As long as rape is belittled, there will be more victims like this

If there are loopholes in rape cases, it will be less likely that rape and its victims will be taken seriously

Share

The gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a bus in India this week has prompted protests in Delhi the likes of which that country has rarely seen.

Men who commit rape there are unlikely ever to answer for their crime; most sexual assaults go unreported or uninvestigated, with cases languishing for more than 10 years before they even reach the courts. Women’s safety and their right to exist have been consistently low down the list of priorities.

It has taken a girl being beaten with a crowbar and raped so violently by six drunken men that she has had to have most of her intestines removed to galvanise a wider response to the problem. But the beginning of something is here: political leaders have put aside their differences in order to discuss the issue. Such a case highlights the real problems of inequality and gender violence that remain not only in India but in the broader global community.

Let’s consider what the “enlightened” have to say about it all. An argument kicked off – online, where else? – this week over what may or may not constitute rape. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. The Good Men Project aims to cater for and delineate modern masculinity. Last week, it published a piece entitled “Nice Guys Commit Rape Too”, in which the author detailed the travails of her male friend who, spurred on by the flirting and witty badinage of a woman he was in a bar with, was moved to penetrate and have sex with her as she slept later that night. He didn’t mean to rape her.

I’m not about to compare what happened in Delhi with this instance. But as long as there are loopholes to be found, be they the apathy of the judiciary or the idea that rape can ever be accidental, the less likely it is that rape and its victims will be taken seriously. As long as rape is belittled in the developed world by the sort of bravado and bombast that comes of the “she was asking for it” school, the starker the consequences in the developing world, where ideologies fail to change, where justice is not served, and where women remain unable to ride the bus. And that stops the rest of us evolving, too.

Twitter: @harrywalker1

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Etch, a Sketch

Jane Merrick
 

Something wrong with the Conservative Party’s game plan

John Rentoul
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing