may make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens or interfere with the educational system of the State.

        Who defines “normal” religious activities? The government. Who defines “activities that disrupt public order, et al.”? The government. As our own beloved federal judiciary has proven with the First and Fourth Amendments, it’s easy for government men to write up exceptions to a rule until all that’s left are exceptions (*waves at case law*).

        By contrast, the Indian Penal Code does pretty clearly define the term rape for the purpose of a criminal proceeding.

        Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, my point is that this documentary sounds like more feminist mythologizing about how every man is a vile rapist at heart, and even if he doesn’t commit rape himself, is a member of the patriarchy, and therefore supports rape by virtue of his having a penis.

        I’m sure Ms. Udwin, in the interest of being even-handed and providing a clear picture, pointed out that the Delhi High Court noted that some women in India are making rape claims to extort money, or even marriage from men. And that’s bad.

        1. OK, I’ll accept for now that India’s penal code says all the right things.

          But the fact that meidevel attitudes toward women are very widespread indicates to me that India remains quite “anti-woman” indeed.

          And don’t get me started on arranged marriages.

    2. Hell, the US Constitution promises me that I will be secure in my person, papers, house, and effects.

      How’s that working out?

      1. R C Dean, the cops must absolutely be able to search your house without warrant if it is “reasonable” for them to do so. Because we should always rely on a cop’s ability reasonably weigh between the government’s legitimate interest in public order and your rights.

        If you can’t make this simple sacrifice, then the drug dealers and terrorists have won. Surely you don’t want the drug dealers and terrorists to win, do you?

        1. The “terrorists” are winning – they’re called “the Federal government” or “law enforcement”.

          As for “drug dealers” – why not substitute “car dealers” or “refrigerator dealers” or “Walgreens” (a true “drug dealer”).

          Or were you simply being facetious?

  7. STEVE SMITH LIKE INDIA. MAYBE VISIT FOR NEXT VACATION.

    /too soon

    1. this is why Virginia Postrel hates me

      *gives back one drink*

      1. Hey, I’d hit it.

  8. Do defense attorneys in rape cases make ugly comments? It happens all over the world:

    http://jessicavalenti.com/post…..-gang-rape

    In the case of these Indian lawyers, they have been immediately issued notice by the Indian Bar Council to explain their comments or face possible punitive action:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=II3L3T_tTgQ

  9. “The Indian government last week banned Leslee Udwin’s searing new BBC documentary, India’s Daughter, on the Delhi gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old med student in New Delhi. It is accusing the documentary of being part of an international conspiracy to defame India.”

    Udwin is clearly trying to incite hatred, so yeah, hate speech.

    http://imgur.com/a/pW18T

    All of these geniuses agree that the documentary should be banned.

  10. my classmate’s ex-wife makes $60 /hr on the internet . She has been unemployed for 9 months but last month her payment was $20806 just working on the internet for a few hours. hop over to this web-site……….

    ????? http://www.netjob70.com

  11. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do

    http://www.wixjob.com

  12. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do

    http://www.wixjob.com

  13. Oh NOES – Muh Patriarchy!!111!!!!!!1oneoneone!!

  14. But didn’t you write an article here about how it was so much better for women back in India, because the US has glass ceilings and what not?

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