Fri | Oct 20, 2017

A murderer and rapist's views reflect those of many in India

Published:Thursday | March 5, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Protesters gather outside the Indian Presidential Palace during a protest against the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in New Delhi, India, in December 2012.

NEW DELHI (AP):

When a condemned killer said the woman he and others brutally gang-raped on a New Delhi bus was responsible for what had happened to her, his comments were shocking in their callousness and lack of remorse. But the underlying view has wide acceptance in India.

Blaming women for rape is what hundreds of millions of men in India are taught to believe.

And the code for women in this country is simple: Dress modestly, don't go out at night, don't go to bars and clubs, don't go out alone. If you break the code, you will be blamed for the consequences.

When one of the four men sentenced to death for the high-profile gang rape of the woman in 2012 was quoted in a new documentary as saying "a girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy", he was repeating something community and religious leaders in this nation of 1.2 billion routinely said.

"A decent girl won't roam around at 9 o'clock at night. ... Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes," Mukesh Singh said in the documentary, India's Daughter, meant to be shown on Sunday, International Women's Day, in India and several other countries.

But how different were the convicted rapist's words from comments that Manohar Lal Khattar, the top elected official of Haryana state, made last year?

"If a girl is dressed decently, a boy will not look at her in the wrong way," Khattar told reporters. "Freedom has to be limited. These short clothes are Western influences. Our country's tradition asks girls to dress decently."