World Views
2:05 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

India Gang Rape Puts Spotlight On Broader Worldwide Sexual Violence

Protesters at India Gate in Delhi demanding the government to take action after the gang rape - Dec. 21, 2012.
Protesters at India Gate in Delhi demanding the government to take action after the gang rape - Dec. 21, 2012.
Credit Ramesh Lalwani / Flickr Creative Commons

A fast-track court will give a verdict next week in the trial of four men accused in the gang rape and fatal beating of a woman on a New Delhi bus last year.

The assault caused nationwide outrage and forced the government to change rape laws and create fast-track courts for rape cases.

University of Oklahoma College of International Studies Dean Suzette Grillot says even though there’s outrage over the increasingly-common attacks against women, there’s not enough push to have an impact on the sentences these young men receive.

“[These attacks] continue to happen because there is no consequence,” Grillot says. “There's no accountability. There's no ability to hold those responsible for these crimes.”

The College’s assistant dean Rebecca Cruise says there’s some speculation the increase involves class divisions in Indian society.

“You have a lot of young woman who are now entering the labor force,” Cruise says. “They're part of the middle class and people can associate with them. And a lot of these gangs are young men in poorer areas that are not able to find work, there's this dynamic going on.”

The Director of OU’s Center for Middle East Studies says the violence isn’t confined to the Indian subcontinent and surrounding countries. Two years ago former International Monetary Fund President Dominique Strauss-Kahn faced allegations of sexual assault against a New York hotel maid.

“Even in places like the West, where the veil of shame and the taboo against talking about violence against women has been lifted at least in part, it's still going on,” Joshua Landis says. “And you see these things. All of a sudden a little world opens up and you see this kind of misbehavior has gone on for years.”

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