The misogyny problem in India

Regarding Dipak Basu’s April 7 letter, “Shameful coverage of rape case“: I would like to ask Basu if he is denying there is a misogyny problem in India? I would also like to ask him if he thinks it is intellectually honest to claim that First World countries like the United States and Britain are worse for women to live in?

I think the answers to those questions are clear.

Pointing out the rape statistics of other countries is not a good defense of the poor status of women in India. It is, rather, a subterfuge that allows Basu to take the focus off his own backyard and place it elsewhere.

While Basu is right to point out that the spirit of India is defined by those good people protesting and not by the criminals, he is wrong to claim that pointing out India’s misogyny problem is equal to promoting racial superiority.

No one is ignoring the reasons for the protests. In fact, the spotlight is currently on India precisely because of the reasons for the protests — that the Indian people are finally standing up against the culture of misogyny that makes India such a poor place for women to live. The world is watching these protests with admiration for the good people of India, and with hope that they will effect change.

As someone who regularly travels to India and who loves the country, I can tell you that I am standing with the Indian people and have confidence that the good will prevail.

Basu should be ashamed. His attempt to downplay the plight of women in his home country, rather than acknowledging it and vowing to join in the fight against it, is the very epitome of the attitude that is being protested and is proof positive that some Indian men are in sincere need of an attitude adjustment.

heidi wiltamuth

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • Starviking

    An excellent response, and far more even-tempered than the one I was considering sending in. Thanks!

  • Dipak Bose

    Here are some statistics about incidents of rape in different countries. The figures are per hundred thousand of population: Australia 91.9, Sweden 63.5, USA 27.3, UK 28.8, Norway 19.2, France 16.2, Mexico 13.2, Bangladesh 10.13, Germany 9.4 and India 1.8.

    • Mints

      Statistics about rape are very difficult to compare internationally because of differences in enforcement and reporting practices, and cultural pressures and expectations concerning the victims. Looking at the figures you provided, I doubt that rapes are actually three times more likely in Sweden than neighboring Norway. I understand that the definition of rape is broader in Sweden than most countries, so that could partially explain the higher rate. One thing the recent coverage on rape in India has exposed is that law enforcement at every level does not take rape seriously, and it can take years for a case to be heard in court. Hence the unbelievably low official rate.

      • Starviking

        I agree. It is disengenuous to present rape statistics as firm figures.

    • blondein_tokyo

      That is because rapes are under reported. They are especially under reported in India, because there is an extreme culture of shame surrounding sex crimes. The victims who do report their rapes are victimized again by the police, who disbelieve them, blame them, and sometimes even throw THEM in jail. Considering India’s “purity” culture, it’s no surprise that women are hesitant to report rape.

  • S.Misra

    The criticisms are misdirected. The British media is not interested about the conditions of the Indian women. They just want to insult India. Nobody has denied that the problem of rape is increasing possibly due to massive injections of pornography since 1990s. The law in India has changed, now it is death sentence for violent rape, life sentence for other rape. However, the British just want to insult India, as they are racists.

    • Starviking

      Yet despite your assertion that the British are racist, the story of the terrible rape on the 16th of December was reported by Pravda, CNN, Al-Jazeera, AFP, the Irish Times, and a whole host of other news agencies and sources. Are the Russians, Americans, Arabs, French, Irish, and likely the rest of the world – all racist?
      Or considering that you seem pretty happy to characterise a nation of 65 million people as all racist, perhaps you need to look in the mirror to discover where racism resides?

    • blondein_tokyo

      Looks to me like YOU also need an attitude adjustment. Pointing out that there is a misogyny problem in India is not racism – it is a simple FACT. The rape of the girl in Stubenville, USA, as well as the rape/murder of the Irish national in Tokyo also received international coverage – rape culture is an international problem that every country is concerned about. The more publicity these cases get, the better- covering these things up out of misplaced patriotism allows the problem to continue growing.