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Porn is the real cause of surge in Rapes in India

4 mins read

by Maya Oppenheim

The man is watching too much porn and wanting to recreate it in real life.. Increasingly younger people like teenagers are getting access to porn films.

An Indian women’s rights campaigner has said a surge in underage girls being raped can be attributed to the rise in men watching porn but condemned the decision to introduce the death penalty for such crimes.

Dr Rukmini Rao, who has campaigned for increased punishment for rape and the recognition of domestic violence, argued the growing popularity of porn was driving not just underage rape but also marital rape.

The 68-year-old argued there was a “very serious problem” with rape in the country – saying many young girls and women are not properly educated about the definition of consent.

“The rise of porn and the rise of rapes is definitely linked,” she said. “There has been an upsurge in rapes of young women and young girls. I have a lot of young women coming into crisis centres because they feel they are sexually incompatible with their husbands.”

“Nine times out of 10, it is because the man is watching too much porn and wanting to recreate it in real life and also drinking too much. Increasingly younger people like teenagers are getting access to porn films. It is illegal to watch porn in India but it happens a lot.”

Dr Rao said the married young men “demand sexual services” from their wives – noting that marital rape is legal in India.

“They feel entitled,” she added. “Young women are protected from thinking about sex and sexuality and their bodies. You have one person who is an innocent and one person who is predatory.”

Dr Rao said rape investigations and prosecutions can take several years – explaining that parents often do not want to pursue cases of young girls being raped because the cases could still be going on when they are trying to marry their daughters off.

“We need quick prosecutions and then punishment of the guilty every time, because the number of rapists who actually go to prison is very small,” she said.

“You need to find a physical mark or some evidence and if the person is not taken to a doctor soon enough for a swab to be taken they will not find enough evidence for the rapist to be prosecuted.”

India is the third largest consumer of Pornhub content behind the US and the UK, according to data taken from 2017.

A notorious gang rape of a 23-year-old student in Delhi in 2012, which led to the city being branded the “rape capital of the world”, was perpetrated by six men who had been watching violent porn.

Since then, a trend of rape videos going viral in India has led many to raise concerns that smartphones (India has 400 million users), cheap data and easy access to violent porn, combined with a lack of sex education and understanding of relationships, could feed sexual violence.

Sexual abuse in India continues to be highly prevalent despite the introduction of tougher rape laws in 2013. According to the National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB), in 2016 the rape of minor girls increased by 82 per cent compared with the previous year.

The NCRB data observes that a woman is raped every six hours in India. Across all rape cases, 95 per cent of rapists were not strangers but family, friends and neighbours.

Rape is one of the most under-reported crimes in India – with some estimates indicating 90 to 95 per cent of rape cases remain unreported.

Dr Rao criticised the introduction of the death penalty for convicted rapists of girls under the age of 12 – a move that was introduced via an executive order in April last year amid uproar over a series of high-profile cases.

The campaigner, who has also promoted rights for female farmers and fought against child marriages and the trafficking of baby girls, argued the death sentence was no solution to any problem.

The move has also been criticised by other activists and politicians who say it will not serve as a proper deterrent to child rapists without the criminal justice system being totally overhauled.

Child rights activists have voiced concerns the introduction of the death penalty could make families more likely to cover up sexual crimes – even warning rapists might kill their victims to avoid being exposed for their crimes.

Indian government surveys show some 42 per cent of girls in the country have been sexually abused.

Dr Rao, who set up the first rural women’s shelter in Medak district, said rape cases often involve upper-class men raping lower-caste women – adding that this happens during conflict because rape is employed as a “weapon”.

The campaigner said there was a problem of violence against women more generally and argued the issue of domestic violence in the country stemmed from gender inequality in society.

“It is institutional inequality from birth,” she said. “A woman is told she is different from birth. She is told she is less than a man. But a boy is privileged from birth. He thinks it is OK to behave badly. Violence against women is a major issue. There is street violence, marital violence and sexual violence at the workplace.”

The conviction rate for crimes against women overall in India is very low – only 18.9 per cent and the lowest in a decade – according to the latest official crime statistics from 2016. The average conviction rate for all crimes is 47 per cent.

More than 50 per cent of Indian men and women still believe that sometimes women deserve a beating. One woman is killed every hour for not providing enough dowry – an amount of property or money given by a bride to her husband – at the time of marriage.

The campaigner, who is also chair of trustees at the Lepra Society India, said there was mounting resistance to gender inequality from female activists in the country.

“Indian women are fighting back,” she said. “They are mobilising themselves. There has been a boom in activism over the years. Women are not willing to lie down and die. They are fighting for their dignity and for their rights.”

“We do not need some VIP. We are not looking for saviours. But if you come in friendship and are willing to stand side by side with women, it is not at all patronising.”

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