This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Abhishek Jha. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Do You Think The ‘Rape-Problem’ Is Just Indian?

More from Abhishek Jha

By Abhishek Jha:

While following the debates that started after India’s Daughter was banned by the Indian state, I found myself repeatedly being directed to a Quora question. It hit the news soon. A professor had denied an internship opportunity to an Indian student citing India’s rape problem. Although the professor has formally apologised, there is a need to look at this incident.

Photo Credit
Photo Credit

Students from the sub-continent do face a lot of racism abroad. There is a possibility that a person of colour, a Muslim, or a bearded person could be profiled, discriminated against, assaulted, or believed to be a potential terrorist. The assumption of the professor that rape is an Indian problem is a racist one. Leslee Udwin herself said repeatedly in her interviews that the reason why she was drawn towards making a documentary on this particular incident of rape was because of the students’ protests that followed it; and one may add, they required no popular ambassadors to draw the attention of the masses.

To just give you a perspective, a UN Women report from 2012, which compiled surveys across countries, shows that 40% women in Germany have faced physical and/or sexual violence from partners or non-partners in their lifetime as compared to 35.4% women in India. Without getting vengeful (for the surveys in the compilation also belong to a different year, and there could be other surveys too), we can admit, at the very least, that violence against women happens all across the globe. The difference of a few percentages between countries is neither a ground for jingoistic chest thumping nor for generalised discrimination.

Rapes and sexual assaults are rooted in patriarchy and patriarchal customs and practices that are deeply entrenched in societies across the globe.

This leads to another interesting observation. The professor’s generalised comments almost assumed the “rape-problem” to be an Indian problem, from which Germany and its society can protect itself by banishing Indians. This is not very different from how some people responded to ‘India’s Daughter’. Just like the professor, some people committed the mistake of assuming that the rapist and his lawyers are a monstrous ‘other’, because of their comments.

The truth is that these very comments are made or have been made inside homes all across the world, and by people in positions of power all over the world. What we probably need to do is shed our prejudices and re-examine our understanding of things.


You must be to comment.
  1. Ra’s al Ghul

    Rape is made to look like a problem restricted to India because of the high rate of false rape cases

  2. Ra’s al Ghul

    Do you think men being treated like garbage is an Indian problem? Men are not seen as human beings in society, that is why we never talk about the biases that men face on a daily basis, how women usurp half of men’s properties during divorces, how courts give men stricter sentences for the same crimes that women commit, how juries give verdicts against men in domestic disputes, how men give alimony to women, misandry in the media, sexism against men, domestic violence against men, how men are locked up in false cases of rape, dowry, and domestic abuse, etc.

    Millions of boys face male genital mutilation. Of course that doesn’t matter, because they are boys. Millions of boys are kidnapped for forced labour, drug peddling, sale of organs, illegal adoption, and begging. There is a silent epidemic against the blood, sweat, and tears of boys who work as labourers, cleaners, servants, in lock factories, as mechanics, in restaurants, as street-vendors, at tea stalls, as electricians, plumbers, carpenters, woodcutters, rickshaw pullers, etc. Many boys’ limbs are chopped off and then they are forced to beg for the rest of their lives.

    More than 3 times as many men die due to dowry harassment at the hands of their wives.

    From 2005 to 2008, as many as 22,000 men have ended their lives in reverse dowry harassment after allegedly being tormented by their wives. In contrast, dowry harassment has driven 6,800 women to suicide – Times Of India

    According to NCRB data, there were 2,22,091 arrests related to 498A in 2013 alone, out of which 1,74,620 were men and 47,471 were women – A man is arrested every 3 minutes for dowry. Including both sexes, an arrest is made approximately every 2.3 minutes. 98% allegations are false.

    When 133 boys were killed in a school in Peshawar, the media used the word ‘children’ to hide crimes against boys. When Boko Haram kills, mutilates, burns alive, and slits the throats of boys, no one raises an eyebrow, but when he kidnaps girls, the media and feminists wake up. There are numerous such incidents.

    The biggest perpetrators of violence against women are women themselves i.e. mothers-in-law. And in households where mothers-in-law are kind, it is the daughters-in-law who wreak havoc and break families apart, by poisoning their husband’s minds against their parents and siblings. Sisters-in-law are not far behind, with their mind-boggling family politics.

    Women love to beat their maids and servants black and blue, especially child servants, and take enormous pride in taunting and abusing their husbands, not to mention physical violence. Men do not report domestic violence because it is considered unmanly to do so. If you talk about the violence perpetrated by women, you can also be a victim of death threats from women, as in the case of Erin Pizzey (Google it).

    Since courts and juries worldwide are biased in favour of women, and police are also more likely to believe women, women abuse the judicial system to their advantage.

    According to the Canadian statistics on gender equality:

    Women receive physical custody of 92% of all children of separation, and men only 4%, women are acquitted of spousal murder at a rate 9 times that of men, men are sentenced 2.8 times longer than women for spousal murder. Furthermore, men commit suicide at 4 times the rate of women, live an average of 7 years less than women, account for more than 95% of all workplace fatalities, and are murdered at a rate 5 times that of women.

    The draconian Indian laws have led to an increase in the suicide rate among men, where a woman simply has to accuse a man of abusing her, physically or sexually, with little evidence, if any, and land him behind bars. Compared to women, twice as many men in India commit suicide.

  3. Monistaf

    So, I guess all the feminists in India (Men and Women) have been vindicated and declare it as a victory now that this documentary has effectively demonized all Indian men. This is not very different from Emma Watson’s UN speech where she mentions that feminism has become synonymous with man-hating. I guess you must now celebrate the fact that people around the world find one more reason to discriminate (As if they did not have enough already).

    Nobody denies that the incident from December 2012 was repulsive, despicable and tragic to say the least. To make a documentary and project it as the prevailing norm for India’s daughters and son’s is ridiculous. The documentary did exactly that, to the vast majority of the people outside India, including this so called professor who watched it. This is because the film maker refused to talk about the millions of men (more men than women) all over India who took to the streets to express their outrage and protested until the law was changed, again by a majority male parliament in an attempt to deter such crimes in the future. The male judge who handed down the death sentence or the male hangman who will eventually prepare the noose. She chose, instead to focus on the views of the rapist and his defense team. One of the most common ways to tell a lie is to not tell the whole truth. It appears that this documentary is more a personal vendetta than holistic journalism trying to create awareness of an issue.

    I guess the feminists can revel in the fact that the world hates Indian men, as much as the feminists in India do, but remember that if you have any men in your life that you care about, they are on that same list. Just so you know, this is not an isolated incident. At a major tech conference last week, one of the men was surprised how so many Indian women have escaped their fate (Of being India’s daughter) to become techies!!

  4. Ra’s al Ghul

    Innocent man lynched in Nagaland – medical reports show no rape. Another case of false rape where a man loses his life.

    75% of rape comlaints are false.

More from Abhishek Jha

Similar Posts

By India Development Review (IDR)

By Mrittika Mallick

By Rohit Malik

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below