Why this focus on ’rapes in India’ by world media?

Judging from media reports, India has a BIG problem with rape. No other country seems to come even close. All over the globe “another rape in India” is reported ever so often.  On my last visit to Germany, I jolted when on 27. December 2013 the most popular TV news ended with “another gang rape in India”. It was one of only five topics of the 15 minutes broadcast.

Even my sister wondered how a gang rape in India made it to the main news in Germany. That same day in a conservative estimate, over a thousand rapes would have been committed all over the world.  In the USA some 200, in South Africa some 170. In the western cities, the statistics show a high percentage, much higher than in India. Many of those rapes would have been gang rapes. In many cases, the girl or woman would have been killed. Behind each of those statistical figures are painful, heartrending stories. If we knew what is happening at this very moment on this earth – how much pain humans inflict on other humans and on animals – we could not bear it.  With so much crime happening everywhere, why is India being singled out and shamed with “another gang rape”, when it actually has only a fraction of the crimes other countries have in relative numbers? In absolute numbers of course it would be no surprise if India with her huge population of four times the size of the United States were number one apart from China. Even then it is not number one. USA is.

The deluge of rape reports on India started with the shameful gang rape of a young woman, Jyoti, in a bus in Delhi on December 16th, 2012. Jyoti died. The six culprits were convicted. One committed either suicide (official version) or was killed by prison inmates. Four got death sentence. The sixth was a minor, six months short of his 18th birthday. He got away with 3 years in a reprimand home. As he allegedly was the most brutal of all and responsible for the death of Jyoti, efforts are on to try him as an adult.

This gang rape received unprecedented publicity. It reached national and local news all over the globe. It reached even a friend in Slovenia, who is usually oblivious of what is happening. Why was it broadcasted all over with such intensity? Was it because Indians protested in a big way and demanded harsh punishment? Those protests should have actually gone in favour of India, as they made clear that Indians consider rape as completely against their culture. But the opposite happened:

Ever since that December 2012, news on India have centered almost exclusively on “another rape” and even on the “rape culture of India”. One year later, the tragic story of Jyoti was again splashed over half a page in a local Nuremberg newspaper, and in its year-end- review, the Spiegel magazine did not feature anything about India, not even the Uttarakhand disaster with over 7000 dead, but – a group of victims of sexual abuse learning martial arts in Lucknow, ready to take on anyone who molests women. Obviously it was implied that such molesters are lurking at every corner.

India does have a problem with rape. Other countries also have this problem. Yet the exclusive focus by the world media on “rapes in India’ is not justified and raises suspicion of an agenda behind it. Articles appeared now, often written by Indians with Hindu names, that Indian (read Hindu) culture is to be blamed for the rapes, because it does not consider women as ‘autonomous entities’, which probably means that they can’t do what they want. The Washington Post proclaimed that sexual violence was endemic in India. The Reuters Trust Law group named India one of the worst countries in the world for women. A Harvard committee crafted strategies for ‘adolescent education’ to change the Indian mindset about gender. It was getting a bit much. Don’t westerners look at their own record – past and present – and compare it with that of India? Are they not ashamed?

Anyone who cares to find out will easily discover that rape is not in the culture of India, and women have a good, even respected position compared to other cultures or countries. This position may not be in tune with the view of feminists, but are feminists the measure of all things? Do those feminists believe that village women in India want to be like them? In my view, those feminists look pitiable in the eyes of those often very strong village women who see Sita as their ideal. The main anguish of those women is poverty, not gender roles.

To blame Hindu culture is preposterous to say the least. In fact, if Hindu culture would have prevailed and Christianity and Islam had never appeared on the scene, the world would be a better place. Christians and Muslims have traditionally used rape as a tool of war. For them, the ‘other’ was never worthy of any consideration and could be brutally raped and killed never mind if they were civilians. The Geneva Convention’s purpose is to stop this barbaric behaviour. Hindus never needed a Geneva Convention. They also fought wars, but they did not brutalize women or the civilian population.

The campaign to paint India blacker than it is sadly has worked. It is now a ‘fact’ for most foreigners (and for the convinced Indians) that Indian women have to live terrible lives, more terrible than anywhere else. No disagreeing possible. Everyone will shout you down with plenty of horrific examples. Yes, there are plenty of horrific examples and one needs to find out the reasons and find remedies. But individual criminals do not define a country, even less, if other countries have more of them. So why is India beaten with “another gang rape” again and again? Is the purpose to spoil the image of India? And if so, why?

In recent times, Indians have clearly made a mark. There is tremendous talent in the country. It is acknowledged that Indians have brains. This expresses itself in a new found confidence. ‘Western values’ are more likely to be scrutinized now and the ancient Hindu tradition is seeing a renaissance. The ‘established opinion’ that Christianity and Islam are any time better than Hinduism is being challenged. Modern western values are also more likely to be scrutinized and the west does not like it. The established opinions have power and this power seems to be used to malign India in a most unfair manner.

Rape is a delicate subject and whoever tries to place it into perspective is likely to get slaps from all sides, not least from the women’s groups. Not many will dare to state, that India has a problem, but not a bigger one than other countries, and does not need interference from the west in handling it. In fact, India has a great advantage. The family system is generally still strong especially among the masses who have escaped English education. Celibacy before marriage is still valued and not ridiculed. Romantic love is still seen for what it is – a temporary emotion and not a solid basis for a lifelong companionship. Compromise among family members and even sacrifice are not yet condemned as restricting individual freedom. Sita is still an ideal for most Hindu women. Bhakti, love for God, can still be expressed.

The fact that these values are still strong is not appreciated by western opinion makers. Those values are considered out of sync with the Zeitgeist. They pose a challenge to the western lifestyle which is being pushed into India. ‘Modern, western values’ mean for example (I learned this from an article in Focus, a German magazine) to live in rainbow or patchwork families, Those families will either have gays as ‘parents’ or children from different partners as the parents would have had several live-in relationships earlier. It is supposed to be a great learning experience for everyone. A book will soon be out in Germany that examines whether gays make better ’parents’ than the traditional man–woman combination. It is overlooked, that these ‘parents’ can’t produce children together. But then, who needs children in the west?

Traditional Indian society is clearly out of sync with this modern lifestyle and to portray it in a poor light, “another rape” makes headlines every other day. Care is taken that only rapes committed by men with Hindu names reach the limelight and are discussed on TV. India has some 200 million Muslims and some 50 million Christians and they also commit rapes and very cruel ones, as well. For example the minor in the rape case of Jyothi is a Muslim. This news, however, did not make it to the mainstream media. There seems to be communalism in regard to broadcasting crimes, and maybe even in registering them. This makes sense, if the objective is to demean Hindu culture and thereby propel it to reform and open up. It is expected to leave those old fashioned family values behind, to have condom vending machines in colleges, to consider free sex as normal. What better start than to talk of rape? It prepares the ground for allowing westerners to prepare the syllabus for ‘adolescent education’. And once the youth is convinced, the ‘backward’ Hindu society will be a thing of the past.

This prospect would be a horror for the Indian masses from all religions. Hindu society is indeed rigid in certain aspects and has much scope to improve, but its values are still highly preferable to western, modern ‘values’. One just needs to look at western societies to realise that the modern life style is a failed model. It has already regrettable fallout: many youngsters are without direction because of too much freedom. They long for clear rules and turn to fundamentalist, evangelical churches. Hindu Dharma would be the better option. But they are not likely to get to know about it in an unbiased manner.

By Maria Wirth

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249 comments

  1. Abhijeet kumar · · Reply

    Dear Maria ,I think you are like my mother,It’s a very true story but we Indians are beaten by wrong impacts of media and western culture ,it is very hard for Indians(hindus) to realize our real hindu culture and to understand our ancient and most scientific books like vedas and Bhagvadgita etc,because there is no any tool to save this but still when people like you and me live on this earth and realize it’s value and spread it and stand for it sanatan dharm will be safe.I am thankful to you for such a good thing for Hinduism i.e our vedic culture.

  2. Reblogged this on krishankumarjhs.

  3. Índia need femenism

    1. How immature you are Ms. Karol! Although we welcome equal justice for both gender, how this will solve the problem? If this would solve the problem then, there would have not been such incidents during Indira Gandhi Period. No such incidents would have recorded during Margret Thatcher period in England? Realty is different and theoretical approach is different. Equality does not mean justice Madam. Read between sentence.

    2. They already have feminism.

      1. Mr. Taylor you reflected India very well! Kudos! It is mere vested interest by Indian Media, as most of the media in India are owned by foreigners. Reason you know, I believe, as to why they project India like this. We need more people like you to propaganda about India high in your respective countries to counter this media terrorism against India. Will you pal?

      2. Read before you jump with a dagger on her throat.

  4. […] Supply: Why this focus on rape in India by the world media? […]

  5. Fantastic article! I noticed a while ago the media would constantly portray India negatively on rape cases and when I searched up the statistics on the countries with the highest number of rape incidences, USA was way higher then India, India was pretty low and didn’t even make the top ten actually, so why is the media constantly picking on India? I don’t know why but it’s probably the same reason the media portrays anyone Black as criminals or violent, Africa as poor and dirty and Mexicans as illegals. I personally don’t believe everything I see or read and there’s definitely a racist undertone behind the rape reports on India. I’ve traveled to India and it was a perfectly fine country like any other. The media is inaccurate and I find it funny whenever someone blindly believes everything they hear.

    1. unfortunately there are still many who believe media reports blindly…

  6. If the world goinh to call hindus rapers so be it that way but 1 day we well have time there is all wase god seeing us

  7. […] Source: Why this focus on rape in India by the world media? […]

  8. Very well written Mam. I seriously didn’t understood how and why a Country whose people were on roads for every rape case to fight against it..so to stop this horrific crime..to punish convicts..were labeled as rapists?
    Moreover every case from here was presented in world as we have invested a new horrific thing while it is happening all over the world but instead of solving out own issues..people mocking India.

  9. Very well said mam…
    i have a incident to tell..
    Today someone from USA replied to my comment by saying that “India is worst country of world and everyone hate Indian men and even wife’s of Indian men are ignoring them because 1000 of women are getting raped everyday”. I don’t know who told them this bullshit.
    This is what people are getting about India, and their is only one to blame and that’s media.

  10. I am a Hindu by birth and yet you seem know more about my religion than I do.

  11. very well said mam..agree with you..

  12. […] German writer, Maria Wirth explains why Indian rape related stories make headlines all over the world including Germany and […]

  13. Rajan Kumar · · Reply

    God bless u…who are u…and where have u been….my perception always changes time to time about my religion, society and culture…and i am unable to decide which perception is correct….May be u r the person from whom i can learn a lot…Thank you so much..for sharing ur wisdom…

  14. DING DONG · · Reply

    Um. Maybe because rape has been used as traditional, governing body sanctioned, non-taboo form of punishment for over one thousand years, and that it is STILL being used as such. Village leaders in the country side (over 90% of India) explicitly order Kumar, Veejay, Vinnie, Ranesh, and a few other villagers BY NAME to explicitly go over and administer gang rape as explicit, ordered punishment by an authority figure.
    I know indians are going to say “lalalallalala gang rape in USA happens all the time.” But no, not as much as it does in India where it is a traditional form of punishment. RAPE IS AN APPLICATION OF LAW(common or otherwise) IN INDIA. That’s right. It’s lawful to rape in India.

    1. shobhit srivastava · · Reply

      In the case of India, you want to treat exceptions as norms, and for US you take norms as exceptions. In India incidence rate is less than 1 per 100,000 whereas US has about 27 per 100,000. There were 84,767 cases of rape in US in 2010 as compared to 5,484 in India. Shows you are heavily biased for white skin.
      You want go into reasons and rape in villages? First thing is every rape is equally evil whatever be the reason. Every is same! So don’t try to justify the shameful numbers by the argument of reasons behind rape. Yes, there are problems in India and we are working to solve them. Recently, one of the states has banned proclamation of punishments by village bodies. But our problems don’t justify your numbers. So, rather than pointing fingers towards us, look within yourself and try to make your country a better place for women. If you are a man I can understand your ignorance and if you are a woman, I simply don’t understand your psyche.
      Best wishes from India to put your home in order. GOOD LUCK!

  15. Maria u are doing a great job

  16. There are two types of people in this world- the kind, clever, good-hearted, rational thinking ones and the other, the muslims.
    And i love the later…

  17. […] Coming back to the “Western conspiracy” I would like to quote maria wirth’s words from her blog https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/why-this-focus-on-rapes-in-india-by-world-media/ […]

  18. Bed Prakash Agarwal · · Reply

    very nicely written and one who understands the Hindu culture and India can only write this.

  19. […] Wirth, a German writer had earlier explained why India’s rape stories make worldwide news. She had observed that German media […]

  20. Girish RK Nair · · Reply

    Ma’am not, mom,
    You are the real Mataji of India. No words sufficient to greet you .

  21. Karthikeyan Chidambaram · · Reply

    I am from Mumbai.

    The incidents of letching, cat calls in Mumbai’s crowded suburban railway stations have virtually disappeared now after the tremendous media coverage being given to r*pe incidents since 2013.

    Believe me, such coverage has disciplined hoodlums a lot.

  22. […] Why this focus on ‘rapes in India’ by world media? […]

  23. […] India into a “rape capital”, it is worth a pause. Maria Wirth, a German émigré to India wrote on how she found German TV disproportionately reporting a rape incident in far-away India, while a local rape was a […]

  24. SenthilRaja G · · Reply

    Some people born in India but got brainwashed or got addicted to western culture try to defame India in every possible way. You are one of the few people who defend and try to safeguard our culcture. Lot of thanks ma.

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